A recent Fortune article made an interesting point about the social media efforts of most companies:
“Most companies’ early efforts with social [media] have been the equivalent of ‘brochureware’ (just as they were on the internet back in the 1990s). And although levels of sophistication are growing…most social commerce experiments have a long way to go.”
Your social media goal should be to engage and communicate with your customers, not to advertise ‘brochureware.’ This strategy should already be implemented on you website (hopefully) and in order to be competitive (and effective) on social media, you need to stop selling and start engaging.
1. Knowledge is power
This isn’t new and shouldn’t be a surprise. Learn about the various platforms and their uses.
Popular platforms social media include:
- Facebook: Currently the largest social network on the internet with approximately 1+ Billion monthly active users and utilizes friend-to-friend connections.
- Twitter: Real-time, short status updates and broadcasts (up to 140 characters) to followers with approximately 200+ million active users. A great tool to network and build relationships.
- LinkedIn: An online business and networking community with approximately 200+ million active professional users.
- Pinterest: With 20+ million monthly active users, users organize and share photos they find on the web on pinboards.
- Google+: Google meets Facebook where users can share content and connect with approximately 343+ million active users.
- Blog: A content driven site where individuals or groups read, subscribe and comment on content. If you are confused, you’re reading a blog right now.
Using social media for your business will broaden your audience and increase the exposure of your communication. More importantly, it gives you another avenue to engage and communicate with your customers. Social media is giving the world the ability to connect and communicate with each other in ways that were never possible before.
2. Create a plan
Social media is very attractive, as there is typically no cost to sign-up and get started. It can become very time consuming, but this can be avoided by creating a plan, time limit, goals and objectives. Planning your content carefully will help you to be consistent and professional.
3. Do not rely solely on social media
Social media should not replace all of your current marketing tools and campaigns, but should complement and enhance them. Social media can dramatically increase your potential audience, but it is not the only marketing medium available. Be sure to be consistent across all of your marketing channels. Social media provides your customers with another avenue to research your company, which can help build trust and awareness.
4. Be decisive
You don’t need to be on every social media site (trust me there are too many). Be selective not only with what you choose to post, but also with what platforms you choose to use. For example, don’t create a Pinterest account unless you will actively use it. Decide if the platform will positively influence your online marketing goals. Ultimately, an inactive page reflects poorly on your company.
5. Engagement is key
Use and track your social media engagement through a system such as Hootsuite. This system helps your business save time because you can schedule posts and monitor multiple social media accounts from one platform.
Have fun with social media and be sure to showcase your brand’s personality. Happy social media-ing!