All the discussion over the past few years revolving around social media has companies of all kinds striving for the same brass ring, the same dream. You are after that same brass ring, huh? Social media has taught us all, and conditioned us to:
- Attain more friends and contacts
- Tweet your thoughts and interests
- Pin memorable pictures and graphics
- Post great nuggets (articles, stories etc.)
You have access to social media, you say? I hate to break it to you – it’s not enough to just have a dream and access to the right equipment – using social media to full effect requires planning, persistence, and time. Generally speaking; make your insights, thoughts, pictures, and stories go viral through the portal that is social media.
First thing, get the correct tools. Second, make a plan and stretch your social media muscles. Remember there is a continuous flood of content on all social platforms. However nothing stays available for long and only the most compelling posts even get noticed. This being the case, it is imperative to understand each medium and how it works in order to maximize your efforts.
Here’s a look at some of the most popular social media platforms:
Community, communication and interaction – Facebook emphasizes and capitalizes on these three human dynamics. As a social media tool, Facebook is flexible, allowing you to drive traffic to blogs, articles and websites as well as encourage feedback from your friends.
Twitter is a great social media platform for communication with personal and professional contacts and to create conversations. Twitter messages must be short and to the point. Information can be quickly distributed to a large amount of subscribers, and interacting with followers and influential people gives you the opportunity to spread brand awareness and to go as far as create brand advocates.
Blogging provides a platform to share your passion, stories, inspirations, general information and news. Blogs provide a very effective way to communicate your views, articles, and interests. Blogs gives your customers and/or visitors a personal view into your organization and allows you to present yourself as an authority on a subject.
Like Twitter, Pinterest is about trying to get the attention of influencers that will re-pin your content, in this case by providing quality images and graphics. Pinterest also provides the benefit of showcasing participation in your local community with photos of events and sponsorships.
Images are important on Google+. The more graphic elements you are able to share, the better. Google+ can be a great tool for lead-generation and driving traffic to your website.
Similar to blogging, YouTube is a great way to consistently reach an audience. YouTube has the ability to position your company as a strong communicator. That is if you engage as well as entertain your audience while simultaneously making your point clear.
Tumblr is basically a quick-start blogging tool. The platform brings ease to posting short text, photos and video. Tumblr provides easy sharing tools and the ability to accept submissions from the public. These two features have made the platform very popular.
Let’s get to the workout strategy?
The consensus among experts is that it is better to focus social media efforts on one or two social media platforms rather than spread your company voice thin across five. Why? Because as a company you need to be diligent when monitoring your reputation on the social media platforms you use. Because your firm has limited resources it is best to be judicious when selecting your social media channels.
Be realistic. If your business only has the resources to manage a Facebook page, make your Facebook page the best representation of your organization that you can. Set your Facebook page up completely and invest in your community of followers that you are hoping to acquire and nurture.
Don’t set up a Facebook page, a Twitter account, and/or start pinning on Pinterest if you aren’t able to devote the time and resources needed to make all of those accounts thrive.
The one constant revolving around all social media is that a strategy needs to be developed. Devise a plan with goals organized around a clear idea of what you are trying to achieve.
While every firm’s social media plan will be different – every plan should include four essentials:
- Set conceptual, yet achievable goals
- Determine which platform will help you reach those goals
- Use your chosen platform to its complete ability
- Track your planning and progress
Now you are warmed up, time to pump it up:
CARDIO: Burn That Fat!
Optimize your social media presence. Populate your social media pages. Fill out your bios completely, and provide clear information about who you are and what you do. Don’t bother promoting your pages unless your organization plans on being around for the long-term.
Give your existing and potential customers something to follow. Content matters, and trendy content shares a few commonalities:
- An attention-grabbing headline: Content on social media most often arrives in the update stream as a simple headline link. So logically, make your headlines clear and make those headlines count.
- Up-to-date topics: For example, monitor Twitter’s trending topics and YouTube’s top videos in order to stay on top of your own social feeds for inspiration.
- To-do list help: Most of the things that are important to your organization aren’t necessarily important to your customers. Discover strategies that assist your customers to accomplish tasks, and you’ll earn your customers’ attention and appreciation.
- A call-to-action: Ask questions, prompt readers to share, and invite comments. Giving your followers something to do with the information also empowers those same customers.
POWER LIFTING – Build It Up!
Listen and interact. Rather than seeing social media as separate from your daily customer interactions, view social media as another way to serve your members, listen to their needs, and build strong relationships with them. Social media is more than simply a passive channel to communicate with existing and potential customers – your firm benefits from the social interaction. Social interaction creates a more intimate relationship between you and your valuable customers.
Apply the same principles to social media as face-to-face interactions. Concentrate on exhibiting genuine interest in members and utilizing active listening. Find ways to ask about personal preferences, call upon members’ expertise, find and highlight shared values, and ask aspirational questions.
When members respond or ask questions, answer directly, even leading them to other resources outside of your firm that they might find useful and relevant.
CIRCUIT TRAINING – Be More Than One-Dimensional!
Strategically target and reach out to friends, fans and followers on any of your company’s marketing campaigns. These campaigns can run the gamut from rebranding to product development. Crowd-sourcing is a key component to the next stage of your social media presence.
- Involve your network in decision-making processes. Make your members’ ideas part of your products. Considering where to put new ATMs? Ask your social network. Want to know what services can be cut back? Ask your social network. Leaving them out of the picture ignores a valuable source of feedback and will alienate your followers.
- Be active in their conversations. Listen to what they’re talking about and address those concerns, rather than only focusing on what you want them to be talking about. Keeping your ear to the ground shows you what they’re truly concerned about, and participating in the things they’re interested in lets you show you’re listening.
- Encourage customers to share. Directly from your page solicit your customers’ experiences with your brand, and provide those customers the capability to share with friends. Encouraging customer’s experiences offers an opportunity to make your business look good, and in the case of damaging comments you have the chance to publicly rebut negative feedback.
Devote the same level of energy and attention to social media campaigns that you do in the beginning of campaigns. Each platform is a moving target in a manner of speaking. The styles, themes, features, trends, and basic layout of social media platforms evolve all the time. Be cognizant of updates and announcements, and consider the ramifications on your established strategies. Focus on your initial objectives and the related goals, and accomplish your objectives by permitting your followers to help guide your online presence.Tweet