We hear stories of companies who misstepped in social media campaigns, but also ones that come out really successful. So what makes the difference? They are planning ahead, sticking to their strategy and create an engaging atmosphere. Based on our experience, we compiled 10 tips for building a strong foundation for your social media efforts. Good luck!
1. Research – Is your target market actively on Twitter or can they be found on LinkedIn? Every social network has a different mix of users and demographic information. Research each platform and the capabilities it has to reach your target market. Many platforms also offer pay-per-click options that can target advertising to your demographic. It’s worth doing your research on.
2. Plan – Unless you’re learning social media for your personal use, I don’t recommend jumping on platforms for your company without coming up with a strategy. When Pinterest launched, it was important to analyze how it worked in terms of functionality but also how it could help our clients with current SEO and marketing efforts. Each platform has it’s strengths, weakness and opportunities but it’s critical to match your company’s goals with a strategy for each platform.
3. Engage – Ever leave a comment, question or concern with a company and it goes unaddressed? Frustrating, isn’t it? Keep a close eye on your company’s profiles for people engaging with your brand and please, respond! Whether they are just saying thank you or great job, they want to be acknowledged. Take it a step further and respond to reviews left by online users on review sites and encourage reviews by your followers.
4. Be Active – Another pet peeve: ever come to a Facebook page for a brand that you love and there hasn’t been anything posted in months? There’s not much incentive to ‘like’ or follow them. That brand just lost out on a connection with a loyal customer. Providing quality, interactive and social content on a frequent basis gives you the opportunity to turn your followers in to brand ambassadors and loyalists.
5. Expand Platforms – You have a company page on Facebook. Congratulations. Now it’s time to take it a step further. Knowing your budget and time capabilities, expand into Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, whatever’s relevant, BUT only if you create the strategy behind it first. Think outside the box. Restaurants can offer deals for Yelp! check-ins, spas can create profiles on SpaFinder.com and car dealerships can highlight their new inventory on YouTube.
6. Sell – How big of a turn off is it when you’re at a networking event and the person comes up to you trying to sell something? Social media is about giving your brand a personality, building relationships and being ‘social’. Think of it as a business networking cocktail party where you are among potential clients but in a social setting. Talk with others about things you can relate to, make it personable but keep it professional.
7. Get Off Topic – While it’s encouraged for brands to partake in trending memes and viral content that circulates the ‘socialsphere’, it’s best to really only do it if it’s relevant to your business. If you’re a photography company, share a photo of the week. If you’re an internet marketing company, share funny memes related to SEO on Fridays. Utilize content to enhance your brand in a social-friendly way.
8. Over Post – Many businesses don’t post enough but there are companies that post too much too often. This is a sure way to get ‘unliked’. When a user follows your brand, they have acknowledged that they want to receive updates from you but don’t screw up that trust. Certainly, you want to tweet more frequently than you post to Facebook but share valuable content throughout the day. Don’t inundate your follower’s feed.
9. Ignore – 70% of social media users feel more comfortable engaging with ‘social care’ or social customer service than they do over the phone.* When customers come to you with complaints, listen and respond immediately. Many times, upset customers will become brand loyalists when their problems are taken care of in a timely matter and to their level of satisfaction. When developing a social strategy, make sure you have the tools and a process in place for responding to customer complaints.
10. Stick to One Strategy – Test, experiment and mix things up. So you tried a strategy one quarter and it did okay, but try new tactics, new platforms and new forms of content to continue exploring what works for your brand and what doesn’t. Maybe Twitter got you a lot of leads from an eBook, but they weren’t quality leads. Keep learning new ways to utilize social, follow brands in your industry that are doing it well and think outside of the box.
There you have it! These 10 tips can help guide your social presence in the right direction, but this is only the beginning. For more assistance on a social strategy for your company, contact SmartSearch Marketing.
* Nielsen, 2012 Social Report