Have clients? Need to demonstrate to them the value and efficiency of learning and capitalizing on social media as part of their business strategy? Not always so easy right? I’ve provided some helpful tips in order to help you help your clients transition into utilizing social media platforms and gain true value from their use without jeopardizing their brand name.
1) Be Prepared to Give Up Control
Social media requires giving up the reigns of expecting to be in control of content on every angle. Yes you care what message and content you put out, and how your target audience reacts. However, social media is based greatly on consumer generated content and that is a voice one cannot hush like in traditional media.
For example, when companies such as Budweiser have ads like on YouTube, other people who love (or hate) the brand will mock, comment, and criticize the content on the channel or via Twitter, Facebook, etc because real people have opinions. Although you can monitor such comments and delete them if they are spam, in my opinion social media is about embracing consumer content and commentary, the good and the bad.
Like all business strategies, endeavors, and ventures, social media is not about instant success. It requires, time, effort, and continued management and engagement within the networks on each platform that a brand enters. You cannot Tweet on Twitter once a month and expect people to rave and ReTweet your content. People expect consistent content on a regular basis with actual relevancy and effort.
For example, @BostonTweet (Tom O’Keefe) is regularly Tweeting about the happenings in Boston, including events, news, restaurant specials, and more. People can count on him for the relevant content on a regular basis. Tom has created a value service for his target market, and I, too am impressed by him!
Over time, Boston Tweet built his community around relevance and content.3) Find Your “Home Base”
Find your home base in social media.Every brand will find it’s niche in the social media space, whether it be Facebook,Twitter, LinkedIn, so on and so forth. The target market of each brand interacts more in certain platforms than others. I am not saying do not exist on the other platforms…I am saying to focus more so on the ones that will allow for increased engagement and loyal consumers/fans/followers (and still have a consistent presence on the other platforms).
4) It’s a marathon – not a sprint
As stated previously patience is key. Unlike winning the lottery, social media takes further time, “training”, and effort in order to persevere and come out on front. Brands such as the local BostInnovation Tweet, Post, and Share content each and every day. And normally multiple times a day. And people, like myself, have become used to this and loyal to the brand for their content, which is not only relevant and resourceful, but normally fun and entertaining to read. They have come a long way, and have gained quite a loyal following. I encourage others to check them out and learn from their content strategy.
5) Listen First
Listen first, Tweet, Post, and Share later. I encourage people, clients, etc never to just start posting. Listen to what your target market is saying, what your competition is doing, where they are talking, and what they want to hear. Then strategize as you would in any marketing endeavor, what is the value you would like to provide to your target audience and through what means would they like to hear, read, see, watch it?
Listen first.6) Share Relevant Content
Most people don’t care what you ate for breakfast, unless you’re Edward or Jacob from Twilight and every teenage girl will “eat it up.” Most brands on the other hand should be curating, creating, tweeting, posting, and sharing content that is geared toward their target audience and what they want, how they want it, and where they want it. For example, Toms recently released information about their new product and related “one-for-one” campaign to help with eyesight of those who cannot afford it every time someone buys a pair of sunglasses. The target audience of Toms, especially their already loyal fans, are invested in Toms due to their socially conscious nature that goes along with their products. Thus, news regarding new products and campaigns is not only relevant, but a great way to increase their loyal fans and consumers.
7) Put Someone in Charge
My recommendation is to have a community manager who will be in charge of the content strategy, the posting, the tweeting, and the delegating regarding said items. This way someone is responsible for making sure things are done regularly, monitored consistently, and the brand is succeeding in its efforts rather than going in and posting blindly.
Establish a leader.Monitor, Monitor, Monitor
Most brands are weary of what people say, the money they invest, and the ROI of each endeavor, including social media. Monitoring social media is key to that success and ROI. You can see what peaks, valleys, and plateaus occur in charts such as on Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, etc in order to see what campaigns, products, news, posts caused the most rise out of consumers, while which other ones sunk to the bottom. This will help in order to see what strategy is best to utilize in the future and what is best to avoid.
9) Restrict vs. Regulate
There is unfortunate time when some companies are too strict with their social media policies. My suggestion is to decide which social media policy fits your culture and company strategy and tactics and find the middle ground rather than being too concerned about what your employees may do. If you hired them, you probably trusted their judgment and common sense…or at least I hope you did.
10) Social Media is a Tool, Not a Strategy
Last but not least, remember that social media is not the strategy, but the tool to implement your marketing and business strategy. Facebook and Twitter are great vehicles to spread the word on your product, brand, campaign, event, etc — but before you can utilize them properly and effectively you must brain storm how to go about it and what parts and pieces are best fit to succeed.
Note: this post was originally written for oneforty, which was acquired by Hubspot.