Social media is the ever-more-popular way to market your business and if you haven’t done so already I sincerely recommend jumping on the band wagon as it is a worthwhile move. This is because when used correctly and to its maximum potential it can be one of the most powerful and cost effective marketing strategies at your disposal. That is why I have put together this guide to making the most out of corporate social media.
Patience is a virtue
The first and foremost point I must stress to you is that social media is not a quick fix for marketing. It will take time and effort to develop to its maximum potential and patience is needed. There are plenty of other—faster—fixes for your marketing needs, but the reason people choose to take their time with social media is because the relationships, communities and online presence of the brand that is built are worth much more in the long run.
Less is more
In every aspect of social media the saying ‘less is more’ can be applied. Trying to juggle too many pages and accounts on social media will show when it comes to the amount of attention and care you show to each individual page and its followers/connections. I would say even if you have a social media manager to handle all of this, a minimum of 2 pages and a maximum of 3 or 4 is essential to enable each to be properly developed and maintained.
This also goes for building relationships. Trying to follow or connect with everyone all at once will lead to your company appearing impersonal and mechanical rather than a brand with a personality. Add a few connections at a time on each page and when you gain a new connection send them a personal message or tweet them to say welcome or thanks: something that shows you appreciate every individual. They are far more likely to feel a loyalty to your brand if this is done.
Join the conversation, don’t dominate it
Social media is all about the two way conversation between brands and their customers, leads, fans, etc. But so many companies are guilty of dominating the conversation and leaving those on the other end feeling they have no voice. Giving your customers a voice is one of the great and unique aspects of social media and is why so many people like to connect with companies and brands on there. So make sure you are engaging your audience with plenty of interesting content to enjoy and opportunities to converse about it.
A great example from Adidas Running of how to get a conversation going using one of Twitter’s unique sharing features, ‘retweeting’:
Another great way to get involved in the conversation is to join in with those already going on. Google+ and Twitter are both ideal platforms for searching for current conversations relating to certain keywords.
Keep checking news feeds on different platforms throughout the day and try to post at least one post per day. Posting 10 posts in one day and then leaving it for a week is not the best way to handle it, but at the same time it can be difficult to cover times such as weekends and evenings.
Investing in a subscription to a social media management dashboard such as Hootsuite or Tweetdeck for scheduling posts to go out when you aren’t in the office is a great way to ensure your social pages stay active even when you aren’t. Scheduling in at least one generic post per day can cover for when you are out of office and you can also add in real-time posts depending on what is happening on the day.
Dashboards also make it easier to keep an eye on separate feeds all in one place so you can join in with conversations in real time and never miss a thing. The CEO of Mashable, Pete Cashmore, said “HootSuite is an essential tool for managing social networks by allowing teams to efficiently track conversations and measure campaign results.”
In summary: it’s not a quick fix, but focus on key outposts, build relationships…and keep at it.