You’ve likely heard this conversation before: Mr. or Ms. CEO at your company tells you that you need to be on social media. They heard about it at a recent marketing conference, all your competitors are in the space, so you need to be there too. The ball is in your court. Now what?
When the words “social media” are mentioned, there are often misconceptions about what that actually is. Most people think it’s the actual platform, like Facebook or Twitter or Snapchat. Others conjure up words like “going viral” and “crowdsourcing” and focusing on page likes. But what’s really important in the words “social media” is the social part of it.
WHY SHOULD YOU CARE ABOUT SOCIAL MEDIA?
Think of social media as a community, where ideas can be shared, relationships can be forged, and conversations are key. You can find out what your competitors are doing. You can erect a billboard (create targeted ads) for your company so others can be aware of you. You can hand out your business card (link to your website and boost your SEO ranking). You can share news as it happens. The platform (like Facebook) is a means for you to engage in a relationship with your fans. And proper care and maintenance of those relationships is essential in today’s increasingly transactional world, where acknowledgement, loyalty and responsiveness is expected.
For agencies, we always want to report back to our clients on how campaigns performed for them, or, more simply, the ROI. With social media, that can be a very tricky thing to communicate, and it’s our responsibility to educate and inform our clients on how we measure progress and success.
HOW DO WE USE IT?
Ideally, your social media strategy should be part of your larger overall marketing strategy. Are you wanting to sell more products online? Are you trying to build up your lead list for your sales staff? Are you trying to refine your products so they’re addressing customer needs? Social media strategy can complement all of those things.
- Choose your social networks carefully. One of the biggest mistakes a brand can make is assuming they need to be on all platforms, all the time. Take time to research where your existing customer base exists and where your presence makes the most sense.
- Establish your voice. Part of the reason Coke’s social media strategy is so successful worldwide is the appeal of their voice—youthful, accessible, fun. Part of a social media strategy involves defining your own voice.
- Provide value to your followers and post accordingly. Your fans ostensibly follow you online because they are active consumers/participants of your product – from your own employees, to consumers, to industry peers. Share information that they are willing to share with their friends.
- Set goals and monitor. It’s important to define what you want to accomplish – more leads generated? More purchases? With the built-in analytics of your social platforms, along with free tools like Google Analytics, you can see how you’re performing and what you should adjust moving forward.
- Have fun and try new things. Once you learn what your audience craves and needs, it really is a playground. It’s ok to try new things, and if it doesn’t work, move on to the next approach.
- Consider paid advertising. Social media is increasingly becoming a “pay to play” media. Last year, Google and Facebook jointly accounted for 90% of U.S. ad growth. Compared to traditional media, it doesn’t cost a lot to elevate your brand and, once you see your goals being met, it helps justify the costs moving forward.
Ready to dive in? We’d love to talk with you more about what’s possible for your brand and how you can really take your social media game to the next level. And dazzle that CEO in the process.