“Frustration” – a word frequently used to describe companies new to social media and those who’ve been involved in social media but have yet to enjoy a return…
The problem is two-fold. First, establishing a social media presence takes time and continued effort. You have to be consistent in your involvement with social media – and remember returns won’t happen overnight! Second, you have to make sure that you’re using social media in a way that makes sense for your particular business!
How Can I Know?
Maybe I’ve been getting ahead of myself again. I say campaign because social media for business (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube) has to be done with a business goal in mind. We’re not here to just hang out with our buds and shoot the breeze. You want your audience to engage with you, your message, your offering and to eventually appreciate you for the industry authority that you are. And then hire you, recommend you, buy your stuff…
That said, if you’re not sure where to start to evaluate your campaign, ask yourself these 5 simple questions:
Are you using the right platform?
First, remember that there’s a variety of social media platforms for you to consider – most notably Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.
Further, within these platforms, there exist variations on the theme. For example, in Facebook, you can have a “Page,” a “Group,” or a “Community.” LinkedIn has “People”, “Groups”, and “Companies”. Each variation has its own set of tools, purposes, and capabilities. In addition, you may decide to participate in several social media platforms at the same time.
For example, if you have a fitness center, you could use your YouTube channel to publish videos on how to perform certain exercises, or have videos of classes you offer, and use Facebook to build a sense of community through candid photos, listings of hours, news, available classes, and upcoming events.
Have you scrapped past attempts?
Key point here – you must remember that whatever you take on has to be maintained and updated regularly. This will take some time and people resources, as you need be posting at least once a week. If you’re using Twitter, this has to be at least daily!
While it can certainly be worth it in the long run, remember that consistency is key. If you don’t think you’ll be able to maintain multiple platforms (or you’ve already started and stopped using a platform) be sure to erase or delete those accounts. Otherwise, you stand the risk of eroding your brand value when a customer (current or potential) stumbles across your forgotten Myspace account.
Instead, make sure that what you have is the best it can be and do away with anything that you’re not actively using. Best to focus on one area at a time, then build on that success with another later on.
Are you providing the type of information and interaction that your audience wants?
You need to provide useful, valuable content to your readers to be perceived as a knowledgeable expert. Ask yourself what it is that your audience would want to read, not what you want to tell them.
Providing discounts or having giveaways can be useful, but you have to have more substance than that! Otherwise, you’ll be viewed as just another “price-based commodity”. Consider posting how-to tips, different ways to use your products, helpful resources outside your own company…
Think of the tidbits of information you encounter everyday that would make someone go “hmmm – didn’t know that!” For example, fun facts about the evolution of your business, what happens “behind the scenes”, why your business operates as it does (e.g. why there is no Yoga class on Tuesdays, why you serve only Montreal bagels, why you buy local, why legal documents are presented in blue card stock), etc.
Are you listening to your audience?
Are you paying attention? Are you listening to your audience? When they post, do you respond? Do you stay on top of when your company is mentioned on other sites, blogs, social media, etc., and make relevant comments to that affect (on that site and yours)?
Remember that social media has developed because of the continued interaction it affords. Its purpose is not to simply broadcast, but rather give people a voice in things they would otherwise not be privy to. It is meant to engage the audience and promote two-way communication to the benefit of all participants!
Do you allow them a voice?
Similarly, make sure that you give your audience a voice. Ask open-ended questions, run surveys and polls, include them in new product decisions, etc. – the more things like this you do, the more valued your audience will feel. And you will gain tremendous insight in how to make your own business more successful by providing products and services that people really want!
Remember that interaction is a large part of a successful social media campaign. If you miss out on this, you may already be out of the game.
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