Social Media is critical to your organization’s success, especially going forward as more and more customer connections and engagement are moving there. With millions and millions of people spending more and more time on social sites, it only makes good business sense to be there with them. Just like any business decision, this should be thought out and not jumped into haphazardly. Here are 5 great tips for success in using this valuable avenue.
Know Your Plan
It is always important to know why and what you are going to do before you do it, otherwise you are being blown by the wind. Identifying which social networks best serve your interests and where your best chances are to make an impact on the public is a first step. Twitter and Facebook are givens, but you may find that SoundCloud is a great fit for you, or Pinterest. The more sites you can use effectively the better, but if you get no engagement from the site, move on. You also need to know what you want to accomplish there. Remember that throwing out links and ads left and right is not good social etiquette, you have to be real and engage.
Listen More, Talk Less
You must seek out your audience by monitoring sites for key words and phrases that relate to your mission. If they are mentioning your name, even better. If you are a company that sells patio grills and accessories, you might search sites for mentions of cooking, grilling, recipes, barbecues, or similar things. Once you find people talking about subjects that relate to what you do, you can follow or friend them and start engaging. Once you do engage, promote yourself, but don’t cram it down their throat. Just be friendly with them, and throw in what you can when it comes up.
Once you are engaged, get your new friends to work for you by issuing campaign challenges, asking questions that people can answer and want to answer (these don’t have to be about your business), etc. You can then turn the conversation to something related to your business and attempt to get feedback. This builds the bond. The more you can create a give and take instead of just a give, the better the chance you can get your people to “like” you, retweet you, and generally become brand evangelists for you.
Social means Social
Again, don’t send out links about your latest promotion every hour. A social media site is exactly that, a place for conversations and casual engagement. If you try to convert your Facebook page to your sales floor, you will lose people quickly. There must be a great deal of tact employed with your engagement, finding the right balance between promotion and conversation. Try to think of it as hanging out with your friend and trying to get them to do something for you. You have to spend a lot more time buttering them up than throwing your sales pitch at them. If the relationship is built right, th rest comes easily.
There are simply too many people you will be exposed to to be able to track them by memory or with ticks on a page with a pencil. You will need a solid piece of social media management software to do the job right. The right dashboard gives you the numbers and analytics you need to effectively track how your engagement is increasing traffic and promoters. After all, it’s all about your ROI, and if you aren’t tracking that, then why are you doing it in the first place?