So we are now half way through 2012 with the new financial year fast approaching – we usually use this time to look back on what our goals were at the start of the year and whether or not we met or exceeded them and its also where we set new goals or re-adjust our existing ones.
What’s interesting about 2012 so far is the huge growth in brands and business not only recognising the need to use social media, but starting to use it as a way to generate interest, engagement and relationships with their customers.
A lot of our clients have been setting goals around using social media a lot more and integrating it with their overall marketing and customer service strategy and have asked us time and time again what are some of the fundamental rules to getting the most from your social media efforts.
What should you be doing for your brand over the next 6 months to build and enhance not only your online reputation, but your over business growth, marketing and communication strategies in this socially connected world?
Social media is personal, people are online now to talk to friends and family, they aren’t online to be sold to. I liken social media to being at a party with friends, you talk to them about things that interest you and them not run around screaming what special offers your business has to every person.
Use Social media to talk with your customers about what they enjoy, become a leader in your market by sharing information, become the brand that is talked about at those parties.
Don’t forget about it
One status update per week is not enough, just as one blog or news post per year is not enough. People are now connected to social media more often than anything else – it’s the first thing they check when they wake up, and the last thing they check when they go to bed.
You want your brand to be in front of your customers often, you want them to think of your brand when they need what you offer.
Respond to everything
Social media is a two way conversation, if a customer posts a status or a message to you, make sure you answer.. even if it is a complaint it is important to let them know you are listening to them, and its also great to show other customers who may read the comment that you care.
Remember though, don’t leave it to long to respond, as soon as someone has posted something you need to get back to them as soon as possible!
One size doesn’t fit all
There are lots of social networks popping up, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube LinkedIn, Pinterest, Foursquare, Blogs.. the list goes on, but you don’t need to be a part of them all.
Choose the social network that suits you, for instance;
Facebook: Great for every day consumer brands, for businesses that market to the masses and have engaging products.
Twitter: Excellent for businesses that are fast moving, have high volumes of clients and operate in real time
YouTube: Fantastic if you want to teach or show your customers your products, videos are an excellent way to communicate
LinkedIn: Perfect for business to business communication as well as recruiting talent
Foursquare: Not so popular in Australia, but still has its place – great for location specific businesses like Cafe’s, retail outlets etc..
Work out what works for you
What is all this effort for though if it doesn’t bring you business? You need to work out how you may drive your customers to a sale, this may be in the way of a conversation, competition, special coupon via social networks, or even just sending them to your website where you may have a store or lead capture.
You need to know what works and then measure that against the effort invested to get that return and whether it is viable.
It needs to be fun
The days of corporate professionalism are dying off, consumers want fun, exciting brands that bring emotion to their lives. Use the essence of your brand, be fun, creative and portray a message that you are just like them.
Sharing is caring
It’s not always just about your business, other businesses in your market may be doing cool things as well, it pays to share what they are doing, after all not only do you share a market, you also share the customers.
If your competition is posting excellent content or articles or videos about your market.. share it, as the old saying goes, if you can’t beat them join them.
Although these are the tips we give our clients, there really are no hard and fast rules, this landscape is always changing so no matter what sort of social media marketing you do, be true to your brand and enjoy the ride.