Companies and brands can use social media to connect with audiences in more meaningful ways than ever. In the early days, social was a little awkward—like an uncomfortable cocktail party where you’d exchange a few words and then move on. Today, social is an ongoing conversation. Just make sure to understand the rules of engagement.
- Keep your social network profiles current. Operating hours changed? Update them on Facebook. Has your company gone through a rebranding? Make sure all your social channels reflect the new fonts, colors and taglines. Many consumers will never visit your website. This is your chance to make a great first impression and communicate important information.
- Engage in real-time. Have a plan and consistent strategy for real-time engagement and optimize your team to act quickly and effectively. Respond to anyone who takes the time to comment and engage with you. In an ideal world, you would be able to immediately address the specific concerns mentioned on social media. But the reality is, sometimes you can’t, so it’s important to respond quickly with next steps and/or likely resolution time. Our customized dashboard tool allows clients to monitor their social media activity and mentions in real time.
- Let people know who you are and what’s going on. On social media, people appreciate a natural, noncorporate tone. In addition to straightforward brand and product updates, make sure to spotlight: fun company events or internal contests, charitable participation on a company or individual level, office and staff photos, new package designs, new hires and promotions and employee favorites from your product or service line.
- Involve your audience and invite them to get creative. User-generated content (UGC) is valuable social currency. It builds credibility with your audience and gets them talking with and about your brand. Give people a meaningful way to participate. Host a social contest tied to your latest brand campaign, request photo or video submissions showing creative ways to use your product, consider creating an on-brand hashtag where fans can share feedback, funny stories or general comments. For more example, check out this article.
- Research, research, research. Conduct ongoing keyword searches to find prospects who don’t specifically mention your brand or offerings but may express a need or desire your brand can fulfill. Keep a pulse on global trends and topics of particular interest for your customers and fans.
Following these simple rules can help make social media a valuable ingredient in your marketing mix. But remember, social media marketing alone isn’t going to create legions of customers out of thin air. Your social media objectives and goals should be aligned with your broader marketing strategy, so that your social media efforts all drive toward your business objectives. If your social media marketing strategy is shown to drive business goals forward, you’re more likely to get executive buy-in and investment. It pays to get it right.