Given that around 1.4 billion people are using social media as of 2012 (eMarketer), it no longer makes any sense for businesses to ignore the importance of social media. No matter what part of the social media journey you’re on, just starting out or a veteran – there’s always room for improvement. With that in mind, here’s ten ways to ramp up your social media presence.
1. Choose Your Social Media Platforms Wisely
If you’re running a corporate business consultancy, there’s probably not much point being on Facebook. Likewise if you’re running a largely B2B enterprise. Your organisation would be better off on LinkedIn. However, if you are running a B2C enterprise where the end user is the consumer, then Facebook makes complete sense. This is where consumers spend a lot of time interacting with consumer brands. As a general rule, if you are a visually-oriented field such as design, photography, art, food, fashion or travel – then platforms geared for visual triggers and sharing like Tumblr, Flickr and Pinterest might be for you. Twitter is suitable for any business that requires fast moving interactivity and conversation about products or services. That’s why banks, news agencies and transport companies tend to have a strong presence and following on Twitter.
2. Keep Content Timely, Newsworthy and Visual
We can define newsworthy content as being what the audience wants to hear about. So for example, if you were running a home décor company, then you would profile some fashionable trends in lounge furniture this year.
Also important is timeliness. Create a calendar of relevant holidays, seasons and key dates for the general population and the industry. Integrate these into your content as well. In this case, write about trends in lounge furniture that make a perfect Valentine’s Day gift! Or track down the birth date of the person who invented the chesterfield sofa, and offer a competition on that day.
Don’t be afraid to ask your fans what they enjoy hearing about. Social media is a conversation not a one way street. Finally, keep the ratio of pictures and videos high – social media is predominantly visual.
3. Tell a Compelling Story
With the time line functionality of many social media platforms such as Facebook, it’s become easier to showcase the bigger picture of your business, including milestones in the company history, employees, changes and innovations and community activities. All of this can be great publicity for your business and be a compelling story on social media.
In this TED talk, grand daddy of online marketing, Seth Godin talks about how social media has sounded the death knell of mass marketing and signifies a shift in power towards tribes of ordinary people with dispersed passions and interests.
4. Be Authentic
When interacting on social media, make sure that you use a tone of voice that’s appropriate for the interaction. This isn’t a place for stiff boardroom professionalism. Think of the community you’re dealing with, as being your friend’s friend. You would be friendly, warm and yet polite and respectful. The key to being social media savvy, is truly listening to what the community says and learning from it. The key is being a real person and not a cardboard cut out.
5. Treat Social Media As An Arm of Customer Service
Social Media nowadays is becoming more and more important to the daily running of organisations and small businesses. The more that you make your presence visible on social media, the more likely that your customers will find and interact with you there. After all, it’s cheaper and quicker than a phone call and it’s also publicly visible.
There is a risky part of social media for businesses. If a complaint or gripe goes unanswered, it will reflect badly on that business in terms of customer service. So always stay vigilant on social media and have a polite, helpful and useful response ready. Don’t be tempted to be apathetic or less than helpful – as you’re responding on a public forum, this will only have a negative impact on the brand’s image.
6. Measure Your Impact
There’s no use in having a social media presence without measurement, to ensure that it’s effective. Use Google Analytics and third party applications to track and measure your performance across time frames and with different campaigns. Only then can you accurately gauge the success of your social media campaign.
Here’s a TED Talk by Alexis Ohanian of Reddit who tells a hillarious story about how a popular internet meme of a whale called Mr. Splashy Pants helped Greenpeace to halt the Japanese Whaling industry, all done via the power of social media sharing and virality.
A version of this article was originally written by Athena Dennis and published on behalf of Total Marketing Australia.