Many brand owners and representatives alike are terrified of social media. While not having total control over a conversation can feel a bit like the wild west of the marketing world, social media is a key element in a brand’s success these days, both online and off. How can you conquer the challenge of getting out there in the social world without falling on your face? It’s really not as hard as you may think, we promise. A few pointers combined with a little bit of research and some good, old fashioned common sense can make all the difference in the world.
Here are a few easy steps that will have you up and running like a social media pro in no time:
- Know your brand and your market. First things first, you’ve got to know what you’re talking about. You’ll be engaging with peers, customers, and probably some haters, so it’s best to know your brand inside and out. The worst social media profiles are those that are obviously run by an outside consultant who knows nothing about the industry they’re attempting to work within. [highlight color=” yellow”] Be familiar with commonly used lingo in addition to any words you should avoid or topics you shouldn’t mention.[/highlight] This is especially important for highly specialized industries or products. You want to be sure you’re speaking competently and confidently with your friends and fans alike.
- Do not use social media only for push marketing. I can not stress this enough. In fact, I’ll say it again – do not use social media purely for push marketing. Your website is where you talk about yourself and tell people what they need to know about your brand. Utilize social media to build relationships and engage with the people that want to have conversations with you. Seek out and build meaningful relationships. While conversions shouldn’t be the main focus of your social media efforts, they will often be an end result. I promise, if you only use your Twitter account to bombard your followers with links from your blog, you will not have followers for long. Share information–and the occasional product announcement–but don’t make it all about you. [highlight color=”yellow”] Give your followers information that they will find valuable.[/highlight] Ask and answer questions, get to know them, and in turn, find out what they are looking for. This will help you develop your brand – think of it as free market research.
- Be genuine. It sounds simple, but many brands mess this up. They try too hard to be formal when they should be personable, or they come across as rude or short because they aren’t taking the time to read through their posts or responses before firing them off. Use your manners, be kind, and don’t send anything you wouldn’t say to someone’s face. A little bit of humility and a friendly tone can go a long way in just about any situation online.
- Publish great content. Let your website be the professional side of your business, and use your blog to share your company’s personality with the world. Publish informative content, of course, but inject some personality into it. Give people a glimpse of the man behind the curtain, people love knowing there are other humans somewhere on the other side of that screen. [highlight color=”yellow”] Show them who you are, and watch your brand shine.[/highlight]
- Be mindful of your reputation. Take note of where your reputation is, and where you want it to be. Use social media to build upon or solidify the great reputation you already have. Utilize sites like Facebook and Twitter as avenues for additional customer service. Respond to comments on your blog. Share images of your corporate culture on Flickr. Don’t be afraid of letting people get a peek behind the scenes, embrace it. People want to know your brand. Make that introduction and let them in.
- If all else fails, share a silly image. It’ll lighten the mood, and you may get some new followers. These are the kinds of things that go viral when no one is paying attention.
What are you doing to ensure your social media success?