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Since we live in a world with such fast-changing technology, there’s always a new marketing tool at your disposal. Social media is one such tool that has opened up an entirely new channel for businesses to build a fan base and promote their companies. When used properly, it can help you reach new customers, convince them to take action, and keep that relationship strong so they come back in the future. While it’s been a source of inspiring successes for many businesses, it’s also been a major letdown for companies who don’t understand that social media is a tactic, not a strategy.
Countless business owners wake up every morning and say to themselves, “I think I should join Facebook today!” or “I have a great idea. Let’s start tweeting!” Their intentions are good, and the motivation is commendable. But, many of them fail to take the time to learn the ropes and develop a cohesive plan for their social media efforts. They get so excited that they create accounts on every network, and then either let them sit dormant or toss the keys to the new intern since “she knows how to use that stuff.” These are two of the most common errors we see. Big mistake…huge.
Using social media as part of a comprehensive marketing strategy can yield great results. However, creating a profile won’t cause people to come running in your doors. Your efforts will be futile unless you give social media the thought, time, and attention it requires. Here are some tips on how to be a social media superstar:
1. Work on building the foundations of your brand before jumping into execution. This should include (at a minimum) developing your purpose, values, and style. It’s also helpful to do some additional research on what your audience is looking for from you (deals? advice? entertainment?), as well as what your competition is doing, in order to craft your messages appropriately.
2. Position yourself. Who are you? What do you do? Who do you do it for? What makes you different? (This will be useful for your profile description too.)
3. Establish goals. Think about what you’re hoping to accomplish with your marketing efforts and how social media can help you achieve those goals. Then, ask yourself “why” questions about your plans: Why are you doing this? Why should someone follow you? What do they hope to see from you? Why should they care?
4. Make a plan, Stan. The more you plan ahead, the easier it will be to manage your social media efforts. This plan can be as simple as brainstorming content ideas, or more complex with a full editorial plan with content, a calendar or schedule for posting, and a outline of each person’s responsibilities, etc.
5. Focus, focus, focus! Stick to your positioning, and make sure the majority of the content you’re posting can be tied back to your goals. It’s fun to add some variety or random fun posts here and there, but if someone is following you because you promised them X, they’ll be frustrated if all you post about is A, R, Z, and Q.
Photo Credit: Christian Haugen on Flickr