Whether you like it or not, social media has become a vital tool for marketing, branding and building a business in the 21st century. Companies that have embraced social media and have done it well have reaped significant benefits in the marketplace.
However, too many companies still fail at some of the most critical aspects of social media marketing. They make the fatal mistake of setting up a Facebook page or Twitter account but then ignore it or update it haphazardly. For example, they might add one or two posts over a few months’ time followed by a flurry of activity and then go silent again.
True social media marketing requires taking your responsibility seriously. If you want your social media campaigns to gain traction and ultimately find success, you must take ownership of the responsibilities that go along with social media.
1. Craft a social media strategy and stick to it.
As with any new endeavor, social media requires some research before diving in. Social media success varies from industry to industry and you need to know the ways your customers use social media. It won’t help you to craft an entire social media campaign around Twitter when your clients use Pinterest or YouTube, for example. You also need to make key decisions about who will take ownership of your social media streams, how often you will update, what content you will include in social media and what your social media persona, or presence, will be. Taking responsibility now and crafting a strategy ahead of time will pay off down the road.
2. Become a part of the social media community.
The movie was called “The Social Network” for a reason. Social media is about networking, about joining a community and becoming a part of a dynamic and ongoing dialog. When you start a social media campaign, you take on the responsibility of taking part in that dialog. This means you need to:
- Post regular updates to your social media profile;
- Share content from other like-minded users;
- And respond to your fans and followers comments and questions.
3. Beware the social media gaffe.
Remember the KitchenAid tweet during the 2012 U.S. presidential debates? Or the profanity laced StubHub post? Social media gaffes happen because of carelessness, an errant employee attempting some ill-conceived humor, or well-intentioned campaigns gone wrong. But the social media world moves quickly. There is no time to pull back a post once it debuts on social media. Before you know it, your mistake has gone viral and now you’re doing damage control. Set up a system of checks and balances to ensure your social media content reflects well on you and doesn’t cause irrevocable harm.
4. Make your content count.
The Internet is full of enough garbage already. Don’t add to the rubbish heap with the content you choose to post via social media. Your fans and followers will give you the benefit of the doubt for only so long before they give you the boot for posting useless content. Take the time to find great content and invest your resources into developing graphics, videos, white papers and other content your fans will find educational, engaging and entertaining.
5. Be responsive and proactive with your fans.
Responding to questions from your fans is the least time consuming social media task there is and so there is no excuse to fail on this social media responsibility. Your fans and followers see themselves as a part of your company once they begin to interact with you socially and you owe it to them to keep up your end of the bargain by responding to inquiries quickly.
Social media has the power to transform the way you do business. But as with any power, social media also comes with great responsibilities. Follow through on your responsibilities and it will pay off in the end.
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