No matter how hard you try, or how much effort you put into ignoring it, social media is everywhere and definitely set to stay and expand. How many of you wake up and one of the first things you do is check Facebook or your Twitter streams? I must admit, I am in the guilty camp on this one too. For some the use of Facebook doesn’t extend much beyond a tool that allows you to stay in touch with your bezzie in New Zealand, or Family in Singapore, without having to calculate the time difference and remember the dialing code. But for the business savvy social media lovers out there, it is a platform of choice for many a purpose, ranking next to the other all round good egg, Twitter. These of course are just a couple of the many social media platforms out there and work much like anything else in life, by giving back what you put in. These two are my favourites as you can do so much on them; share links, photos, ‘like’ and comment, update and so on and so forth. But there are platforms out there which are more image specific and which offer different options of communication.
In order to ascertain whether your social media is working for you, you need to ask two fundamental question.
What social media are you using? and, what do you want to gain from using social media?
So let’s go back to the first question,
What social media tools are you using?
Video (Vine, YouTube, Vimeo)
Other new advanced social tools…
The answer to this should depend on the type of message to you want to portray, your customer demographic and your target audience. The tools you use, or are considering using, should match the expectations of both your existing and potential customers. There is no point using YouTube if your customers are 80 years old and don’t use video. Just like if your customers are Facebook users and you don’t have a page then you are missing a trick. Find out what kind of devices are used to access your site most frequently? A blog is difficult to read on a smartphone but something can easily be liked or shared. Use this information to gauge the type of audience you have and then you will have a better idea whether you are present in the channels you need to be in. It’s still early and the new year is the ideal time to look at new channels as many have introductory offers that make it free and easy to set up an account and get on with trying their product.
Obviously there is the fun side to social media, but there is the serious side too, like, what are you using social media for?
A new year is a good time to set objectives for using social media. Is it just because everyone else is doing it? If this is the case then the chance of your presence achieving a specific goal is quite slim and it’s also doubtful that any content you add will help your overall business aims.
Set aside some time to sit and outline your objectives for using social media to help to clarify where you should be present and what you should be contributing. Is it a customer service tool where you can resolve customer queries? Is it a sales/promotional tool? Is it an educational tool? Is it simply to engage and have a fun side or human face to your organisation? All these are things you should be asking yourself.
Now you need to match the social media channels/tools that you use (or don’t use yet but plan to) to your objectives. For example, Facebook may be a tool for answering customer queries. YouTube is a great educational tool as you can post videos explaining products and how to use them. Twitter is a great way to connect with target groups and Instagram is about engaging in the moment. But take note and make sure and don’t match the channels with the wrong objective, your Twitter feed is no place to try to educate customers as you only have 140 characters…but you can post links.
Now for a Début favourite, a review!
At various times throughout a campaign you should review your activities and their effectiveness. There are varying levels at which you can do this and it could be something as simple as using the built in analytics packages in certain programmes (blogs, Facebook, Instagram) to monitor how much viewership your social posts are getting. Set objectives based on this and try and achieve more. What works? What doesn’t? What do people interact and engage with? Only by analysing can you plan to do more and develop a structure to your social media activity. Keep monitoring and don’t be clouded by what you think works; know what works – how else will you know how much traffic is being driven to your website through social media and whether it has generated any sales?
Now, I often hear people say that they would love to be more active on social media sites but they don’t have the time, which brings me on to the next point… don’t waste time. If a social tool is time consuming and you are getting no return then you need to weigh up the pros and cons of still using it. For example, if you think Instagram is going to be the next big thing but you’ve spent hours and hours posting photos and nobody has viewed them, then why are you doing it? Not all businesses are ideal for all social channels. Have a think and see what is contributing, and if the answer is nothing then re-think your account.
But on the other hand, if it does work then you need to keep at it, put the time and effort in and update your content. I don’t mean post for the sake of it but don’t leave it months between each entry. If people are expecting interaction then make sure and deliver and don’t give them the opportunity to ‘unfollow’.
The last thing to remember about social media is that it is meant to be a bit fun and not so formal. If you aren’t having fun doing it and its not providing enjoyment or relevance to your customers and audience, then don’t do it. People can spot ‘an entry for entry sake’ a mile away which doesn’t reflect well.
Okay, I think that is enough for today, you will all be on your social sites straight away after reading this I expect. Next week I am going to talk about the perfect communication…now there’s food for thought!