Social Media for Those Who Don’t do Social Media
Not every executive is a natural “social Web” communicator
Business people who didn’t grow up with social media can find the ever-changing nature of Facebook puts them off from participating fully in it.
On the other hand, many ask, “What’s the point? Is anyone listening to what I say… except me?” Twitter can seem like being in an echo chamber. A bit lonely.
Fair points. But Google counts social signals in its search results (as do searches on social networks themselves) so social is something you have to factor into your optimization efforts, like it or not. And hey, once you see positive results, you might end up enjoying it…
Here are some guidelines for getting started. Or re-started.
What Do You Want Social Networking to Achieve?
You don’t need a giant plan, just a sense of what you want from your social profiles in say 6 months, because that’ll influence how you set up or edit them. Are they a destination? A jump page to your website? A prospecting device? For keeping in contact with influentials you’re not selling to? For showcasing thought-leadership? For making contacts in a new business market? For connecting with people you already know? Some or all of the aforementioned?
Condense into a maximum of two for each social network. And select the right social networks for your business needs. Don’t automatically assume Facebook and Twitter; LinkedIn and Google + have a role to play, especially with B2B and technology oriented companies.
Decide Your Social Media Goals
For companies without a strong social network presence, goals usually look like this:
- Increasing your brand awareness, getting Followed, Liked, becoming involved in conversations
- Referring social contacts to your Website or to some form of contact that deepens a relationship
- Gaining social sales, either on or through social networks (excluding apps).
Decide on one across all networks. Your goals will also determine the networks you use. LinkedIn and Google + are different from Facebook and Twitter; and some specialist businesses will find other, much better social networks for their goals.
Create Social Content That Supports Your Goals
Each of the goals above will benefit from a different type of content.
- Building awareness: Content that’s topical, unusual, humourous, surprising, easily discussed, referred to and incorporated into the conversation flow
- Driving site traffic: Content that involves people (such as quizzes, polls, competitions, research summaries, the 10 Best/Worst…) and invites them to click through to discover, browse, sample and perform an action you want
- Gaining social sales: Content that promises a clear benefit (discounts, offers) and has a clear Call to Action (perhaps vouchers or promo codes to redeem online or in store)
Track Social Media Progress
You should have a way of tracking progress. Again, ponderous metrics can produce more smoke than light, but you’ll need a few performance measures. We can help you identify the benchmarks that Web and social search algorithms reward on the different networks.
How to Be (Web) Social
Whatever your goals for your social profiles, remember that social media is:
- about real people (ignoring sock puppets, bots and multiple accounts): the social Web was not created primarily for brands and businesses
- reciprocal: a two-way street, give and take, so respond to others’ actions and follow each network’s “netiquette”
- momentum-driven: avoid getting caught on the posting roller coaster by allocating specific talk-time and by scheduling updates
- informal: avoid stiff writing that sounds like instructions for filling out a tax return
- visual: use images, graphics, cartoons, charts, illustrations, video, links
- fickle: popularity varies widely from day to day, don’t take it personally
- fast-moving: You’re as good as your last post.
Social media return-on-investment
As a simple guide to social ROI:
- focus on those actions that Web and social search engines reward most highly
- weigh the cost of your internal staff time against the cost of outsourcing to experts