Social media can either be the biggest waste of your energy and time, or one of the most rewarding experiences. And all of this depends on how you approach it. Here are some of our learnings from years of social engagement which we hope will help you set off on the right footing.
Whenever you are communicating online, you must be doing this through the lens of your company or the brand that you’re attempting to promote. By that I don’t mean you need to be robotic or engage solely in corporate speak, but simply that when you are developing your social media strategy, you need to be thinking about the messages you want to convey and, naturally enough, you want to think about what you are trying to achieve here.
Is it to drive traffic and leads to your website? Or is it to increase your profile and influence and to promote your brand to a wider audience? Or is it to counter some negative PR and address a reputational threat to your business?
All of these scenarios will result in very different approaches so this part of the planning stage needs to be thought through very carefully.
“A good listener is not only popular everywhere, but after a while he gets to know something.”
Another important factor (which should be one of your first considerations) is your target audience. What do you know of them? What are their broad demographic characteristics, their likes and dislikes, their motivations, their influencers, peers and adversaries.
So before you start to engage them, you better know more about them. And what better way than to spend some time listening to them? Online: within the channels you are planning on engaging with them in!
Consider organising a social management dashboard to gather all of your social media threads in the one place, like Hootsuite or Sprout Social. That way you can set up search filters on each channel (particularly useful for the fast moving channels like twitter which is akin to a stream of consciousness – or unconsciousness sometimes!).
Once you know what your target audience is looking for, and you understand a little of how you communicate with this audience appropriately, this will give you confidence when you start to engage with them.
Most business owners treat social media like a loud hailer – one way and repetitive. This is the perfect strategy to alienate your customers and advocates. How you communicate is almost as important as what you communicate.
You need to be guided by the rule of thirds:
Which leads me to the next point:
Dialogue and conversations work best when they’re natural and free flowing yet many people engaging in social media forget to be sociable and sound like a robot.
So, be natural and treat your audience for what they are individuals and a human! Not a radical thought but an important one.
In the next blog we’ll take a look at the the remaining 5 factors from this series. Thanks for reading.