If you are one of those people who (mistakenly) thinks Social Media is just a fad that will soon start to lose its luster, you are in for a (BIG) surprise. Social Media continues to play an integral role in our everyday lives, both from a personal and professional standpoint.
According to a recent poll from Effie Worldwide and Mashable, 70% of marketers plan to increase their social media budget by more than 10% in 2011. So what does that mean for businesses? In my opinion, you better get on the fast track if you haven’t already factored social media into your marketing budget this year.
Just a few key components to consider when it comes to social media:
Remember, many of your competitors will increase social media spending in 2011. Will you?
There are many companies that view social media as a huge mountain to conquer. However, social media doesn’t have to be a daunting task, if your company has a strategy and follows it. Setting a plan in place, alone or with an agency can help a business be successful in the arena of social media.
The first step of the plan is to recognize that it is subject to change. Social media is constantly evolving; therefore it is important to be aware of those changes and willing to make adjustments. Think about Facebook. There was a time where businesses couldn’t do apps, but now they have the capability to create and run many different types of apps on Facebook. Another example is that not too long ago, every social media site had to be logged into individually. Now, HootSuite and other tools make it easy to access and monitor multiple social accounts across different social media channels.
Another key to being successful with social media is to define the boundaries before you start. What is your tone? How do you want to come across to your fans, followers and viewers? The CEO from Zappos has his own Twitter account and he tweets about his day and things taking place in the office. He has no problem saying, “Getting on a plane, need rest” one day, and the next saying, “here’s a live company meeting with our employees, see video.” The tone of his Twitter account is very engaging. On the flip side, other companies may take a more formal approach, making their tweets a little less personal. Either way, the strategy should be determined from the outset. By setting the tone beforehand, your company can keep out of harm’s way. Make sure that whoever is managing your social accounts (whether internally or externally) is clearly aware of the correct way to “talk” through your company’s social voice. There are many stories about companies who entered the social media world and had it backfire because they didn’t define the boundaries of their social account.
In defining a social media strategy, the base plan doesn’t have to take forever, but it should be carefully thought out. Once your company establishes some basic foundations for your social media account, go ahead and be increasingly creative. Do promotions, contests, free giveaways and more. Social media is a great way to reach out to your target audience; just make sure your business adjusts to changes and clearly defines its social boundaries.
It used to be that you had to have a Facebook Company page, you must have a Twitter Company page and you really ought to have a LinkedIn Company page, too.
Fast forward to April 2011 where you should consider the mere presence on those main channels, as just the very first step in your social media initiatives. While maintaining your social media channels with ongoing dialog, updates, responses, etc. is certainly mission critical to long term success, it is no longer about just being “active”.
Consumers are savvier than ever before and Janet Jackson’s “What Have You Done for Me Lately” is at the forefront of everyone’s mind. It is now about who is offering the best coupons, promotions, discounts, incentives and also how often. If you are not constantly promoting a special offer or giving your fans, followers and connections a reason to “like” you, “follow” you or “connect” with you, then they are onto the next.
So are your channels living up to consumer expectations? I encourage you to reevaluate your efforts and strategy, perhaps even snoop a little on some of your competitors to see if you are up to snuff. Below are some ideas to ponder…
For Facebook – what (if anything) are you offering as an incentive for people to like your page? Some examples could include, Like Our Page and…
Receive Free Shipping
Receive This Month’s Special Promotion
Receive an Exclusive Facebook Discount
Receive a Free Product Sampling
Be Entered into Our Monthly Contest
The same goes for Twitter. What are you offering as an incentive for people to follow your page? A few examples could include, Follow us and…
The 1000th Follower will receive a special fill in the blank (promotion, prize or gift)
Every time we gain fill in a number new followers, all of our followers will be automatically entered into a drawing to win a special fill in the blank (promotion, prize or gift)
For LinkedIn, the more you can beef up your company page, the more people will want to follow your company to see what you’re up to. LinkedIn now has some really cool options & features. One is the ability to add products/services to your page. Another is the ability to add recommendations of companies you’ve worked with. Take a look at a screenshot of our page:
Take the time to make your channels enticing. You won’t be sorry!