Merriam-Webster defines social media as:
Forms of electronic communication (as websites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (as videos)
The part of the definition you need to takeaway is “…create online communities to share information, ideas, personal message and other content…” Think about what this definition means. Nowhere does it say social media is easy, or it will provide instant results or that it is marketing gold.
Social media should be a tool in your marketing toolbox and should be used to help build your marketing plan. Similar to constructing a building or foundation, you can’t build a successful one with only one tool.
With that in mind…social media can be a very powerful tool. It enables a company to engage not only their current customers, but potential clients. However, there are too many companies who rush into social media without any strategy. Social media doesn’t have to be too hard. Below are a few steps that shouldn’t be overlooked when entering the world of social media. If you follow these tips, you will be on your way.
Listen – Think about social networks as real life networking events. Would you walk into a networking event and just start talking your head off without knowing what topic surrounds the event? So why would you do the same on Twitter or Facebook? The first thing you should do when you create an account is listen – just listen. See what people are saying about you and your brand before you respond.
Quality over Quantity – When you are in the before mentioned networking event what do you think about the person who won’t stop talking? The person who just keeps gabbing and gabbing, saying something important every once in a while, but for the most part says irrelevant, unimportant information. Now think about the person in the room who doesn’t talk much, but when he or she does talk…the room listens. The room listens because they know this person thinks before he or she talks and it is always a good piece of information.
Have Personality – Ever go to a networking event and you meet someone, who all he does is talk about how great he is or how great his company is doing? After about 5 minutes, all you want to do is walk away and talk to someone else. The people you enjoy talking too are the people who show an interest in you and people who share pieces of interesting information. On social media, don’t simply promote yourself because people will get bored. Retweet other people, share articles and videos, tell jokes. Don’t feel like every tweet or post needs to be about you…because guess what…it’s not. It’s about your customers.
Be Consistent – The average tweet stays on someone’s steam for an average of 2- 3 minutes. So what does this mean for you? You need to tweet throughout the day. Now, you definitely shouldn’t tweet every 2-3 minutes. Remember the quality over quantity thing? Resist the urge to be the gabber. If you post consistent good information throughout the day your material will be retweeted/shared and the life of your post will live on.
Now I can’t promise instant success with these four tips. However, I can promise if you follow these four tips, you are taking a huge step in the right direction. Remember…social media is not the one-stop shop when it comes to a marketing campaign, but it can be a powerful one. If you have any other tips to add, please feel free to leave them below in a comment.