Building a community via social media is hard work but it doesn’t have to be. Setting up a Facebook or Twitter account isn’t enough to maintain a campaign and people are often left wondering ‘What Next?’ Keeping a strong social presence going for your business is fairly simple and with a little elbow grease you will master it in no time. To get you started here are the four most important steps for social media success:
1) Make a plan.
Your company may not need an account on every social media site. Facebook and Twitter might serve you well if you are a small online business, whereas adding a Foursquare and Instagram account would be great for a retail store or restaurant. Just because a network exists does not mean that you have to use it.
Stretching yourself thin over multiple social networks (especially unnecessary networks) will only dilute your message and cause you to lose interest from possible audience members.
2) Structure your content.
Find a ‘groove’ as I like to call it. Decide what your message will be – strictly informative about what your company is up to, a mix between company updates and industry news, or maybe you will throw in a little fun with occasional photos and stories about your culture and employees.
It’s important that you find out what your message will be and how you will deliver it. If you don’t come up with a solid plan of action you once again create mish-mosh of information that has no real point in the end – losing interest from your audience. Look at your analytics to see when your audience is most active with your accounts. Plan your posts or at least most important messages around these times so that you can reach the largest portion of our audience possible.
Now, I know I suggested sharing your company culture and stories about the workplace but I will caution you – this is your company’s social network not an account for group fun. Too much about the culture and you have no real message that you are portraying to the audience; these small and few occasions where you step out of the box to show the inner workings are like tiny little surprises for your community. If someone gave you a surprise every day it would no longer be neither exciting nor special – this is how you have to approach sharing employee and culture related stories.
3) Interact with your audience.
If you make a new friend (I’m talking in real life now…) and you never return a phone call, text, or are a constant no-show there is roughly a 100% chance that the relationship between you and your new ‘friend’ will diminish, right? Well, this is how you have to approach social media; it is called social media after all.
There is no exact science for interaction with your audience, but the following standards should apply:
Be aware of when you audience interacts with your accounts the most. Responding to consumers in a timely manner is very important and appreciated more than you believe.
Be polite. Remember this isn’t your personal account this is the company voice being sent out over the interwebs for all to hear. Occasionally you may run into a disgruntled customer, that’s okay, give them an email address and ask them to send a message there with to that address with details regarding their problem and mention that once the message is received a member of your team will work to find a solution.
4) Teach your audience how to connect with you.
If you are looking for your audience to interact with you in a specific manner or have a really cool idea for your fans to participate in, show them. This video from Marquette University expresses my point perfectly: