This guest post was written by Joe White from Think Genial Social Media Management. If you would like to write a guest post for this blog then drop me a line. My contact details can be found at the bottom of this page.
1. There is lots of competition
As we survey the social media landscape in November 2011 it is clear there is a great deal of competition for attention. If you are just starting out you are going to have your work cut out but that is not to say you should not start and also that you can’t see great benefits if you do it right.
If you have been participating in social media for business a while, now is the time to make sure your game is tight to keep your followers and fans engaged.
How can you stand out from the crowd? With local content, demonstration of particular expertise, building relationships with your fans and followers? What can you offer that your competitors are not at present? How can you freshen up your campaign?
If you are just starting out don’t be put of because I am pleased to tell you that there are so few companies using social media to its true potential there is still ample opportunity for you.
2. People Need a Reason to ‘Like’ or Follow You
To encourage people to follow your company on Twitter or ‘like’ your Facebook Page it is increasingly important to give people a good reason to take the desired action.
Can you offer exclusive content to fans and followers for example latest releases/ exclusive news? Can you offer people 10% off for liking your Facebook Page (using a ‘reveal’ tab), can you promise social media only competitions? The number 1 reason people will like a Facebook Page is for special offers (see articles below).
3. The Need to Meet Expectations
Once you have enticed someone to become a fan or follower your next challenge is to keep them following. People have certain expectations about the types of content you will be putting out and if their expectations are not met you may well be unfollowed or at least ignored.
Ideally you want to convert every fan or follower into an engaged fan or follower as studies have consistently shown they are more likely to buy from you and are likely to spend more when they do.
Check out these two recent articles for an insight into customers expectations and the top reasons you will be unliked or unfollowed:
4. You NEED a Strategy
Before you start participating in social media, learn as much as you can and put a strategy in place with measurable and achievable goals. Are you trying to win new customers, improve customer retention, improve online reputation or glean knowledge from customers and competitors?
You should measure enquiries generated from social media, website visits, uptake of social media only special offers, follower ‘engagement’ and/or other relevant metrics.
In reality few companies have had true success with social media. Having a strategy in place will give your company the best shot at success.
If you don’t speak to a social media consultant at any other stage, it is worth doing so now. Either take some free advice or pay someone. It is better than wasting months doing the wrong thing before realising you would have been better off seeking guidance in the first instance.
5. Integration and Communication With Other Marketing/ Customer Service Channels is Key
To encourage the maximum exposure for your social media efforts you should look to communicate your social media efforts on every possible occasion. For instance:
- Promote with full url (internet address) at premises
- Promote to your email list
- Put social media urls on business cards
- Integrate Facebook connect and Twitter with company website
The social media person needs to be made aware of your SEO keywords, the social media design should tie in with the main website, a procedure should be put in place for customer service enquiries through social media, the social media person should be aware of press releases and other marketing activities.
Social media is here to stay, I hope this reality checklist helps :)
Joe (@GenialJoe on Twitter)