Social media was once thought to be the next big fad, however, instead of just being the trend “du jour”, it has evolved to the point where it is now completely entrenched in the fabric of our society–and it doesn’t appear that it will decline any time soon. This kind of cultural shift brings us to the question: Is your company socially connected? If so, are you doing it well? Or are your company’s social media profiles just taking up space like an abandoned warehouse? If your answer is the latter, then we need to talk! There are many hurdles to maintaining an active and successful social media presence, and it can be overwhelming. Fortunately, it is achievable with a few well-thought-out changes that will improve your company’s presence and engagement. As social media is a marketing tool, if you’re not using it to your advantage, you might be missing out on an entire target audience, one that you may have not previously considered. First off, do you know if your company has a social media strategy? Are you unsure whether you’re “doing it properly”? Here are 13 tips to boost your company’s social media presence:
Social media: The beginning steps
1) Determine the strength of your company’s current online presence What online presence do you currently have? How many “likes” are on your Facebook page? What’s the count on your Twitter followers? Do you have a LinkedIn company page? How frequently are you using Instagram? Everyone needs to start somewhere. Evaluate and document your company’s social media presence at the beginning so that you have a benchmark to measure against in the future. 2) Discover your social community Do you know your audience? What’s their average age, profession, likes/dislikes? What type of info are they looking for? Once you understand your social community you’ll be able to create content tailored for this audience. 3) Define your goals and objectives Why are you using social media? What are you hoping to gain? Who are you hoping to attract? Once you determine what your target audience responds to, set clear communication goals to increase engagement. This will help guide your content to be strategic and sharable, which will result in greater success. Your objectives should be SMART–Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic, and Timely. 4) Develop a social media strategy and implement it Once goals are set, what’s your execution strategy? What’s your focus–Improved engagement? More leads? Increased traffic to your website? Now that you’ve done your homework, put it to the test. Produce a social media strategy that’s aligned with your company’s objectives and develop a road map of how your social media strategy will be executed. Prioritize from the top down, and established whether you have the budget and resources to use paid, owned, and earned media to amplify your online presence. 5) Determine how you will measure your efforts Do you know if your social media strategy has been successful? Do you know if you have actually been reaching your target audience? We recommend that you analyze your metrics monthly and create a report to tract your social media progress. Now with a solid social media presence created, you can focus on becoming a social media pro! 6) Encourage and foster discussions within your community Social media requires that your company be social. You don’t talk to yourself without sounding crazy, so why do it online? To keep your audience engaged fill your feed with a mix of diverse content and continually strive for two-way conversations. 7) Don’t shy away from Q&A’s Customers love to offer feedback on products and services when prompted–and more often than not, when they’re not prompted. They’ll throw out questions about your company, and in these situations, you want to be the first to respond. Take a “head first” approach to interacting with your social community and immediately address their questions, concerns and opinions–both positive and negative. 8) Determine a manageable content sharing frequency There is nothing worse than finding an amazing social media site or website that regularly shares content and then out of nowhere, they just stop. It makes you wonder when or if they’ll post again, and consequently, you may start searching their competitor’s websites for similar content. It’s critical that the frequency of engagement be regular and consistent. 9) Give back to your social community in creative ways When someone reaches out to your company through your social media platforms keep in mind that they have chosen to connect with you, from amongst a very large pool of similar companies. Rewarding your online community with contest giveaways and promotions is a smart and easy way to repay and show appreciation for the exposure you’re receiving. 10) Humanize your company. Be authentic. No one likes talking to a robot. Robotic comments and responses tend to be viewed as spam and will result in a loss of engagement from your target audience. Share what’s happening within your company–people will relate and feel they’re getting an inside peek into who you are. 11) Inject some gamification into your company’s social media strategy Gamification is the use of game thinking and mechanics in non-game contexts for the purpose of engaging users in problem solving. Since a large online demographic love gaming, gamification can be used to amplify your social media strategy via increased engagement with this large targeted audience. 12) Better manage your unhappy customers Social media is an amazing medium to monitor what people are saying about your company and products. Upset customers can complain outside of work hours and social media can give you direct access to them and publicly diffuse the situation. Of course, the online world isn’t a perfect utopian place, there will always be complainers, especially on review websites. Always remember to be courteous and professional; it can save your reputation. 13) Let your fans help you become better Social media is a wonderful platform where everyone loves to contribute information and ideas. A social media savvy company incorporates its community’s ideas, opinions, and sometimes photos and content into its social media strategy. In conclusion–There are a multitude of creative and engaging tips to boost your company’s social media presence. If you’ve gone beyond these 13 tips we’d love for you to share your ideas with our community!