Four Tips for Social Media Success


keys to social media successIn the last two or three years Social Media has become a huge part of the marketing mix for a lot of companies. 2011 is only going to see Social Media reach new heights particularly with the growth of smart phones. However because Social Media (SM) has become so main stream and most companies engage in some sort of social activity it is imperative that brands give themselves the best possible chance of cutting through the noise. To do this brands need a strategy. It’s not just a case of setting up profiles and updating them every now and then. Below I outline four steps that will help you to devise a solid SM strategy.

The four steps are:

  1. Listen (conduct research)
  2. Set clear objectives
  3. Prepare content and dedicate resources
  4. Review

1. Listen

Social Media is a global phenomenon and hundreds of millions of users engage with social networks every day. This means that whether your brand has official SM pages set up or not there are people out there talking about you. At the very least they’re talking about the industry you operate in or competitors that already have social profiles. So if you are considering entering this space you need to know what is being said about you, your competitors and the industry as a whole.

There are a number of tools that will help you to do this. If you’re able to pay for social listening tools, Radian 6 is a great one but if you can’t it doesn’t matter. There are loads and loads of free ones. To name but a few are –, twingly, Blog Pulse, Collecta, Crowd Eye and more. Not to mention Google blogs, Technorati etc. Use these tools to collect information and see what people are saying about you in real time. This gives you a great gauge of how your brand is perceived at any given time.

2. Set clear objectives

Now that you’ve done your research you should have a fairly accurate picture of how the general public or at least the ones that use social media view your brand.  Once you know what people think of you, you can set clear objectives.

It is important to note at this stage that clear objectives are not “I want more followers” or “our nearest competitors do it so we have to also” or anything like that. Examples of clear objectives are – we want to raise awareness of a product in a given time period or we want to publicise an event to a certain target demographic , the majority of whom are users of social network x, or we want to give our consumers a more direct customer service line. Twitter is great for that. Another one is using social networks as a way to get feedback that informs future brand decisions.

This step is still valid if you find that people are saying nothing about your brand or you’re a small, one or two man company that is about to launch.

3. Prepare content and dedicate resources

Now that you know what is being said about you and what you want to get out of SM you need to figure out how to drive engagement, what the personality of your social profiles will be and prepare content. There is no point in continually posting content about your own brand and the deals or offers you have going on at any given time. You can absolutely talk about these things and I’d encourage it but you need a balance.

Come up with a content schedule for a period of time. Start by identifying broad topics or areas of conversation that are in line with your SM objectives and brand values.  Then prepare posts each week. This makes the page more structured and will help keep the tone of voice consistent.  Once you start posting content you then need to monitor the page and interact with users when they comment on your wall posts, tweets, videos and images.

4. Review

At this stage your profiles are up and running so after a period of time you need to take stock and assess what is working and what isn’t. Facebook insights are good for this but more basic tips are simply looking at which posts generated the most interaction. What content received the largest number of likes and comments?

If you follow these four steps you’ll definitely be on the right track. There is a lot more that can be done, for example, paid for advertising on Facebook, run competitions, blog and more. However, if you’re considering entering the SM space I can’t recommend social listening tools enough.

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