Keeping the Social in Social Media
October 18, 2012 3 Comments
Social media networks like Facebook and Twitter have evolved tremendously in recent years. These online communities have developed from simple networking websites for high school and college students into essential business marketing tools. It is no longer a novelty to actively engage in social media as a business, and in fact those who remain unwilling to do so will soon find themselves woefully behind.
And yet this revelation is old news; social media has arrived and is here to stay. Even the largest companies, who previously saw no benefits from using these free services, are spending millions of dollars each year to develop the effective social media marketing strategies. To date, this process is still ongoing, and as more legitimate research and analysis is performed, the methods for maximization will be uncovered.
In the search for these methods, necessary pillars have already emerged. These pillars are non negotiable; for a company to find any success, from the largest multinational corporation to the smallest one man operation, these steps must be mastered.
Develop a Dedicated Following
To achieve any level of effectiveness, your social media accounts need to be seen. Even the most beautifully orchestrated Internet marketing campaign ever devised will sink to an abyss of obscurity without a developed community willing to accept your message. To begin amassing this community, you yourself will need to engage in others. Find online gatherings within your industry and get involved. Promote your social media accounts in public forums and in every business interaction.
If you’ve got business cards, a website, or even print advertising in your local newspapers, tell them about your online presence by including your social buttons. Ensure that your target market knows that you have these accounts, and when they start to make the jump and become members of your online community, acknowledge their decision and thank them for it.
In truth, gathering a potential audience is fairly straightforward, and takes little more than a bit of focused effort and time. Keeping that audience around and interested, however, is the real challenge, and is where most businesses today fall short.
Maintain Honest, Regular Interaction
For too many businesses, the term “social media” has simply become a moniker with no identifiable meaning. They are ignoring the principle function of these resources, which is plainly stated in the title: social interaction. These sites are built on direct access to one another and constant communication. This is not only true for family and friends, but for businesses and their customers.
To find success in any social media marketing strategy, it must involve real, genuine interactions with current and potential customers. If you are addressed with a question, comment, or concern, not only is a response demanded, but a personal, non-automated one is key. Social media users have become spoiled with this level of access; if there is any lack of honest dialog between them and businesses, they will break their allegiance immediately and permanently.
Without this constant and open interaction, whatever followership you’ve developed will quickly fade. Consumers are willing to give almost anything a chance on social media sites, as achieving membership requires little more than a mouse click, though they are just as willing to cut the cord without a second thought if your content is not worth their time.
Offer a Unique Reward
Social media bombards users with information, and this never ending stream of up-to-the-minute content cannot all share the spotlight. Some information will be highlighted, and some will be ignored. To keep your business’ message relevant and worth the investment to those who’ve chosen to follow you, offer them unique, cost saving benefits that cannot be found elsewhere. Create social media specific promotional advertising. Give exclusive or behind-the-scenes access to your business and its products or services. Make being a social media follower a real world benefit over those who are not.
If your business can develop a sizeable following that believes you will take the time to communicate with them directly and offer them exclusive membership benefits, your message will be heard, and your social media accounts will become the most profitable marketing tools in your arsenal.
While there is still much to be mapped out in this fairly unexplored environment, the basics have already been discovered, and their understanding will soon be assumed. Fortunately, there is still time to learn and implement these basic techniques, and develop them into even more beneficial strategies for your business. However, this will not be the case for much longer, and those who ignored their importance will soon be on the outside looking in.
What kinds of strategies do you use to gain and engage your social followers? What works best in your experience? Let us know in the comments!
This post was written by the marketing department for the Los Angeles car accident attorneys at AA Accident Attorneys.