Five Basic Principles of Social Media
Now is arguably the optimal time to get your company invested in social media. Facebook has just successfully passed over 900 million users, while other social media outlets are also continuing to grow. For anybody who has tried or is trying to get the most out social media, remember that there is a large market to capture, and a place for every niche to be successful.
For those of you that have a Twitter account or Facebook fan page, you may have realized that it isn’t easy to get your status update or tweet noticed. At any given second there are more than 700 status updates, and 600 tweets. It might seem frustrating when your posts go unnoticed, but you are on the right track. The goal is to build a community that shares and responds to your posts. To achieve the benefits of a strong customer base and the ability to recognize what your company may or may not be doing successfully, start by applying these five basic rules to your social media approach.
- Timing is important. First, go back and read Lesley’s post on the importance of timing when using social media. If you don’t already, take advantage of when your users will be reading through their newsfeed or timeline. Use your social media outlets when you think your audience will be reading. Think about and analyze your own daily schedule. When do you find yourself on Twitter or Facebook? For me, I tend to read my Twitter and Facebook feeds the most when I wake up and before I go to sleep. I don’t know about you, but I am not one that will scroll through my timeline or newsfeed for more than 5 minutes (no matter how interesting a post may be).
- Know your audience. How many of you see a tweet or post that is getting a lot of traffic and think: “Hey, I was going to tweet that earlier,” or “I was just thinking about that.” More than likely, that’s by design. Social Media pros spend time getting to know their audience and what they want to hear. If you’re aiming for a successful social media campaign, it is your task to cater information and updates to your users. Use hashtags on Twitter, or post pictures along with your status updates on Facebook. Make sure you do everything you can to not only make your posts stand out, but reach out to your audience. There are millions of social media users, so make sure you aren’t trying to capture them all. Start small and work through your niche to reach a bigger market as you progress. Starting with a core community is key, especially an active and responsive one.
- Be personable. I cannot stress enough how important it is to reach out to your users. Almost every company relies on customers, so why not thank them or help them when they need it? Whether a post is bashing you, or giving your company a compliment, make sure that customer is acknowledged and addressed. For example, a few weeks ago I tweeted about a website that I found extremely helpful, so I figured I would share it with my followers. This particular website’s Twitter handle has a very large number of followers, thus I wasn’t expecting to get any acknowledgement from them. However, within a few minutes they tweeted back. They thanked me, and acknowledged me – something that no other company I have tweeted to before has done. At the time, I was not following them, but after they acknowledged me I decided to repay them with a follow. When social media outlets are your main methods of reaching out to users, make sure that those users are both heard and appreciated.As a side note, be mindful of your tone when you respond. No matter how much you might want to respond with sarcasm or anger at an unreasonable customer, handle all interactions responsibly; people will appreciate it.
- Promote others. One of the best things about social media is that it easily enables us to network. It is extremely important to not only promote yourself, but to praise others for relevant accolades, even your competitors. There is always more to learn, and the best way to do that is by being open minded. Retweet and share those posts that you found funny, interesting, or both. You will be able to grow and maintain relationships with those you have respected and acknowledged. I am a firm believer that those you reach out to will likely do the same for you down the road.
- Get Technical. Take advantage of tools such as Google Analytics and use them to your advantage. Google Analytics can be used for almost every social media outlet and it’s free. Although, it might not always be an easy task to decipher the data, it can be extremely helpful. The data is a wealth of knowledge; it’s just a matter of taking the time to figure everything out. These tools will let you know what strategies your company, website, or social media platforms might need to change. It is up to you to take advantage of the endless resources out there. In the end, this is what differentiates a good marketer from a great one.