It’s not groundbreaking news to suggest that social media has changed the way we do business. It’s obvious that we can no longer rely on interruption based marketing to communicate our stories. We all know it’s important to listen, share things of value, and communicate in two-way dialogues with prospects, clients and peers. We all know this.
Social media has become more powerful every single year. The power that can be unlocked through social media cannot be denied, and carries over into multiple aspects of business. As more and more social networks, tools and theories come to market, it’s becoming increasingly important for businesses to refine our social media strategies and begin taking a results-driven approach to social marketing.
This post is meant to help you understand how you can optimize your social strategy and use social media to better drive your unique business goals and stand out in this ever-expanding channel.
1. Create Content Your Audience Will Crave
Social media has undoubtedly increased the speed at which a story is shared, and whether it’s something that they can share with a friend or their connections on LinkedIn, people are spending time looking for content worth sharing. Social sharing is proven to boost reach and awareness — so how do you maximize your +1’s and retweets?
Consumers are more likely to share content that is timely and relevant to them. It may seem obvious, but many businesses miss the boat on this. Put the right tools in place to effectively collect and analyze consumer interests and behaviors not just on an aggregate level, but on an individual level as well. Leverage these insights to target more tailored content to your unique audience segments. If you can create a story that answers a question or offers valuable insight they crave, you’ll win.
Not to mention, if you’re going to create content worth sharing, you better give your customers a way to share it! Make sure your site or app features a plethora of social sharing buttons for quick and easy syndication.
2. Be Social Everywhere
It’s been more than five years since social media has changed business. If you don’t have your Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+ profiles filled out in full, it’s time to stop reading this post and go fix them. At this point in the game, it’s time to realize that being social is no longer confined to social networks, and must be extended across business properties and processes.
Does your sales team leverage their social networks and connections in their outreach process? Is your site or app inherently social? Take engagement and connectivity “off-network” and implement the strategies and tools necessary to build relationships with your customers across touch points. Business that are able to effectively place their brands at the center of social interaction and connectivity will build customer engagement, trust, and, ultimately, lifetime value.
3. Listen More Than You Speak
How do the most influential figures in your industry manage their presence online? What kind of content do they create? What are your current and prospective customers sharing? What topics are they posting about? Ask yourself these questions and more when you consider how you’re going to build your business’s digital properties.
Before you blast your own promotional messages via social media, take time to analyze the competition and understand how they communicate with and engage their prospects. By engaging in two-way dialogues with your prospects and customers via social media, your business can more effectively start to nurture the authentic relationships that lead to brand loyalty.
4. Make Social Engagement a Priority
I know what you’re thinking: There’s only so much time in a day and social media is simply going to take more of it up. That’s not a lie. Social media does require time. But by failing to prioritize your social strategy, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to engage and convert more customers.
It’s important to understand that you get out of social media exactly what you put into it. If you invest time in developing a strong network and building a strategy for leveraging social data to personalize digital experiences, you will see significant returns for your efforts.
by Ross Simmonds