One of the biggest problems when looking at businesses who want to move into the social sphere is that they just want to get online.  Like the trend a few years back when having a website was the trend and you needed one, everyone and their brother has a FaceBook page now, and honestly, who cares?  Getting onto social media is not the end goal; it is simply a step to entering a new channel.  Today, I would like to explain why going social is a strategy instead of an end goal, and three small ideas to help a turn social into a strategy.

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Likes aren’t an end, they are simply a step 

Consider this.  You make a spectacular post on FaceBook about a new product or service your company starts up and a fifty people like the post.  However, you did not account for what to do with those likes.  Do people like it because you asked them to, do people like it because they want the product, or do people like it since they found it amusing and wanted to give you credit for your post?  Without a strategy of what to do with that information afterward, a company is just putting effort into something that cannot generate an ROI.  To take that into a strategy, consider what you want to accomplish with the post, figure a follow up step, and complete the action.  It may be as simple as figuring what time of day people liked the post to see when the best time to post updates or as complex as following up with the people who liked your post to see if they would be interested in purchasing the product.

Social media is a two way street 

Social media is one of the few ways that companies can connect with users and create conversation through a marketing campaign.  Traditional advertising allows for messages to be sent to consumers, with little way to measure what consumers will do with it.  However once we move to social, we can now have conversations with customers.  Simply having an online presence is sticking with traditional advertising, and not utilizing social for its true power.  Shouting out your dogma will not create a more meaningful connection with any customer.  Interacting with them by commenting on their posts or showing more insight into a product will.  So instead of using your Twitter feed to just advertise new products, ask people to post pictures of themselves with your products and offer a prize to the most retweeted picture.  This creates a compelling reason for people to interact with your company, and creates an engaging contest that allows for conversation to occur.

Metrics, metrics, metrics

Ever wonder where you website traffic comes from?  Social can track it.  Social can also tell you which users spread your mantra the most, as well as any negative image you may be receiving.  Social media has opened a whole new set of data that can be analyzed for upcoming campaigns.  Your new cat photo was not well received?  Instead of having to wait for sales to come in and notice that the campaign was not effective, there are metrics that can be taken to notice after just a week.  This allows for a quick change to occur and tailor the campaign for a better reception.  You can see where your positive reviews come in, where your negative reviews come in, and have a way to document how each review is handled in the public sphere.  Social gives concrete positive and negative numbers, as well as demonstrates publically how your company handles their customers.  Simply having pages on social will not bring any of these metrics to light; only with constant use and monitoring can we bring a new medium and data to use.  Having Twitter and creating a unique hash tag for a day is a great way to do this.  Create an interesting post with a unique hash tag, and then see how many people use it for the next day.  A campaign like this can help a company see how many people pay attention to their tweets, and how willing their followers are to share.

People want social for interaction, not as a megaphone for more advertising.  Instead of asking yourself how you can promote the company, ask how can I create a meaningful interaction today?  Let that guide you in your social endeavor.

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