Social media has taken hold in commerce today so that it is no longer a strain on productivity, but instead a value-added marketing tool. Companies throughout the global marketplace are leveraging this key portal to support their messaging, promote new products, gain new customers and engage in real-time.
Simply deciding to go social is not enough, however. You have to have a clear strategy if you want to make this channel work to your benefit. Don’t assume that launching a Facebook or Twitter page is enough to get in the conversation. In fact, if all you plan to do is launch a page, you’re better off doing nothing. A stagnant presence on social channels is worse than no presence at all. Let’s take a look at a few of the critical things you need to do to get social.
Identify Your Audience
While this step should have been completed in the marketing strategy stage, you will need to revisit a description of your audience. This is key here as different audiences use different social media channels for different reasons. As a result, you won’t send the same message out across all channels. Know which segment of your audience is using which channels and adjust your message accordingly.
Identify Your Channels
It’s easy to assume that you need to launch a presence on every popular social media channel available. But unless your audience is actively using all popular channels, you would be wasting your time. In the previous step where you identify your audience, you’ll also identify their most oft used channels. If you don’t have active customers or prospects looking for information on Facebook, don’t bother to launch a business page. Instead, focus your efforts where they will produce the desired results.
Strategize Your Content
Once you know what channels to use, you then need to determine the messages to send across those channels. If you plan to simply shout out announcements about your product, company or service, don’t plan to reap the benefits of social media. Consumers are on these platforms because they want to be social – they want to gain information and engage. Don’t spend all of your time advertising or you’ll scare people away. Instead, focus on sharing value-added information, whether it’s something you create or something produced by a thought leader in the industry.
Engage, Engage, Engage
Consumers want to engage in conversations, contests and even debates. Create posts that engage the audience, inviting them to share their insight and opinions. To do so, make your posts unique and attractive to the consumer. Try to tie in hot and controversial topics that draw attention. Ask questions, but don’t provide answers right away. As people start to comment, be sure and respond to keep the conversation going.
If you follow these tips, you’ll be well on your way to launching an effective social media presence that engages your audience, pushes the message across the right channels and builds loyalty. If you can accomplish all three, you’ll enjoy the benefits of social media.
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