(This week’s post is a guest column by my colleague and fellow COMM 351 lecturer, Ms. Nikita Yorke.)
A wise man once said “One of the greatest challenges companies face in adjusting to the impact of social media, is knowing where to start.” Social media is an ever-changing, multifaceted, collaborative medium that can either make or break you. It can be the greatest evil or the most beautiful advantage; it depends solely on how you choose to use it.
One of the greatest benefits of social media is the relaxed environment of communication. It creates a voice for the voiceless, an image for the invisible and confidence for the shy. Is it any surprise that organisations want to capitalize on this magic medium?
Social media has now come to be one of the main building blocks of a company and allows them to strive as an organization. Here are some essentials to making sure your business is social media ready and can gain a wealth of attention.
Decide on your Target Audience
Social media is crowded with an array of individuals with different opinions, ideas, likes and dislikes. As a result the greatest struggle is deciding who on social media you want to communicate with and sticking to it. Make choices of who you want associated with your brand and target these people. Create content specific to them that they can closely identify with.
One of the single most important parts of social media is the voice you create. The voice should be defined and specific. It should be stimulating for that target marketing. It should engage them and excite them as well as share a wealth of knowledge. Know your target and romance them with the type of lingo they like and pay attention too.
Identify your Outcomes
Not knowing what your outcomes with social media are can be your greatest downfalls. If you don’t know what you want, how will you know what you’re looking for? As such, it is significant that goals be identified for social media campaigns. With the popular Ice Bucket Challenge the ultimate goal was leads to people that could make donations but also an equally significant goal of creating awareness.
Other brands may mainly focus on brand maintenance through responding to questions and complaints, community building by developing advocates and supporters or reputation management through maintaining the identity of the brand and its development. On the other hand some may opt for “The Big Splash” to gain significant short term attention.
Ask your Audience Anything
People love to answer questions. Hard questions, easy questions! They just love to respond and communicate with the brand. It also allows them to speak! What you want with social media is to engage individuals and get them involved. It gets them to share and be heard. It develops interaction and is the start of building some important relationships.
Listen! And Never Stop!
Listen! Why? Well this is how you know what your audience likes and dislikes. It allows you to have a greater understanding of them. Social media is based on conversations and in order to have a beneficial conversation, significant listening has to take place. Take what you learn from listening to not just build better products and services but a better marketing campaign. Listening and responding gives your customers higher satisfaction.
Create a System
Consistency is key! Stay top of mind and be unique while doing it. It is very important to maintain consistency when it comes to social media marketing. Social media moves from one thing to the next very quickly and brands that lack consistency are lost in the food pictures, the selfies and the Facebook rants. So ensure that your brand is continually presenting valuable insights, information, guidance or effectively using popular content to boost their brand.
Share Content an Audience can Believe in
Know your audience and share content that they believe in, can identify with and immediately agree with. Your campaign should provide a strong sense of passion and engage the audience. Your passion should become their passion.
Analyze Post Content
See what they like. Analyzing the effectiveness of your content is the best way to ensure that your campaign is actually helping your brand. Make sure that your content is not just specific to your audience but also to the network that you are using.
(If you want to read a bit more on this topic, check this post for a follow-up to our in-class discussion on PR and marketing on social media.)