If you’re exploring social media for your business, it’s a good idea to be aware of good practices and the not so good practices.
Do create a plan
While there’s something to be said for diving right into social media – make sure you’re not doing it lemming-style for the wrong reasons; ‘because everyone else is’ or ‘because there’s so much cool stuff out there’.
Have a plan. Listen to what’s happening on the social web. Find out where your customers are. Then ask what do you want to achieve? Is it brand awareness, generate sales leads, engage with your customer, monitor your brand and the competition, educate your customers, get feedback and insights or leverage SEO? And how will you measure your effectiveness?
Do commit time and resources
While social media tools are free –the real cost associated with it is mainly time – and that means employees’ salaries.
Listening, engaging and offering value through social media is time intensive, so factor in the time element to your plans in order for your social media tactics to have a fighting chance of gaining traction.
Do welcome participation and feedback
Social media is about conversations, connections and sharing.
Invite customers to have their say (good or bad) and make it easy for them to do so.
Do be transparent with identity and intentions
Social media is also about transparency. Your audience will expect it of you – and if you violate this rule, you will undoubtedly be exposed.
For example, most professional bloggers now alert their readers to the fact that they are an affiliate when they promote a particular product or service on their blogs.
Do give to get
Building customer relationships online is just like building relationships and trust off-line.
Offer value to your audience; in content, free reports, rewards, assistance. Be helpful, interesting and friendly…. it goes a long way.
Take the time to listen to the conversations on the social web. Identify who the influencers are; find out what your competitors are doing, monitor what your customers are saying (about your brand, your company, your industry, your people).
Identify the culture of each social network and be aware of and abide by the mores of behaviour within each network. Don’t be the guy wearing Speedos when everyone else is wearing a suit and tie.
Don’t be pushy, spammy or salesy
It’s a no-brainer. Social media users – and consumers today – are savvy and won’t tolerate being spammed or sold to. Would you walk up to someone and just say ‘Hi, want to buy my product?’ before making eye contact, introducing yourself and finding a connection first?
Use social media to offer value and nurture relationships – listen and engage first, sell second.
Don’t be fake
Social media is about being authentic. Find your voice and just be… you. Be real. Be human and use social media tools to build human to human connections.
Don’t publish traditional ads
Social media requires a different approach; it’s not about ‘pushing’ your product/service to consumers, it’s about ‘pulling’ them to you. How can you get their attention, build a connection and invite them over to your place?
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