With so much hype surrounding the enormous benefits for businesses to reap with social media, many have eagerly (and expectantly) jumped into the social landscape with a Twitter account and maybe even a Facebook profile or fan page built around their brand or business. The problem happens when these expectant businesses look around and say, “Now what?” How do I get followers? How do I use these sites to generate leads? How do I justify social media? How do I find the time? What else is there? Why are we even here? …and so on.
If you’ve asked yourself any of these questions, or are less than enamored with the success of your social media campaign, try these social stump-blocker solutions below:
1. Conduct a Social Media Competitive Analysis
Most every business I can think of has competitors. Most likely, you’ll find some of your top competitors participating in unique ways in social media. Knowing where your competitors are and how they are using social media — even how effectively they are using it, can go a long way in forging your social media plan.
2. Setting Expectations
Social Media is a process. Just as you develop meaningful friendships over time, you will also develop your social media relationships, popularity and success over time. You may not see immediate results and can consider your first foray into social media as not only a learning process but a foundation upon which to build. Stick with it, find your voice, forge relationships, be helpful, reach out, and know when to seek professional advice… and eventually, your business will see the return!
3. Take Advantage of Second Tier Sites
There are literally thousands of social media sites other than the top five (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and WordPress) and more being born every day. Know what’s out there and what may benefit your business. Sites such as Ning, Squidoo, Amplify and SlideShare are fantastic ways to increase exposure around your brand. Here’s a good, brief list of second tier social media sites broken down by business type.
4. Monitoring is Essential
It’s easy to set up social media monitoring for your business or brand and even better, there are many efficient free tools available that you can take advantage of. In my last blog post, I covered tips on how to set up social media monitoring and what to monitor, and also provided other good resources to help you with this initial, important step. You can read it here.
Not the shiny ring and promises of eternal love kind, but the kind that involves your active, daily participation in online conversations. Whether you initiate the conversation or participate in other conversations, directed to you specifically or not…engagement is crucial to your social media success. Use monitoring and search tools to seek out appropriate conversations. Engagement can be as varied as a comment on a blog, a retweet on Twitter (ideally with a comment added in) or Like or comment on Facebook! Engagement takes on many forms but involves your seeking out relative content to comment on, answer, amplify, etc.
In the end, you can always defer to a social media marketing audit which will provide professional evaluation and strategic direction to enhance and evolve your social media efforts.