As Anne Chaconas, marketing manager, Social and Content Strategy at SolarWinds MSP, explained in the opening salvo of her presentation on social media, before you do anything with social media, you need to get some ground rules sorted first.
“Let’s take a step back and briefly discuss what social media is… and isn’t,” she said. “At its core, social media is about three things: connections, conversations, and cooperation. It’s not a place to push the hard sell. It’s a place to connect with your fans, prospects, and customers. It’s not a place to discuss product endlessly. It’s a place to share relevant content that highlights your expertise AND is useful to your audience. It’s not a place you check on only when you remember to do so. It’s a place that MUST become a part of your everyday marketing strategy.”
Social Media 101
To really do social media right—and stand out in a sea of business profiles—you MUST understand and adhere to these principles. If you don’t, you’ll just be one more forgotten tweet.
Anne also highlighted a few other important questions to ask yourself before leaping onto social media:
Once you’ve acknowledged these issues, it’s time to look at which network works for you. “Not all social networks are created equal,” said Anne. “Everyone thinks they should be on every social network. This is simply not true. Not only would that take an inordinate amount of time to manage, it is also not necessary.”
To ensure you’re in the right places, you need to take the following things into consideration:
Anne then went on to look at the most popular social networks and how they are best used and why.
Once you’ve chosen your networks, you need to look at establishing your social voice. “How you say things on social media is just as important (if not more so) as what you say,” said Anne. “Your social profiles are likely the first contact a prospect will have with your business. If people think you come up lacking, it tarnishes their opinion of you—sometimes to the point where they may not be interested in doing business.”
So, how do you make that first impression a memorable one? “You carefully determine and cultivate a social voice,” said Anne. “This is not as hard as it sounds. Just think about your company culture (Is it informal? Formal? Informational? Entrepreneurial? How would your employees describe it?) and then your corporate values (What do you focus on as a company? Customer obsession? Fun? Delivering value? Being adventurous?). And finally, think about how you speak to your customers (What’s your tone in emails? White papers? Fact sheets?). Combine those three, and you’ll have your social voice.”
Having got this far, Anne turned her focus to the types of content you should be looking at posting. “Blog posts, interesting articles, useful videos, customer testimonials. The list is endless—anything that you think would be useful to your customers or would pique a prospect’s interest is fair game,” she explained. “Start simple, and don’t overthink it—as your social presence grows, you can create campaigns just for social. For now, focus on sharing what’s already available.”
In terms of when and how to post, Anne made the following points:
Anne then went onto share examples of how we plan our social media. “I know that we all love automation—and the good news is, social CAN be automated,” she added. “But there are a few caveats. Automation is awesome because it lets you post without having to manually log in and do it. However, don’t simply set it and forget it. You still need to check in on a daily basis to respond to questions and handle inquiries, at a minimum.”
Anne then offered a warning. “The fun part of social media is figuring out what to post, when to post, and how to post it,” she said. “The not so fun—but seriously important—part is being available for all the responses, questions, and comments you will get. They can be extremely time-consuming, BUT they are the actual reason you’re on social, and the most important part of your social strategy. So be ready for them.”
Don’t let follower outreach languish for days. People expect quick, timely responses—specially on social, given its fast pace. Make it a part of your—or your social media manager’s—daily routine. Check all social networks for any customer outreach. An easy way to stay on top of it? NOTIFICATIONS! All social networks can be set up for push notifications on your SMM’s phone AND you can set up all automation platforms to notify you when you’ve been contacted by a follower.
She concluded by saying you will be memorable on social if you act like a person. She highlighted the following things to remember:
Now you’re ready to be social.
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