Enhancing your business online – Step Three, Social

Everyone is talking social media and engaging your customers, creating relationships, and developing brand advocates. What does it really mean? Why is it significant? How do you direct it?

An integrated marketing strategy will include social media, but always remember is in just one part of the larger picture. Social networks are a good way of engaging customers but it may not be necessary for your business.

Create a strategy – Is social media the right fit for your business.  Customers are more inclined to learn through the experiences of other customers in a forum they like. You need to stand out in forums like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter to draw more customers to talk about you and your products and services. What forum works best for you?  A few social networking forums to consider include: Facebook, Google+, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Tumblr, Linkedin, Blogs and websites.

Schedule and Time of Posting – Create a schedule and stick to it.  Regular posting is critical.  Understand what time of day will capture the most engagement. A recent study presented that brands that were posted after “normal” business hours experienced an increase of 20% engagement. You must give your social campaign time, you are building a relationship.

Listen and respond, not just update and promote – Social media is all about making connections and people are drawn to you if you actually listen to what they are saying. Engage your audience, ask questions, share humor, and provide motivation. Encourage comments and discussion. Investigate and respond into negative comments. Do not spend all your time just updating or trying to self promote.

Content is still King – Determine your voice and message and stay consistent.  Create a compelling story and you will generate loyalty from customers.  Be concise and direct, a short and powerful punch can drive strong traffic. Your goal is to make your post stand out. Make your posts relevant and meaningful to your customers.

Be Creative – The way you post it will make you stand out. Mixing posts with images and the use of proper words tend to increase the number of engagement. Psychology studies have proven that visual presentations tend to attract more people. Optimize your posts for mobile devices.

Measure and Track – You must measure the results.  For basic information, set up Google Alerts and Google Analytics for your business.  For more detailed information, there is a wide range of programs available. Measure ROI and determine are you on track.

Do not underestimate the amount of resources needed to create a strong and dependable social network of engagement. Social media can work for you, but not without effort.


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