Social media can be very powerful if executed properly. As I discussed in my previous blog on social authority, social has an impact on brand perception. But it isn’t just a positive one – if done carelessly or ineffectively it could have a negative impact as well.
Media today is consumed with “like us” and follow us on Twitter messages. The problem is, many of these brands don’t successfully carry out social campaigns, leaving their customers with a sour taste. Before you dive in to make your brand social, ask yourself a few of these questions:
1. What is your goal with social?
It seems like a lot of companies go into social these days without a clear strategy. As a small business it’s important to allocate your resources effectively, so putting together a clear strategy and set of goals is essential. Unless your company just sells a product and is only looking for sales, as a small business awareness and relationships are top priorities.
2. Are you B2B or B2C?
Business to business clients tend to move into the social market unnecessarily. It’s important to gauge your audience and understand where they do their research. If you’re a business to business site, then chances are you’re better off allocating your time and resources to forums and industry blogs rather than social. For consumer products, social is much more important given that consumers are more likely researching on social platforms.
3. What is your brand/products social nature?
Is your product something people tend to talk about? Do you receive high volumes of reviews and feedback? Have you noticed your brand or similar products being mentioned on social media? Do people have a relationship with your brand? It’s important to understand how your users talk about your brand and where they prefer to interact with you. If your customers don’t use social media, that’s a sure sign that going social is not a good strategy for your brand. Don’t try to change their habits. Do some research and find out if your customers are looking for you on different social platforms before you delve into an extensive campaign.
4. Can you commit long-term?
Another element to a successful social campaign is time. Someone in your company (or an outsource) must have the available time to commit to postings, interaction, responses, and monitoring. A big part of being social is being in the moment, not following up the next day, or in a week, or any amount of time after the fact. Being in the moment to capture sentiment, engagement, and buzz is pertinent to a productive campaign. For example, check out Oreo’s real-time Twitter update when the lights went out at the SuperBowl.
5. Do you have the resources and technical ability to execute?
Represent your brand via social in the same manner you would any other media. Quality should not be passed by when developing social campaigns. This means using appealing visuals, interactive design, and whatever other relevant tools and applications are appropriate to your brand/product. If you don’t have the technical ability to make this happen, or aren’t willing to outsource, then going social is not a good strategy for you.
6. Are your customers loyal?
Social campaigns tend to be the most successful and rewarding for brands that have a strong, loyal customer base. One of the main benefits of social is user-generated content. So if your customers are already loyal, engaged, and interactive with your on other platforms, then social is the next natural step in your brands evolution.
7. Can you offer a promotion or incentive?
Whether you offer a monetary promotion or some other benefit to your customers, it’s essential to your success that you provide value through your social media. If you aren’t providing value, there will be less lasting benefits of the campaign. So create a contest, offer a discount, or provide value in another way to your customers.
Ask yourself these questions before getting involved with social media. If you don’t believe me, try looking at some of your small or local brands on Facebook… impressed?