Online consumers are constantly asked to follow businesses on Twitter and like them on Facebook. While social media is an important part of the inbound marketing puzzle, simply amassing high numbers of followers and “likes” is not enough. You should approach social media with the same guiding principles you employ for your overall inbound marketing strategy. Who you get to “like” and follow you matters. You need to determine exactly who your company is trying to reach through social media, and then apply targeted online marketing to provide engaging, information-rich content and meaningful dialogue. Social media is a vast arena. You cannot appeal to everyone, and universal appeal should not be your goal. Instead, use targeted online marketing to focus on your niche. A social media focus will bring you higher-value followers and likes and generate more leads, which are more likely to convert. Here are eight best practices for creating and maintaining an engaging social presence.
1. Create a Social Media Style Guide
You likely already have a content style guide that delineates guidelines for brand presentation, aesthetics, writing tone and style, etc. Your content style guide will require a significant update to account for social media. The update should define the brand persona, characteristics, voice and essence.
2. Develop an Editorial Program
Create an editorial program to address the various needs of the social media user, including entertainment, sales, service and engagement. Write content that is significant, engaging, contextually relevant and highly shareable. Go beyond the basic. Take full advantage of polls and surveys and make use of excellent curated content. Invest in the promotion of your content.
3. Design an Effective Channel Strategy
Continually evaluate your social media channels. Determine which channels are the best platform for your brand and notable personalities to get followed and liked. You want to provide the best stage and let them shine. Monthly, you should analyze the value you are getting from each social media channel and its overall health. If your company is not thriving on some channels, it may be best to focus more energy on other, more valuable channels or simply close the poor-performing accounts altogether.
4. Craft a Mission and Purpose
Know the audience you are trying to reach and craft a custom-tailored mission and purpose for each account.
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5. Create a Life Support System
Develop an organized framework that supports each social presence uniquely. Ensure that each account establishes a rhythm that meets the needs of its audience—not too much and not too little. It is delicate balance.
6. Employ Language and Timing Techniques
Timing is everything, and it is best to be concise. The timing and language of tweets and Facebook updates determine overall social reach and engagement. Perform experiments and optimize language and timing to make every update count.
7. Apply Active Listening
The best listeners make the best conversationalists. Build a listening framework that monitors all your social networks as well as the various conversations related to each account.
8. Design Engagement and Performance Metrics
It is extremely important to monitor and assess the performance of all your social network accounts. Monitor the performance of each account so that you can increase engagement and improve editorial strategy accordingly.
These best practices will help your company avoid being “unliked” and “unfollowed.” Focusing on social channels and investing in their value will improve the client experience and encourage greater engagement. When you increase meaningful dialogue, brand reach is amplified dramatically through the social effect. Your clients will not only be encouraged to like your brand, they may even end up loving it. For more social media advice and strategy, contact Innovative Marketing Resources.