Blueprint for success

The urge to jump on social channels to market one’s business is often overwhelming. You just want to get on there and get started!

Then the novelty wears off and the grind (for some) starts: Creating content for your various social channels, not to mention interacting with, and responding to, the public – these activities take time.

But more than just time, they require consistency if you’re going to have any sort of impact with your social media activity.

What does this look like?

Well it means showing up regularly, specifically to:

  • publish content that is interesting, useful and relevant to your audience;

  • respond in a timely manner to people who have complaints or queries;

  • spark conversation around topics or issues dear to the heart of your brand;

  • identify and proactively interact with ‘like minds’ and influencers in your space.

If you’re a big organisation with resources, the expectation you’ll do all of the above on a consistent basis is ever-present. If you’re a smaller business, not so much, but if you want to make a positive impact, then yes you need to pay attention to such things.

Let’s look at these elements individually:

Publish content that is interesting, useful and relevant to your audience

  • This is becoming more and more important, and critical in differentiating a brand from its competitors.

  • Make sure your content efforts have purpose – what do you want to achieve? Are you trying to provide utility and be ever-useful, or maybe your goal is to build reputation and demonstrate knowledge leadership?

  • Create your original content with heart and soul – don’t punch it out ‘by the numbers’, your brand deserves more respect than that.

  • Take a multimedia approach: Consider using audio or video in addition to text; remember you can now upload video directly to Facebook and Twitter, giving you extra opportunity to bring alive your brand story.

Respond to people who have complaints or queries in a timely manner

  • Today’s ‘connected consumer’ will in all likelihood never email or phone your business; if you’re on social channels, they prefer to initiate contact that way – indeed, if you’re on Twitter and/or Facebook, there’s an expectation you’ll respond reasonably quickly.

  • if you respond in a respectful manner and provide relevant information that’s useful, awesome! More kudos to you!

Spark conversation around topics or issues dear to the heart of your brand

  • This is where many brands fall down; they simply do not proactively ‘get amongst it’ on social channels, preferring to sit back and push out content.

  • Want to get a jump on your competitor? Why not strategically identify the conversations you should be (seen to be) leading around your area of expertise and use content (blog posts, videos etc) to ignite discussion on social networks accordingly. One tip is to start, or participate on, a relevant regular Twitter hashtag chat (here is a great example of what that looks like).

Identify and proactively interact with ‘like minds’ and influencers in your space

  • Every industry has its obvious influencers, and there’s every chance they’re on one social channel or another; these may be bloggers, podcasters and journalists – people who have a platform and an audience of note – but they might also be individuals who are active on social channels and who others in your space look up to and interact with.

  • The best approach when dealing with influencers is to build genuine relationships with them over time; add value, shine the spotlight on them – it’s not about using them to push your brand, products and services; you need to be more thoughtful than that!

  • Influencers today are not only more visible thanks to social media, but there’s also a lot more of them. Be considered (and considerate) when reaching out to them, and don’t forget to take the long term view!

In summary, rather than tend to your social media channels in campaign-like ‘spurts’, show up regularly and contribute value to the online community you want your brand to be a part of.

Do this consistently and you’ll increase the opportunities and benefits of your social media marketing efforts as a result.