As a B2B marketing and social media professional, the three questions I currently get asked the most are: “How do I get more followers on Facebook?”, “ Why do I need Twitter?”, and “How can I keep up with social media?”.
To the question “How do I get more followers on Facebook?”, my immediate answer is to take a step back and ask what the objective is. Having 5,000 FB fans and 3,000 Twitter followers is not a meaningful goal in itself. Once you have this number of followers, what are you going to do with them? This question should be answered at the get go.
Don’t fall into the trap that you have to be on social media at any price. Whenever resources have to be allocated, opportunity costs have to be considered.
Last year at a Blogwell conference, social media success was mainly measured as a number of click-throughs on URLs that were distributed via social media and as opportunity cost for impressions normally gathered via other channels. This year, listening and tracking tools for social media have made a huge leap and correlations are much easier established…but there’s still way to go (more in future blogs).
To answer the question “Why do I need Twitter?”, I say: “Maybe you don’t”. Twitter can be a very good tool to drive traffic to a blog and other places with ample content. It’s a good brand builder if you can be seen as a relevant news source by your followers (which means excellent curating). It’s good in high tech where many people are online 24/7. It’s maybe not so good if you target an audience that works in the public sector or in a bank where you might not have continuous (or sanctioned) access to the Internet.
If you decide Twitter is right for you, you have to invest time and patience to build the right Twitter following so that your Tweets will fall on “open ears”. If you don’t have the resources to build the following, monitor and feed the account, maybe it is not the right thing for you to do.
Third, “how do you keep up with social media”? Don’t let social media drive you crazy. It is a set of new tools that can be very useful for marketing in the right circumstances, and more and more Americans and people around the world are joining in every day. BUT, don’t get on the bandwagon just to be there because you think you need to (it might even harm you if you don’t take it seriously).
Breathe, start small by looking at your organizational and business objectives and spend some time researching, defining tactics, metrics and available resources. Set milestones, measure, keep making changes, measure again…
And ideally, have some fun with it. Nobody has fully figured out how to make the most out of social media for marketing, not even all those self-declared gurus!