Making the most of social media opportunities calls for an integrated approach that uses all – or as many as possible – of the opportunities presented.
The importance of image
Because all social media comes with ready-made profile templates, it’s tempting to take the easy route and do the minimum. On the one hand, your profile will look OK – the template will usually see to that – but you could be missing an inexpensive promotional opportunity.
Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus all have opportunities for incorporating photographs, illustrations and logos, and using these will help differentiate your business.
At the same time, make sure to use all profile elements to the full: if there’s room for a 2,000-character profile, don’t limit yourself to half a dozen words. And take time to incorporate all of your brand information and company strengths.
Getting your name out there
Social media is a crowded space, so you need to work hard to get yourself known. Among the most important actions are:
- telling your customers, suppliers and other stakeholders, including employees, and suggesting they add/follow you – making sure to reciprocate
- adding links to your social media profiles to your email signatures, website and blog
- looking at other social media users who are in a similar marketplace to yours, and following their followers – chances are they’ll return the compliment
- using sharing tools so that followers can easily pass your content on
- reposting relevant links, to demonstrate your knowledge and enthusiasm for the market
- cross-fertilising your social media activities – eg by linking your blog to your LinkedIn profile
- using promotions and giveaways to build community spirit and encourage new followers
Make it relevant – always
Make sure all of your posts, tweets and blogs are relevant to the audience, so that your followers engage with you and your business. Talk about new ideas and opportunities you have come across, and share interesting applications and tips.
Think about offering white papers and ‘how-to’ guides which users will find helpful, and which they are likely to forward on. Use interesting or difficult customer queries or help-desk questions as a source.
The importance of video and images
Multimedia is increasingly important, both for engaging with customers and for improving search-engine results.
It’s very easy to create your own channel on YouTube on which you can show short videos that you can promote through your other social media outlets. Add a thumbnail to videos to ensure good search engine results.
Yahoo’s Flickr offers a free way to post photographs and other still images, each of which should be tagged with your name and/or the name of your products (and your location, if you’re looking at local marketing).
Do one thing well rather than three things badly
It’s tempting to use as many social media outlets as you can find, but remember that each one takes time to build and maintain. With limited resources, it’s important to prioritise, and it’s far better to find the right social media platform for your business and concentrate resources on that.
You can then build up knowledge and expertise, which will make introducing further social media much easier.