Conquering Social Media
6 Things to Keep in Mind
We all make mistakes. The fact that around 74% of internet users actively use social media means that some of those mistakes will be broadcast for everyone to see. From the unflattering picture of Aunt Margaret to the semi-drunken rant, these mistakes are very personal and can be damaging to your image with your friends and family.
With companies diving into social media as an efficient way to communicate with their customers, they have proven that they are far from exempt from these mistakes. Who remembers when McDonald’s launched a hashtag campaign that drown them in complaints instead of praise? Probably wasn’t the smartest decision for the company, but they learned how willing their customers are to say what’s on their mind.
How do you avoid making these same mistakes? Awareness is key. If you set ground rules for how you use your social media platforms, then you are ahead of the game. I recommend keeping these six items in mind from the beginning:
1. Make sure the right people have access
Social media has the power to define your company — To lift up your brand and create a high level of engagement with your customers near and far. So, why would you outsource it or trust an intern to run the program? Odds are, they are going to make a few damaging choices due to lack of oversight and that may hurt your brand. The best bet is to have someone who understands your company thoroughly and understands it’s voice run your social media engine. If that is not possible, at least establish a review process before posts go out.
2. Establish a brand voice guide
Speaking of voice, I ALWAYS recommend setting up a brand voice guide. This is as simple as information stating how you react to certain situations. For example, a general voicing would be:
Friendly, Playful, Warm, Inspiring
Simple, Fun, Whimsical
Personal, Honest, Humble
Engage, Entertain, Inform
Your audience would encounter this voice no matter who is doing the writing. It gives you the opportunity to have multiple authors be able to reference the voicing document whenever they write and give a consistent experience. This also goes for when engagements with your audience are more difficult and would have a ‘conflict resolution’ voicing.
3. Never EVER buy followers/fans
I think we all know that the goal of being active on social media is to grow your brand. Isn’t it a short logical leap to believe that the more followers/fans that you have, the more legitimate you look? Maybe, but at what cost?
Facebook’s algorithm diminishes your reach the more fans you get. It will get harder to reach those you want to spread your message to. Without paying to promote them, your posts will go unread.
These fake followers/fans will NOT engage with your page. They are digital ‘dead weight’ that aren’t helping you to grow your overall brand awareness. And if Facebook/Twitter catch on to this sudden rise in your numbers, you run the risk of having your account closed. It just isn’t worth the risk.
4. You don’t have to do it all
Just because a social media service exists, doesn’t mean you need to use it. The more platforms you have to interact with, the thinner you spread your resources. If your social media manager is having to manage Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google Plus, YouTube, Snapchat, Periscope, Pinterest, Reddit, LinkedIn, Tumblr, and Meetup channels, they will not have time to be truly effective at any of them. Do the research and pay close attention to what your audience uses. Build a strong voice on those platforms and let the rest of them wait.
I do recommend that you at least register your brand on the platforms that you are not using, so that if it gains popularity, you can shift your focus onto them. Better safe than sorry right?
5. Over promotion
“Use our service, buy our product, use our service, buy our product, use our service, buy our product, user our service, buy our product, use our service, buy our product”
It gets tiring, doesn’t it? If you are constantly using your social media to drive promotions, you end up losing that one element that makes social media unique. The human element. It gives you the opportunity to show your audience that you may have a product/service, but that you are people who care and have interests that go beyond the business. Feature your employees, what grabs your attention, and what inspires you. You will get more engagement and more brand loyalty AND they will use your service or buy your product.
6. Original content is key
The trend in marketing and promotion is towards new and original content. People are drawn to good content when it is written just for them. This can be as simple as good micro content for your social media channels to longer copy that drives home a message. Your audience wants to know you value them enough to produce something that they want to see and you want to be recognized as an authority in your industry. You can’t do this by reposting the work of others. Take the time to generate content that is uniquely yours.
Keep these in mind as you (re)develop your social media plan. Make sure that everyone who interacts with your audience is on the same page, using the same voice, and valuing the reader. These are your past and future customers and love what you do. Happy social mediaing!
Joshua Yuhas, Tinypint