hamish | September 21, 2012
Social Media has become almost a necessity to any business, either large or small. For example firms as large as Coca Cola have a social media campaign, but then so does most SME’s. However one trend that can be common across all business sizes, especially small, is the tendency to rush straight into it!
I write this blog after visiting Ad:Tech, a digital marketing convention, and in particular David Taylor’s seminar named ‘Has Social Media Put Telemarketers Out of Business’. David has devised a strategy that shows that firms mustn’t simply rush in and think that just tweeting or Facebooking without a decent plan is enough.
This strategy has 4 key components; Plan, Listen, Analyse and then Engage, however most businesses rush ahead of themselves and Engage. You wouldn’t start a marketing campaign, or a PR campaign without a plan, so why is social media any different? You should set clear objectives and targets otherwise you can get easily lost. Why are you starting a social media campaign? Is it to gain new leads, or simply to improve your customer service? This needs to be established otherwise your social media campaign is likely to have little impact.
Because social media offers the huge benefit of actually engaging customers and the public and being able to easily interact in a two way conversation, a business must also listen! You must research into what is being said, and by whom. Social media isn’t about one-way selling but actually connecting with people. To be able to effectively do this, you need to know what topics are regularly being talked about, establish who the key influencers are and listen to what the target’s needs are.
Businesses must also analyse their strategy. Is the content going to be relevant to your audience? Who are going to be interested in what you have to say?
Then you can enter the exciting stage, actually engaging with others. These are the day to day conversations you have with your customers. You need to seem sincere as people will be put off by tweets or comments that have no personality. For businesses that may have a number of social media platforms, you should consider using a platform such as Hootsuite or Tweetdeck to make your life a little easier. However one tip I would give is not to be too ambitious and expect all your social media channels to be brilliant. This is how social media can become very time consuming and very expensive. It is better, especially for smaller less tech-savvy companies, to have one very good channel rather than many average platforms.
So social media can offer businesses huge potential, but as long as they remember their strategies need to be planned and well thought out. Businesses always need to remember that social media was originally planned to be a commerce-free zone, and marketers should never use this as a medium for spam!
If you are in need of a social media campaign, submit a brief now!
Photo courtesy of Free Digital Photos.