Social Networking: Finding Your Voice
Social networking is often referred to as the largest cocktail party you’ll ever attend, where first impressions are paramount, time is of the essence, and there is a constant need to be well-received by your peers.
Taking on social media as part of your business strategy can be a daunting task, and once you’ve mastered the basics, you’re left to ponder what once seemed simple: Finding something interesting to say.
The three steps below will help you to form and to execute a social marketing strategy that is unique to your business, fosters relationships with clients and followers, and helps your unique voice stand out among the rest.
1. Define Your Goals
You’ve seen them—the ominous links with no accompanying text (usually spam); the incessant sales pitches; and my personal favorite: grammar-free status updates (“hve u seen our new prduct? Chk it out!”). What are these businesses trying to achieve? The myriad of social websites, status updates and photo-sharing sites can cause many companies to forget what message they’re attempting to send to their followers.
2. Don’t Add to the Clutter!
Before Tweeting, Facebooking or blogging, plan a meeting with your marketing team to define your goals. Maybe you want to educate your clients, establish yourself as an industry leader or build brand awareness. Perhaps you want to drive leads to your website or invite people to visit your retail location. Maybe you want to expand your customer service department by giving customers a forum to voice comments, concerns and praise.
It’s best to start by choosing one or two main goals on which to focus your energy. Once you’ve met your first set of goals, it’ll be easier to expand your strategy.
3. Rediscover Your Brand
Once you’ve defined your goals, you’re tasked with executing your social strategy while staying true to your company’s personality and brand identity.
While a traditional marketing campaign gives your brand a chance to represent itself in print ads and brochures, social media creates a space where your brand must be represented and maintained every day, across multiple platforms, in real time.
Social media allows your company to bring life into your brand, and it allows the public to connect to your office on a more personal level: What does your day-to-day look like, and how will you represent this to the public on a consistent basis? Should your status updates be funny and witty, or polite and to the point? If someone walked into your office for a meeting, who would they find, and would this company be the same company they got to know online?
While all of this may be challenging at times, there is an opportunity to create connections with a larger audience—comprised of both returning customers and new leads—that can ultimately lead to increased sales. Remember: Your computer is a robot; your business is not.