It’s the Twitter hashtag on the television program you are watching; it’s the Facebook reminder that it is your best friend’s birthday today; it’s the way most people get their news now.
So, how do you become a social media pro? What will make you better than the competition and how do you get your brand out there faster and more efficiently than the competition?
With the help of a few experts, I have put together a list of 20 things to start doing to improve engagement of your brand on social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook.
1. Be Transparent
Openness can go a long way in social media. It may be awkward to share a secret about your company or give others a glimpse inside something that is still a work-in-progress, but by doing this, your community will feel involved in your company and appreciate the trust you put in them. Here some ways to be transparent:
- Take your costumers behind the scenes.
- Turn your CEO loose on Twitter.
- Read, act on and respond to reviews. Think of your critics as volunteer “mystery shoppers” offering valuable insights.
- Actively solicit feedback.
- Introduce your team. Let your costumers meet and chat with your employees online.
2. Build Trust
In being transparent, you will build trust within your social media community. Trust is critical in online discussions. The 2012 CEO Social Media and Leadership Survey released that 82% of respondents were more likely to trust a company with a CEO and staff engaged in social media. So, how do you build trust by using social media?
- Start with employees. Have an internal blog (like this) where you can share key thoughts and ideas.
- Communicate with your community through your blog.
- Show empathy and interest in your community. The more your do that, the more likely they will respond and appreciate you.
- Be a helpful resource when you get questions from your community. This establishes credibility, which can deepen trust and relationships.
3. Create Awareness
Even if you don’t have a public relations team or a big budget marketing plan, you can still create strong brand awareness. Social media platforms offer the potential to increase your public profile. A key benefit of creating awareness via social media is its measurability. Here are some key awareness metrics: (look below and also see infographic above)
- Potential Reach: the numbers of fans, followers or “eyeballs.”
- Mentions Per Time Period: how many times your brand is talked about online during a given time period. This can give you a sense of overall awareness and chatter.
- Inbound Links: a solid indicator of the people that are aware of you and are telling others about you.
- Share of Voice: how much you’re mentioned or covered in comparison to the competition.
- Share of Conversation: how often you are mentioned in the context of the conversations that are most relevant to you.
4. Be Mindful of Oversharing
While it’s important to stay in the loop and maintain social relationships, posting too often, whether it’s photos, status updates or frequent tweets, can turn off your audience.
5. Tell a Story
Who are you? Are you the Underdog? The Hometown Hero? The Unsung Hero? The Comeback Kid? Whoever you are or whatever you do, the power of a good story cannot be denied. Gavin Heaton posted a presentation about storytelling for social media, where he said, “It’s about creating the coincidences that lead to an emotional connection. Something that you can share with the players in your personal playground.”
6. Reach Out to Influencers
Influencers have long been part of marketing, and they need to be part of your outreach process. An influencer is not just someone with a large Twitter following, but someone who can influence someone to take an action. In social media, those actions can be to click on a link, share a post or sign-up for an email campaign. Once you have identified the influencers, start reading and sharing their social media content from your social media accounts and those of your company. This way when you reach out to them and introduce yourself, you are very familiar with what interests them.
7. Respond to Positive Feedback
Positive feedback offers your brand a chance to turn casual fans and admirers into full-blown fanatics. These super fans will not just share your latest blog post or video, they will tout your name all over town, online and off. Here’s how to respond to positive feedback:
- Thank them.
- Return the favor.
- Add them as a guest contributor.
8. Respond to Negative Feedback
In the social media world, negative commentary is inevitable. Although you should not take it personally, you should take it to heart and try to understand where the complaint is coming from. Here’s how to respond to negative feedback:
- Respond quickly. Social media users have come to expect a rapid response.
- Don’t delete. Your customers may take that as a sign that you don’t care.
- Don’t feed the trolls. Stay focused on the constructive criticism. As John Hall, CEO of Digital Talent Agents, states in a Washington Post article, “This is a great chance to support your position and gain respect by communicating it respectfully. You never want to leave negative feedback out there that makes a good point.”
9. Have a Clear Focus
Focus your engagement on the social media channels and conversations that make sense for your brand and your community. For example, look for conversations that include:
- Someone searching for a recommendation.
- Phrases that imply your product or service has room for improvement to find why people aren’t tuning in or buying. If everyone is hung up on the same thing, you will immediately know what to fix.
- Preference of your brand or brand loyalty. These conversations are likely spearheaded by your advocates or “super fans.”
10. Show Your Personality
Stiff and corporate is boring. You want to have a conversation, not push your agenda. Your unique presence will separate you from your competitors. Respond with enthusiasm, empathy, creativity and warmth.
Stay tuned to tomorrow’s blog for Part 2 of 20 Things You Should Start Doing on Facebook and Twitter.
Marketing and Strategic Partnerships Coordinator
Information from: QuickSprout and SalesForce Marketing Cloud