The proliferation of social media platforms today can make it a pretty daunting task to keep track of what’s going on between all of your different social media accounts. Luckily, it’s easy to consolidate your various social media streams and updates in one convenient location using tools dubbed ‘social media dashboards’.
The rules of engagement
Social media, then, offers a wealth of opportunity for consumer engagement and building brand awareness, but in such an open and dynamic space it is critical to consider carefully what you are doing. Social media is consumer driven, and the very characteristics that make it such an enticing proposition for marketers – the interconnected nature of online consumers, and the staggering speed at which information traverses the network – can just as easily backfire.
The ‘rules’ of social media are really about applying a bit of common sense to what are essentially human relationships. The key thing to remember is that this is social media – people are going online to interact and exchange information and content with similar, like-minded people. They are unlikely to be interested in your latest sales pitch, and they are certainly not interested in promotional hype. They want interesting, fun, informative, quirky, addictive… whatever turns them on.
Draw on what you already know
you already have a wealth of knowledge about your customers – who they are, what they like to do, where they hang-out online. Okay, so one of the main reasons you’re getting involved in social media is to get to know them a little better – but the point is that you’re not going into this blind. Use that knowledge: apply what you already know about your customers, your business and your brand to your social media strategy. As you learn more, refine what you’re doing accordingly.
Look, listen and learn
Before you engage in social media marketing, spend some time ‘lurking’ (hanging around without contributing). Familiarize yourself with the different types of social media sites that you plan to target. Go and use the sites, read the blogs… immerse yourself in the media. Look, listen and learn. Just like in real life, every online community is different. Familiarize yourself with the various nuances before you dive in. Adding social media to your own site
It is like a next-generation business suggestion box and focus group rolled into one. The ideas that get the most votes from the IdeaStorm community rise to the top of the heap, much the same as items on social media submission sites such as Digg. The top ideas are then evaluated by the company and selected to go into production.
There are literally hundreds of ways to use social media to harness the collective intelligence, experience and latent talent of your customers and the broader online community. Imagination, openness and a willingness to engage with and learn from others is all that it takes.