Now I’m not going to go out there and track down all the factual numbers of companies using social media vs. companies that don’t. I can, but I won’t. I will, however, tell you that there is a major correlation of success between the companies that do and don’t. There’s a saying out there, “companies not using social media will cease to exist in five years.” Too many executives refuse to buy into the ‘social media fad’ or don’t believe in a true online presence. Many are learning to accept, but some are still behind the times. It’s not about shifting your entire company’s marketing plan to social networks, but instead creating a social presence to connect with your customers. Being social allows you to listen, learn and change strategies accordingly. Understand this, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Building a solid social presence will not happen overnight. You need patience, confidence in your employees and an innovative thought process to accept the fact that social media can, and will, help your brand. DON’T BE ANTISOCIAL!!
There are a number of reasons your company should be using social media. But first, know that there is a major difference between having a social presence and being social in that presence! Too many companies say “Well, we’re on Facebook, but it’s not working.” YOU HAVE TO MAKE AN EFFORT!!! Create posts or contests that have calls to action and consistently write content that will create conversation! Facebook and Twitter are very different for a brand, when conversing with fans. For example, if you tweet 50 times a day, with only 1-2 being posts and the rest being @ replies, then you are being social. But it’s different on Facebook because you’re not posting 50 times a day. Target or Coca-Cola may post once a day and get 1-3K ‘likes’ and 100-500 comments on any given day, but may only reply once or twice per post in order to keep the conversation going. If you are a smaller company, you may only get a few comments and ‘likes’ in all, but replying to each comment is unnecessary. Answering questions or trying to prolong the conversation is a good time to reply on Facebook. Whether you’re on Twitter, Google +, Facebook, Pinterest, MySpace, LinkedIn or running a blog, the one thing you need is consistency!!
There are numerous social networks out there, but you don’t need to be on all of them. By now you should already know your target audience and the type of social networks they are using. Don’t attempt to be on more networks then you can handle. If you can only handle one or two, pick the site where your customer is most likely to be at. Quality over quantity! One VERY important thing: DON’T CREATE A SOCIAL ACCOUNT IF YOU WILL NOT KEEP IT ACTIVE!!!! If you are not confident that you can keep a social site active for more than two years, don’t create one. If you know your company has an account and it’s not being used, do one of three things:
1. Delete it, plain and simple.
2. If you are creating a different page, leave a note on the current one for your followers that says that you’ve moved and leave a link. Also, leave a message saying the account will be deactivated within a month.
3. Leave a message on the profile saying that you are on hiatus and will be back in action again soon.
Nothing annoys me more than a company who has an inactive social account. In fact, I sometimes refuse to use that product or shop at that store because I consider them lazy for this issue. Yes, I’m hardcore with this, but I’m also very passionate about what I do and it bothers me to see companies failing at the social level.
It’s important to remember that having social accounts helps boast your brand’s online presence and can help/hurt your brand’s reputation as well. If you’re active and social on your networks, then your brand can certainly have a great reputation online. But if you aren’t, or are doing it poorly, your reputation can be taking a hit. When your company is active online, one of the most important things you need to do is build social relationships. Building a community of followers can, and will, establish trust and confidence in your brand, from your followers’ perspective. With this trust and community you have built, you then create brand advocates. Key things to remember when you are building, and nurturing, your community is constant interaction and communication with your followers! Your fans can be your greatest asset or your greatest enemy. So be fun, be social, build these relationships and never underestimate the power of social media!