Social Media Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I get involved in social media?
One thing you need to understand is that social media is here and it’s not going away. So people may be tweeting about your company, products and services right now, you’re just not aware of it. There are two key reasons to get involved in social media:
- To monitor what’s going on out there so that you get a better understanding of issues and trends and are able to react quickly to any positive or negative activity you come across that affects your business.
- To increase your advertising reach and improve your brand awareness and visibility.
BUT before you get involved in any social media activity it’s vital that you have a strategy and plan in place to guide your efforts. This will not only save you time and money but make it easier to track and measure the effectiveness of your social media efforts.
How do I get started?
Like any marketing venture you need to start out with a good understanding of what you hope to achieve through social media. Below are some examples:
- Do you want to increase sales?
- Do you want to improve lead generation efforts?
- Do you want to improve brand awareness and visibility of your business?
- Do you want to collect customer feedback?
- Do you want to take a Thought Leadership stance?
- Do you want to set up a group or portal where customers and prospects can link up?
Then you need to sit down and think about who it is you want to engage with e.g. is it current customers, potential customers, industry sources. If you’re not sure, you can monitor activity for a while and build up a picture of the social media environment. The next step is to understand how much time you can devote to social media. Will you be doing it yourself? Do you have a team member who can get involved? Can you outsource some or all of this? Determining the outcome of these questions will help decide which social media platforms you should get involved in. Remember, think about your goals , start small and expand your activity as you become more comfortable in this environment. Don’t act like a social media butterfly and swoop off to the newest, shiniest social media offering or platform.
How do I measure and monitor my social media activity and investment?
Measuring the ROI of social media can be difficult but not impossible. However, you need to start out with a plan and a view of what success will look like prior to implementing your social media activities. Then at least you will be able to make a comparison between expectations and achievement. There are an ever increasing number of packages becoming available that let you track how your prospects and customers are engaging with your social media content and I’ve mentioned just a few below. The key point to understand is don’t just measure for measurements sake. Determine the purpose of your content up front and use the appropriate platforms/packages to measure the interaction relevant to your goals and objectives. Remember that your visitors will be at differing stages within the buying cycle and you will need to consider different metrics for each of those stages. Social Mention, provides real time social media search results for key words or phrases important to you. Alternatively you could use Hootsuite which lets you monitor multiple social network pages from one platform. Additional information can be found from sharing and bookmarking widgets such as “sharethis” or “Addthis” that you may have on your web or blog pages.
Can I just jump right in and get involved?
There are several schools of thought with differing opinions on this subject. My view is that it’s easy to get hooked into collecting likes and pluses and followers without having a clear view of what this means for your business or how you can channel these activities into something more tangible e.g. revenue (SM purists take note). I’m a big fan of the capabilities of social media and the reach and engagement opportunities it offers. Reaching out to your audience wherever they are active will help to create a stronger brand presence in the market and allow you to listen to your customers (and competitors) but social media needs to be seen as part of the total plan and should be used as an integral part of your marketing strategy. To view social media as a stand-alone entity and to go through the process of ticking boxes without having an upfront plan dilutes its potential and reduces the impact it can have on your business.
How much of my time will it take up?
Social media is about interaction and the more time and effort you invest into that endeavour, the more you are likely to gain. It’s not a broadcast medium where you can just launch a one way dialogue and expect positive results. At the end of the day the question you should always be asking yourself is “does this make sense for my business?” However it might not always be an increase in revenue that you’re looking for. Social media or social business activity can impact more than just sales or marketing effort. Social media can play a positive role in customer service, Human Resources and even due diligence. If you have the time and resources to get heavily involved in social media, for social media sake then that’s great. Build your twitter followers, your Facebook likes and increase your circles but if you run a business and you take your eye off your real aim, growing that business, your business will suffer. Oh and by the way, this is where having relevant and compelling content spread across the web helps attract searchers towards your offering.
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