Integrating Social Media
by Simon Gough, Redfront Marketing on 15 May 2012
Depending on who you ask, social media for business is either changing the world or a passing fad. Between these extremes lies an opportunity for a more balanced use of social media that fits with your existing business objectives.
In this blog I will provide you with some simple tips that will help you approach social media in an effective way, so you can use them to develop your business relationships without huge burden.
Why use Social Media?
Here are some good reasons why it may be worth getting involved:
1) You already do business in a personal way and you want to enhance that.
2) You want to explore new avenues for your business
3) You want to be more visible to potential customers
4) You want to increase opportunities for feedback, interaction and two-way dialogue with potential and existing customers.
There are many social media channels available, each with their individual attributes. Facebook is good for building a community around your brand whilst LinkedIn and Twitter are good for online networking and conversations. A blog is a great way to share expertise. In thinking which channel best suits your business, think about where your potential audience likes to spend time.
Adding it in
Whilst social media presents numerous opportunities beyond marketing, marketing is the primary consideration for most businesses. Making simple changes that incorporate social media into the marketing you already undertake is an efficient and effective place to start.
Social media and endless marketing messages don’t really mix so I’m presenting the following tips as a more social way of working.
1. Enhance your business networking
If you do any face-to-face networking then, it may be worth using LinkedIn or Twitter to connect online too. Social media works really well as a complement to offline networking. Think about how the two things connect up to get the most out of both contexts.
2. Joined up thinking
Make sure that links to your Twitter account, LinkedIn profile, Facebook page or blog are easily accessible i.e. within your email footer, your website, on business cards and other printed material. It’s amazing how these small connections can be overlooked. A couple of hours spent making sure things join up can be hugely valuable.
3. Be shareable
If you send email newsletters then make sure people can share the content easily. Can they immediately follow you on Twitter or ‘Like your Facebook Page’ straight from the newsletter? Integrations are getting easier and easier so if your email software can’t do it then it might be worth looking elsewhere.
Make sure content on your website can be shared easily. You can get plugins that make sharing with social platforms a one-click process so make it as easy as possible for people to tell others what they’ve found or alternatively for you to present your article to a specific audience such as your contacts on LinkedIn or Twitter.
4. Be holistic
If you want to move beyond the basics you should consider how to develop integrated campaigns that have social media at their heart. For example, if you’re doing something interesting on Youtube have you told the local press about it? Interesting content can be newsworthy beyond the social networks themselves.
5. Keep track
Almost everything you do online can be measured so make sure you know what links brought people to your website or how many people liked what you do enough to share it. Effective measurement is essential.
Social media offer endless possibilities for creativity, conversation and relationships, but try and start with the right intent and take things one step at a time. Doing one joined-up thing well on social media is so much better than doing a lot of disconnected things badly.
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