Unless you have been living under a rock for the past 10 years, you know that Social Media has revolutionized our everyday lives. Whether directly or indirectly, Social Media shapes the way we communicate and interact with our friends and family. Social Media enables us to get updates on the latest events, stay in touch with friends, find long lost relatives, follow our favorite celebs, get caught up on the latest gossip, and interact with people who share our common interests. Social Media has also become a useful tool for businesses to communicate with their market.
What Are the Benefits of Social Media?
Social Media keeps us connected to one another. It provides a cheaper, and more interactive, alternative to communicating in person or by phone. Faster Internet speeds and mobile device integration allow more people the ability to stay connected than ever before, whether at home or on the go.
Social Media is a public forum. Users can share news and developments that are important to them, and other people can subscribe to those same ideas or belief systems. You no longer have to read the newspaper’s “Letters to the Editor” section to see what your friends and neighbors think about current events. Just log-in to Twitter or Facebook and see minute-by-minute updates.
Social Media continues to evolve and change. The longer that Social Media platforms exist, the more they adapt to the needs of the user. Examples include: customizable profiles, privacy settings, common interest groups, as well as advancements in technology such as Facebook’s purchase of Skype.
Social Media provides variety. With all of the Social Media platforms out there, it is impossible not to find one that works for you. If you’re not a fan of Twitter, you might enjoy critiquing your favorite hangouts on Yelp. If you don’t use Facebook, you might prefer posting and commenting on YouTube.
Social Media provides immediate satisfaction. You no longer have to wait to see the photos of last night’s party or corporate event. Now, they can be easily accessed by searching a few keywords or individual photo galleries. You can feel up-to-date with the ever-evolving social climate without speaking a word to anyone. No wonder people are accused of being Social Media addicts.
What Are the Dangers of Social Media?
Social Media is a public space, open to all willing to abide by the platform’s guidelines and policies. This means all content that is posted should be considered public. If there are details about a subject matter that should not be public, they should never be shared on a public network.
Social Media is by its very nature an informal mode of communication. It was initially meant for individuals to connect as friends. But now, Social Media is also leveraged by businesses to communicate with their target audience. When communicating as a business, it is important to have a strategy, guidelines, and oversight. Strategy helps a company achieve its online marketing goals. Guidelines protect the brand’s reputation by helping prepare each contributor to add valuable and relevant content. Oversight ensures that the message is professional and stays on target. Ultimately, Social Media strategy, guidelines, and oversight help the company grow.
Social Media doesn’t allow for complete control. When you post content on a social network, anyone who views it can comment and draw his or her own conclusions. Before posting content, remember interpretation is in the eye of the beholder. Your audience’s interaction with your post controls the message, not you. If you are concerned that you aren’t being clear, expect that others will be unclear as well. Clarity will prevent more problems down the road.
What are Best Practices for Social Media and Online Communication?
1. Determine your target audience. Try to identify key demographics like gender, age, income, and race. Creating an ideal candidate’s demographic profile allows you to tailor your message. Go further and find out where your target market congregates online. Are they most likely to use LinkedIn or Facebook? Do they Yelp or Twitter? Maybe they use all of these platforms. If they participate in multiple Social Media sites, find out what type of common interest groups they belong to or what type of services they use the most. A little research ensures that you spend your time and energy communicating with the right people on the right platforms.
2. Create a set of rules for posting on your Social Media sites. Putting together a list of rules that encompass your Social Media goals creates a sole governing force for your organization. The rules should address who you are targeting and your overall online marketing goals.
3. Create content. It sounds obvious, but creating content is an integral part of a successful Social Media strategy. Make sure that someone that is established in your company and knows the ins-and-outs is tasked with updating your Social Media pages frequently. This person can post links to your website on Facebook and come up with attention-grabbing Tweets. By consistently updating content, your business becomes more visible and your interaction with clients increases.
4. Find out what platforms work for your type of business. Clothing is not one size fits all, and neither is Social Media. What works for one company may not work for another. So don’t stretch your resources thin. Pick a few Social Media platforms that generate the best interactions with new clients and stick with them.
5. Assign roles to members of your team. Ensure that you update your Social Media platforms consistently by assigning roles to your team members. By giving everyone a specific task, you minimize the chance of simply forgetting to update content and interact with clients. Of course, don’t forget to a have a consistent message. As previously mentioned, having a set of rules will keep everyone on track, regardless of his or her specific role.
6. Make targeted, long-lasting connections. You can’t be successful in your industry without knowing how other successful people made it to where they are today. Connect with influential people in your field on Social Media platforms and see what they are saying and how people respond. Connecting with important people in your industry gives you the opportunity to learn and emulate new best practices.
Not all Social Media strategies are the same. Each one requires custom tailoring depending on the industry and the history of the company. When deciding on beginning or enhancing your Social Media communications, contact Incitrio Branding & Marketing Agency at 858.523.1822 to get an honest review of your current efforts and to get brand-specific strategies proven effective in today’s online jungle. We are an award winning, full-service marketing firm focused on client success in Search Engine Optimization, Graphic Design, Online Marketing, Email Marketing and Web Design.