Businesses (aka your customers) are becoming increasingly involved in social media. On average, businesses using social media spend nearly 2.5 hours a day on the varying platforms. And, studies show that more than 90 percent of businesses have some sort of social media presence, even if it’s not a well-managed one. Further tipping the scales in favor of social is this: Today, 76 percent of marketers surveyed by Social Media Examiner said social media is actually helping their companies close deals.
If you and your company are not “being social,” chances are your competitors are, and they're loving every minute you opt not to play. Social media is a growing part of any successful, integrated marketing and sales strategy, and it should be (or should become ASAP) a high priority in your professional world. If you’re not sure where to start, ask someone on your staff who is part of Gen X or Gen Y. You might have a resident expert in your midst already!
As for what to do, in a previous social media-focused blog I offered six tactical tips for getting started in social media. In this follow-up message, I want to share three best practices for optimizing your likes, comments, follows, retweets, views, and shares.
Develop a social media culture at your company
One of the key prerequisites for social media success is authenticity. Your audience needs to believe that your message aligns with who you really are. One of the biggest social media pitfalls is sending your target audience mixed messages. This happens when a company’s “official message,” often conveyed through the CEO's or business owner’s blogs, tweets, and other social media, differs from the messages from salespeople, management, and technicians.
To do social media right, there needs to be a commitment throughout the company to create and promote a consistent message. Everyone within the organization should be aware of the results, too. What’s working? What isn’t? Who should we follow? Where should we engage?
Listen and learn
An effective salesperson takes time to listen and learn about a customer’s business challenges before proposing a solution. The same is true for social. Spend more time listening and learning what makes people tick and what successful social businesses are talking about.
Your messages should address topics customers and partners care about. Don't just promote your company again and again. The rule of thumb is 80/20. Use only 20 percent of your social activity to promote your brand and the remaining 80 percent to focus on topics and trends that really interest your audience and engage them in a conversation.
Social media is a great place to see in real time what’s top of mind. It’s also a great “in” to learn more about your prospects, customers, and partners. If nothing else, take the time to look around and see what you’re missing.
Avoid social media infamy
Use social media to communicate, advocate, and advance the industry. Every once in a while, a good rant goes a long way, but what you post matters and people will see it forever. So, why not use it to communicate the better and not the worse.
Social media is a great equalizer and gives voices to companies and individuals who might not have the spend to be seen and heard elsewhere. Stay positive, relevant, and real. Your associates, customers, partners, and prospects will take notice. And so could the press.