There are a vast amount–arguably a surplus –of social media platforms available for use by anyone with internet access. These social platforms are drawing well over a billion users, and counting, into active participation. This explosion of individual engagement is changing the way businesses interact with their customers, on both a personal and organizational level.
Social-media literacy is fast becoming a source of competitive advantage for organizations large and small. On the dawn of the web 2.0 revolution, I write this post with the aim of providing a small guiding light to aid in your navigation through the growing, and sometimes daunting, socialsphere.
Gaining trust through social media outlets:
Site visitors, potential customers, will not purchase items from you or provide contact information if they don’t trust you. A successful physical storefront should be clean, tidy, and in a safe part of town. Your social media channels must follow these same practices in order to attract customers and make your site/store/etc. appear legitimate and trustworthy. One way to do this is by gaining social credibility. The term for this phenomenon is “social proof”, and it applies on and off the web; people naturally look to other people as a guide for their own behavior. A key to success with social media is understanding and being able to predict basic societal and individual behaviors–this will take you far.
Social proof typically increases exponentially, so once you find a successful strategy it will become a self-perpetuating force of good for your company. There are a few techniques for obtaining social proof:
-Gain a large base of supporters (Facebook ‘likes’, Twitter ‘followers’, etc).
-PR and Newspaper Mentions
-Gain status as an ‘expert’— add to your legitimacy by publishing something, speaking at a conference, etc.
-Celebrity Endorsements — never underestimate the power of a celebrity
-Leverage well known clients
How to use Twitter and Facebook:
As with any social media outlet, using Facebook correctly will extend your company’s access and reach, as well as keep it current. Unlike Twitter, Facebook pages should be exceedingly deliberate. You can use Facebook’s built-in demographic tool to gain information on your target market and construct your content around this.
Twitter should be viewed as the ultimate engagement tool. It allows you to hear and respond to praises and complaints: both equally important capabilities. Social media has created an ocean of information that is often hard to navigate. Of all SM platforms, this is most apparent on Twitter where it can be hard to filter information (this is where tools come in handy).
A few quick social media tips:
-Create compelling and original content
-Manage communication overflow by not just filtering, but fully understanding the interplay of traditional and social media, and develop an understanding of channels and the way that people consume information.
-Find a balance between encouraging free exchange and mitigating irresponsible use.
-Be open to change and continuous learning – this is a prerequisite to staying ahead of the curve.
What Not to Do:
-Fail to know your market —This can backfire.
-Fail to be honest — People will find out-and quickly!
-Attempt to be something you are not
With the nature of virality, consumers now have more power than ever before. Keep this in mind as you send out content.
What social media tips and tricks have you found most helpful?