Mar. 17, 2014

Your Social Media Strategy: Understanding the Big 4

These days it’s hard to remember a world without social media.

In just 10 short years, sites such as Facebook and Twitter have exploded in popularity from the dorm rooms and board rooms in which they were invented. For most companies, whether they be large, small or the middle guy, it’s undeniable that having a social presence is essential. For perspective:

·      80% of users prefer to connect with brands on Facebook

·      Having a social media presence is said to be important by 90% of global business executives

·      Social media has a 100% higher lead-to-close rate than outbound marketing 

However, despite the opportunities these social sites provide, many companies are at a loss as to how to utilize them effectively and to their advantage.

·      Only 12% of the 79% of companies  who use social media feel that they are using it effectively

·      49% of marketers rank social media to be the most difficult thing to execute (followed by content marketing)

·      Only 38% of B2B marketers have a defined social media strategy

To help you understand how you can use social sites to your advantage, we’ve provided you with a few facts and tips to help guide your company in the direction of establishing a successful and useful social presence. Do’s and don’ts are provided for the four most popular social networks: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn.  

facebookFacebook: The Humanizer

The central function of this site is to bring people together, regardless of time or location. It is entirely structured around fostering relationships and keeping people in contact with one another. From a marketing standpoint, it’s a great way for businesses to nurture relationships with clients and interact with them on a one-to-one level. 

Facebook Tips:

·      Use photos

o   Posts featuring pictures get 104% more comments and 53% more likes, and they account for 93% of the most engaging posts on Facebook.

·      Keep it short & sweet

o   Unlike with other longer-form content, posts on Facebook should be short and succinct. Much in the way a headline for an advertisement or article catches your attention, these posts shouldn’t be much longer than a tweet (140 characters).

·      If you ask a question, you up your odds for getting comments

o   The core purpose of Facebook is to nurture relationships; therefore it’s essential that you generate conversation with and amongst your audience. Asking a question is a great way to probe the minds of your ‘friends’ and demonstrate that you’re interested in knowing what they have to say.

how to hashtagTwitter: The Buzz Generator

This social platform is perhaps the best way to build reach. It’s the most fast-paced of its major competitors in that it remains within a user’s feed visibility for only a few hours at most. Content is generated so quickly on the site that being timely is of essence.  

Twitter Tips:

·      Use hashtags, but appropriately

o  Hashtags are the means by which site users can find posts with subject matter they’re interested in. Turn a keyword or two in your post into a hashtag so that the correct audience can find your post in their site searches. The most popular hashtags become trending topics.

o   Example: “Understanding #SEO in 2014 : Content, Social Channels, Mobile, + More | “

·      Retweet and Favorite    

o   Retweeting and favoriting tweets is a great way to interact with and support your followers. Sharing their content will demonstrate to them that they are of interest and importance to you.

·      Reply

o   Replying to your followers direct mentions of you is absolutely essential to maintaining a relationship with them. Not only is it important that you avoid being percieved as rude by ignoring them, but it also provides an opportunity for you to gain consumer insight. 

Google+: The Search Optimizer

Besides being the second largest social media platform, Google+ is also essential to use to improve your SEO. It allows you to filter your connections into different “circles”, or categories, and create content tailored specifically to them. This platform allows you to link to your other Google accounts, including YouTube and Google Local. 

Google+ Tips:

·      Incorporate links throughout your page

o   Linking to other web pages on Google+ improves your chances of coming up in Google search results. Each link improves your chances of being found by someone who could turn into a potential lead – the more you have the better.

·      Complete your page … thoroughly

o   Don’t skip out on the little details of subheads and linking to your other Google accounts – every filled out section improves your chances of being picked up by Google’s crawlers. Be sure to incorporate keywords into all of these copy fields.

·      Don’t ignore negative comments

o   One of the beauties, and the downfalls, of social media is that it allows consumers to voice their opinions – both good and bad. Not responding to negative feedback only gives more power behind the comment. Instead, look at the criticism as a growing experience for your company, and respond in a polite and professional manner. 

LinkedIn: The Professional

LinkedIn functions in a similar manner to Facebook in that users connect to one another and post content to a home feed. The underlying purpose of the site, however, is much different. LinkedIn is used to build a professional network: users construct a profile that serves as a digital resume of sorts and connect to other users who have aligning interests.  

LinkedIn Tips:

·      Avoid oversharing

o   Unlike with Facebook and Twitter, it’s better to limit your LinkedIn posts to once a day. Site members have a narrowed focus of growing their career and are less likely to spend as much time on it as they would with other social networks.

·      Ask what you can do for your contacts, rather than what they can do for you

o   Before posting anything, ask the question: “of what value is this to my connections?”. Your value to your network is rooted in providing them with content that helps them in some way; everything you deliver should keep them in mind.

·      Be mindful of your requests and endorsements

o   Requesting a stranger to endorse your skills on LinkedIn is along the lines of asking a stranger on the street to write you a job recommendation. Despite the fact that the site provides the means in which to connect with people or companies that you haven’t met in person, you still need to build credibility with them before you can ask anything of them.

Social media has connected our world in ways never before possible, enhancing globalization and providing countless opportunities. These networks only continue to grow, and new means to connect are always evolving. Marketers must always stay one step ahead of this growth and keep an eye out for sites such as Spayce, a new hybrid of Twitter, Snapchat and Facebook. 

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