Some are utilizing social media to drive growth. Others “do” social media because they have to — they have all the right “things” online — a Facebook page, a Twitter account, a blog, and they’re even putting content up there, but it’s not connecting and they’re not seeing ROI. Still others look at social media, throw their hands up in frustration, and long for the days when “social” media meant talking to someone in school about what you saw on Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom the night before.
While I have written a book about how to make social media work for business and my professional life is devoted to the field of communications — particularly social media, I consider myself fundamentally a student of communications, of connection, of what brings people together, and the narratives that move and motivate brands, business, ideas, people. So here’s a look at some of the things I’ve learned along the way…
9. Likes. Likes are over-rated. They don’t mean anything unless you’re engaging people. They mean a lot if you use them to engage.
8. Links. Lots of people add links to posts, and that’s good, but too often the links take people away from your goal — getting them to do something specific. Why take someone off your site if the goal is to get them on your site?
7. Provoke. Some of the most effective posts are nothing more than simple questions. Be provocative. What’s the worst thing that could happen?
6. Prod. Don’t post and leave people on your FB page, relentlessly drive people where you want them to go.
5. Write conversationally, but don’t forget SEO. If I see one more corporatized press release pushed through social, I think I’ll puke — and your customers might, too. Would you sit with your friends at a bar and talk about your end-to-end solutions or the market-leading penetration through multi-channel diversification and system-wide integration? There are different ways to say the same thing — if you don’t know how to do that, hire someone like me. Also, remember when you write to tag and use headlines that will position you appropriately for search engine optimization.
4. Repetition. Offline in real time, conversations happen once. Online, they need to happen repeatedly. Just because you post something doesn’t mean it’s seen. Online, a tree needs to fall in the woods several times before it’s heard. Post it, repeat it. Post it, repeat it.
3. Consistency. It’s better to post something simple and short once a week than it is something thoughtful once a month.
2. Share the brand. Old school thinking says “we own the brand and we’re going to push it down to you.” New school thinking says the customer owns the brand and defines it. My experience is that the brand is now shared. The moment you engage, your brand becomes dynamic, and the conversations you have are in essence shaping the brand in real-time. You need skilled communicators to pull this off. That’s why you can’t put just anyone in charge of social — it’s actually the highest communications function in any organization.
1. Engage. That’s the mantra: Engage, Engage, Engage. I don’t like to use the term “social” media — I prefer online and offline media, because no matter the modality, it’s all about engagement — engagement to drive growth. That said, you can amplify engagements online, which makes the process more powerful.
Bonus Tip: Every single thing you do needs to be a part of plan focused on driving growth. Would you spend $20 million on an ad buy and not have it integrated into all of your business strategies? Then why would you post an ad online and not have it integrate into your business strategies? Why would you post something and bring a customer into the most intimate parts of your business, and not value that relationship? Just because you can do something less expensively online doesn’t mean that it’s less valuable. The value is in the relationship, and that, my friends, is priceless.