A lot of times I refer to social as it being treated like a “bright & shiny object” because for the past few years it has gotten quite a bit of attention. As a result, brands are jumping into social with both feet, before checking the depth of the pool.
Social presences are chocked full of marketing lingo with a taste of “look at how cool & trendy our brand is because we use [insert latest social platform here].” It loses it’s focus on the strategy behind the presence and the priority becomes using the latest tools, instead of where it should be, your customer.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for testing out new platforms, but that doesn’t mean you just jump in and start using it without a plan or purpose. Recent casualties of this “cool & trendy” approach to social are Instagram and Pinterest.
ust because a social platform is popular, does NOT mean that you have to be on it. If you want to play around and learn what it’s about, start a personal account. Branded accounts should not be created on whims. They require planning and thought. If you’re going to test – how are you going to test? What are you looking to get out of it? Is your audience even there?
Even if Real Simple Magazine’sPinterest Page is their number two traffic driver to their site now, doesn’t mean that your B2B brand needs to be on Pinterest.
Same goes for Instagram. Even if you have a hip (and hopefully capable) 20-something running your social presences, doesn’t mean you need to start filling your Twitter stream and Facebook Page with filtered photos of mundane things because they look cooler with a filter.
In the end, it’s about the relationship between your brand and your customer, so let’s not treat the channel like it’s a toy we play with, but actually start laying a foundation to change the way you do business.
4 simple steps Before Adding Social Media To Your Business:
1. Know Why You’re Using Social
Whether it’s why you’ve chosen to use a specific tool, or why your brand is in engaging in social in the first place, know why you’re there. The answer can be simple, but shouldn’t be things like “because our competitors are” or “everyone should have a Facebook Page”. Your reason should be rooted in your business objectives and a sincere desire to make your customers a part of your business.
2. Listen More Than You Speak
Speaking of reasons to engage in social… your reason could simply be to listen to what your customers are saying about your brand. No one says you have to respond (though some customers may expect you to by this point), but being there to listen and take the information customers share to provide them with a better experience is reason enough to put your listening ears on.
3. Provide Value to Your Audience
To anyone who does social for a living, you’ve probably heard this so much that it makes you want to vomit. But it’s still something that needs to be said time and time again, because I witness so many brands focused on themselves and not their customer. Your customer’s world doesn’t revolve around your brand, it revolves around them, so recognize that and make your social presence about them and what they need and want from you. Show them something unexpected, something they wouldn’t get to see otherwise.
4. Measure What You Do
Half the battle of social is figuring out how to measure it in a way that matters to your business and your business objectives. It all starts with the goals, then defining what your key performance indicators are, and what specific metrics align to those KPIs. Most of the time I think of metrics in terms of a funnel (much like your conversion funnels in Google Analytics). I ask myself what is the first step they need to take, and what is the last action I need from them to equal a conversion. Then, what are the steps in between and how do I measure that? Thinking of measuring social this way will allow you to see where the drop off is and how you can improve that step to get more conversions in the end.
That’s it. Seems simple right? It is, but that shift in focus can be difficult for a lot of marketers. We’re trained to talk about nothing but the brand. Social is changing this though, it is forcing us to focus on the customer and what they want more than anything.
Need some inspiration? Take a look at HBO’s True Blood Facebook Page. They understand what it means to keep fans thirsty (bad pun) while they wait for the next season to begin.
So let’s refocus. It’s not about the tools. It’s about the people.