5 Simple Social Media Tips

Best Social Media Tips 2012

Few days ago I was asked to submit Top 10 Social Media tips for businesses for a local paper. Chances are that by now, you’ve seen hundreds, if not thousands of these and most of the time they’re either extremely vague (“Engage the Audience” anyone?) or of little practical use. So I tried to really boil things down to a simple, effective few that anyone can understand and use and I came up with 5. Here they are:

Exercise focus.

It seems that there is a new social media platform launching every month (Pinterest, Klout, Quora, Storify) and it’s almost a futile effort to wrap your head around each one at that frequency. Rather then jumping on every new platform that emerges, select two or three best fitting ones and focus on them. These should be networks where your ideal target market is most active. This could mean producing a podcast because your target market is business professionals who may be more open to consuming content through audio while they’re driving or exercising. Or putting together recipes and posting the finished meal to Pinterest because your target market may be younger heads of household who make the cooking (and grocery buying) decisions.

 

Participate.

Social media has been around for a few years already, yet there are still brands who jump in and create a presence but don’t engage in any kind of conversation. They treat their social media presence as a billboard. Don’t be one of those. We often see this when a company outsources their social media presence to a local (or overseas) service, who then proceed to post quasi-relevant links, videos and articles without asking or answering questions, giving followers a chance to converse or inviting them to create content WITH you.

 

Dedicate Resources.

Even though joining a social network is free, it takes a concentrated effort and dedicated human resources in order to produce results. Be prudent and cautious of who you get to represent your brand online. Will hiring your accountant’s college student son who doesn’t truly understand your business REALLY portray the best image of your brand? Also… don’t think that dedicating 3 hours per week of your admin’s time to “do social media” is enough either. We’re past the basics, market is saturated with brands hopping on the bandwagon, yet only few are seeing real results. Those are the ones who dedicate time and resources to making it happen.

 

In for the long haul.

Understand that social media is not an advertising platform, but rather a relationship building medium. This of course takes time, so be prepared for a consistent effort over a longer period. It could be 6 months, it could be a year or longer. One of the most common misconceptions is that you’re able to get an immediate or quick return as soon as you create a Facebook page. Perhaps… with a substantial promotional budget and a REALLY compelling offer (remember GroupOn anyone?). Rather then immediately assigning a dollar value to each “like”, focus on taking the time to develop those relationships organically and ROI will come back to you in spades. As Allan Weiss says, think of the fourth sale first. Let that be your guide to approaching social media. Be in for the long haul.

 

Understand your objectives.

Before jumping on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or any other network, make sure to ask WHY. Each marketing effort should be clearly and logically tied to core business objectives. Are you using this network for customer service, brand awareness or community building? And if so, what does success look like? Having MORE fans or followers is not really a viable metric. Having a more engaged (they comment, reply, like, retweet, share…) community could be. Understand WHY you’re on social media and then ask yourself if that reason vibes with a social platform (affinity building vs advertising).

 

Keep it simple… and don’t forget to have fun :)

 

– Ernest // Follow me on Twitter

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8 thoughts on “5 Simple Social Media Tips

  1. Hey Ernest, you a great list here. I wish people would pay particular close attention to dedicating resources. So many times I see the planning happen and great intentions, but the resources and/or time is not given. Spending a few minutes a week is just giving lip service to social media and ultimately their customers.

  2. Hey Ernest,

    I have to agree with Mike…dedicating resources is top of my list. Many folks i talk to who are starting to use social media dont get it..as you mention as part of this list…Participate. So staying on top of resources allows you to participate.

    my two cents

    • It comes down to this: Either do it right… or don’t. Having a junior admin person dedicate an hour a week is not going to yield results. And like the first Mike (ha) said, many times we’ll see good intentions followed up by a complete failure to execute.

      Thank you for commenting :)

      – Ernest

  3. If I could add one more it would be to define your purpose. It’s not enough just to stick up a Twitter account or a LinkedIn group and expect people to flock to it, especially if you’re working in the B2B world. Define the purpose of your work, then choose the best platform to serve that community (ie your first point) and go from there.

    • Hi Michele,

      Thanks for your comment :) You’re absolutely right. No matter what kind of tips, advice, strategy or planning is dispensed, it comes down to commitment and execution. And social media, in particular, takes much more time and effort then an ad buy. Laziness can’t be offset with a large budget.

  4. These five easy social media marketing tips are really helpful, and interesting. I hope the information provided in the post will help new, and inexperienced social media marketers to do their job in the most efficient manner. Yes! If you stay focused on what you are doing, any task will become easy for your. This is also applicable to social media marketing. Clear business objectives will definitely help online marketers do businesses well!

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