It’s a scary time for the control freak in all of us. For that part that loves to wield the red pen freely. The bit that wants every word and every image to be perfect. Gone are the days of seven levels of approval. They went out the window as soon as social media became a marketing tool. It’s not humanly possible for an entire organization to vet every Tweet, status update, blog post or comment before it goes live. As marketers we need to adapt and let go of the control we’ve held onto for so long.
You’ll feel a lot better about loosening that grip if you’re confident about the way you’re approaching marketing within these new channels. Below are several things you can do to ensure you find this confidence.
Not every social channel is going to be a fit for your company. And you certainly don’t need to tackle them all to have a successful social strategy. Consider your target audience and figure out how to meet them where they’re at. For instance, if you’re targeting women ages 45-54, you’ll want to establish a presence on Facebook. If men ages 18-28 are a better fit for your product or service, you’ll reach them on Google+. You can find more detailed demographics on the various channels from companies like comScore that offer a wealth data about how audiences interact in a digital world. Be strategic about where you focus your social media energies so you know you’re not wasting your breath on the wrong audience.
Once you know where you plan to converse, you have to determine what you’ll say. By its very nature social media content demands a certain level of immediacy so it’s not always possible to plan out the specific messaging. However, you can plan the types of messaging you will disseminate through each channel. You should use Twitter to announce company news and trends whereas Facebook is better suited for human-interest stories. Additionally, LinkedIn is a good place to have more industry-specific conversations. Communicate how your chosen channels are to be used to everyone responsible for your social media.
There is no shortage of social media gone wrong horror stories to give us pause about interacting in a space where conversations move quickly and there are no take backs. Social media is an important part of any communications strategy and shouldn’t just be passed off on whoever has the time. Some of the most egregious social media missteps have fallen on the shoulders of interns at major corporations. Avoid committing any faux pas by entrusting it to someone who understands your company, audience and the world of social media marketing. You’ll rest much easier knowing that anyone who has access to your accounts is completely in tune with social media best practices.
Maybe you love the idea of being present on social media channels, but you don’t want to commit the time. Fortunately, there are a number of tools available that make it easy to schedule updates, monitor multiple channels at once and keep track of conversations. HootSuite and TweetDeck are among the most popular.
One of the best parts of social media is the ability to measure success in a way that we’ve never been able to with more traditional media. Google Analytics and the tools mentioned in number four can all help you determine how well your social media tactics are performing. By monitoring these statistics and adjusting your strategy accordingly, you’ll ensure you’re getting the most from your social channels.
No matter where you’re at in your social media marketing experience, it’s important to develop a strategy that makes sense for your organization and then trust the experts you’ve chosen to run with it. Making sure your entire team is on the same page and understands how to execute an effective strategy can go a long way toward avoiding any of the potential missteps that may be keeping you from embracing the benefits of social media.
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