Common Social Media Practices for Beginners

Social media isn’t just about friending your ex on Facebook to “check up on them” anymore. Social media is the newest form of marketing, and it can be both good and bad for your business. But it can be difficult to tell if the practice is helpful to your company, or if it’s hurting it. It’s a game changer; it is changing how companies interact with their customers.  It’s become essential to have, even if you never wanted to get mixed up in it. You have to be able to respond to customers/guests/fans/etc. If you don’t respond it looks like you don’t care and that you’re not listening.

Social media also should be a part of your company, and not a stand-alone practice. The person who runs the different platforms needs to be knowledgeable about the company.  If they aren’t they won’t be properly prepared to handle compliments or criticisms through the various mediums.

Companies use several tactics and practices within the different social media outlets. As I’ve mentioned several times in the past, the Groundswell is about communication! But, you have to remember that you don’t need to speak as the company just because you’re tweeting from the company twitter handle. Speak as a person. I often tweet different companies about their products, employees, etc. Only once have I ever received a message that was obviously not a person speaking to me.

Unfortunately for all companies, there is no magic wand that you wave to suddenly have a great social media presence. But, there are a few practices that you should apply. Keep in mind it is something you work hard for. Professor Brey has told us several times that it takes 6-9 months before you can really see a result from your social media marketing.

First, you need a strategy or plan. What do you want to achieve from your presence in social media? Don’t base your goal on X amount of followers or likes. Your interactions are what are measured, not your fan base. While having high numbers might look nice to some, it doesn’t mean you have a strong presence. Just because there are 30 different kinds of websites out there, doesn’t mean you need to belong to all of them. Believe me, I’ve signed up for probably all of them and several of them just sit there. Pick a few, and be interactive on those. The end product should be a social media community.

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When you hop on to the social media bandwagon, have the manpower to run your social media sites. As wonderful as it is to have a manager or CEO who wants to be involved with the Twitter/Facebook/blog/etc. for the company, it’s not very practical. While you may not need someone full-time dedicated to running your platforms, you will need someone who can commit the time and understand how to use them to the company’s advantage.

Learn to relinquish control of your brand. I can hear all of you now, “DO WHAT WITH MY BRAND!?” Yes, relinquish control, but continue to monitor your brand. It can be terrifying, but if you have to let people talk about your company in their own way. Again, I have to mention that it’s about communication. And the communication happening through social media marketing will not always include you. If someone says they had a great time at your hotel because you always had hot coffee made, that may not be what you want to be remembered for but you have to keep in mind, you just want to be remembered for something good. If the best thing about their stay was the coffee, let them talk about it without trying to take over the conversation and steer it towards the soft pillows, the comfortable beds, or the amenities of the hotel.

There are other things you can do to help utilize social media for your brand, but if you keep these three things at the front of your mind, you’ll be off to a good start.

For some examples of social media return on investment, check out this website article and the three links listed at the bottom of the article:
http://barnraisersllc.com/2011/07/34-case-studies-prove-social-commerce-roi/

What do you think is an important tactic to use social media within a company?

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6 comments

  1. Some valid points here.

    Social Media is certainly a game changer. When contracting your Social Media Profile out (whether to an existing employee, or to and external source) there are some very crucial elements to consider.

    First of all, you need to remember that your Social Media efforts will mark your brand. Too many people think that tinkering around with Twitter or Facebook will count. The fact of the matter is that whoever is handling your Social Media needs to be personable, quick on their feet, creative, passionate about social media, consistent and passionate about the brand – but also thick hided enough to handle the quick torrent of feedback / criticism that can occur through on Social Media Channels.

    It cannot be solely about sales, but about service, communication and engagement – that is what makes it such a game changer. We touch on this a fair bit ourselves. If you are ever interested come drop by our blog and leave your insight.

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving some advice! I’m still new to the social media scene (in a marketing sense anyway) and I’ve developed a passion for learning as much as I can about it so I’ll definitely check out your blog. I definitely agree with the “thick hided” comment. Social media can be a dangerous place that bullies like to come out and play in, because of the anonymity that people can hide behind.

  2. Thank you Kadye. Your insights are spot-on and I appreciate your referencing my blog posts at the end. I’m glad they were helpful.

    Rob

    1. Thank YOU so much for having such a great list of case studies related to social media! I was worried I wouldn’t be able to find one good one, and instead I found a ton on your site!

  3. Why were you so concerned with me commenting on your blog? You are already well on your way to becoming a source of information. Great post and even better information – this is certainly a great example of the power behind social media!

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