With nearly every business these days having a social media presence, it’s important to look at a few components of a successful social media for business. I’ll go through a few points that you need to make sure you’re hitting. Social Media for Business has become a facet of our society.
Social Media for Business
Set goals. Just like any other endeavor your business undertakes, you want to have clear goals for your social media for business. Is it growth in new friends and followers? Is it shares across networks to increase awareness? Are there specific points you want to get across? Is your social media for business a means to get people in the door, create conversation, or promote a product? Make sure that your goals are measurable. A goal to “create a facebook for my business” is really just pointless. Here are some good goals.
- Create awareness of my brand by creating sharable content. Have X shares for posts by creating content that people will be motivated to share with their friends.
- Drive people from social media to my storefront. Create coupons and other incentives that will bring people in, then track those sales at the end of the week/month.
- Grown friends, followers, likes, X% over the next 12months.
Engage. If you’re anything like me, you like to follow brands you do business with. Recently, I’ve noticed a new trend with brands where they almost have this insincere engagement with their customers. For example, look at one of the latest posts that Dish made. Does Dish REALLY care about who you pick for the game? No, not at all. Which is proven by reading through their comments. Of 264 comments, I didn’t find one response from Dish. Would you start a conversation with someone then just walk away?
The problem is Dish is just trying to write things that get people chatting, but not taking part in the conversation after the fact. Their goal is to get people to say something so their friends see it, then hopefully, their friends will follow Dish. So they can then be ignored by some disingenuous conversation bailer-outer. This is not a healthy model for social media for business.
What Dish could do differently is have a more brand centric approach. A post of “What do you guys think about our new DVR, The Hopper?” Then once people begin responding, they could actually take part in the conversation by offering feedback, directing people to different purchase portals, or even support forums.
Social Media for Business is more about about driving and directing than just prompting people to talk about something unrelated. Take part in the conversation.
This makes the content on their page more real, touts their brand, engages their customers and following with content that they are experts in, can virally promote their brand across networks to people who may not have heard of “The Hopper” (or Hoppa, as we call it in my house). This is real conversation and this is what facebook is for. Not poles or questions unrelated to your general industry.
The points is, if you don’t care what people will say, don’t ask the question. Take part in your conversations, you might find that you can lead the conversation in your favor, when done correctly.
Damage Control. I didn’t set out to make a post critiquing Dish’s social media presence, but it looks like it has happened. So let’s just run with it. I was on a call yesterday with a client who was worried of having any type of social media presence because he’s heard other social media for business horror stories that did a poor job of damage control and it bit them in the butt. (specifically carmax) It’s a fact of business that if you have clients, somewhere down the road you’ll have unhappy clients. So how do you deal with them?
So, back to Dish. If you’re a tech nerd like me, you’ve followed the epic battle between Dish and AMC and the fallout between the two. I won’t take sides here, but there is no love loss between the two.
If you go onto their facebook page, you’ll see a large majority of their comments are related to AMC’s lack of programming with Dish. In fact, I only found 2 posts that weren’t about it. I did a “Find” search with AMC over the past 24 hours and it actually froze my browser! I could only go back 6 hours and it had over 200 comments with AMC in there.
How do you deal with the negative? You do what dish is doing. You take the opportunity to explain to the customers your position. How what’s really happening with the situation. If you’re customers go badmouthing you behind your back, your business have no chance to defend yourself. When they badmouth your business on facebook, you have the chance to set the record straight. Again, you’re able to take part in the conversation. By doing this, you’re able to drive the conversation. In this case, they created a landing page where they are have engaging content and material that explains their side. I say good job.
For a few more tips on what you can do, here’s a good link.
Prove your worth. All companies need to see an ROI on anything they spend. In this case, in the case of social media for business, it’s stands true as well. Often times your ROI isn’t as clear as cash in the bank. Sometimes, it’s brand equity, better customer service and loyalty, awareness of service or new products. But being able to prove what you’re doing is worth is is of great importance. Enter link shorteners, tracking URL’s, and the like.
Before I go too far, I’ll share a really great article that goes much more in-depth about what you can do with tracking URL’s than I will. All I will say is that you don’t need to be putting links on your social media if you’re not going to track them. Granted, there might be somethings that don’t fall under that things you want to monitor, but I’d say 90% of the links you post should be action oriented. Meaning you’ll want to know if it’s working or not with regards to social media for business.
In the past, I’ve used different Social Media tools (here is a list of 20 free ones). Hoot Suite, Sendible, Google Alerts…and a LOAD OF REALLY BAD ONES. What I’ve come to realize is that SMT (Social Media Tolls) are the new frontier for the Analytics world. There are more poorly developed tools than there are ones that work well. I’d say HootSuite is probably be best. Google Alerts is the easiest, but does the least and Sendible is difficult to set up, but once you have done the work, it’s the most useful of all the tools.
Conclusion. As you probably know, I’ve only scratched the surface of social media for business. Before you take the plunge, do a little research. Call around. Hell, call me. You want to make sure your first step is a step in the right direction. It’s not so easy to start over with social media for business. Once you get the ball rolling, you can’t stop and change course.