We can all Tweet, Pin, Post and Update, some of us can even get a bunch of followers and create a bunch of conversation. So what?
In my last post I talked about the waste of time that social media can be for businesses without first figuring out why we’re on there. Today, I’ll tell you a bit about what you can achieve on social media if you treat it like any other business tool.
Followers are not Business
I read it and hear it and have it preached to me by businesspeople every day, but when I finally sit down with them to talk strategy the first question is always: “How do I get more followers?”.
A huge network is awesome, but consider this: some of the biggest follower counts belong to spam accounts and #teamfollowback garbage.
Social Media Is Not Different
All of the things that you do have a business purpose beyond their own function – you’re not amazing at bookkeeping to get a high score, or have the greatest product display to get people to tell you that they like it. They exist to achieve real business goals.
If you don’t have a defined outcome that you measure for your social media efforts, then stop doing it immediately. First, identify a problem or need that your business has and then determine how social media can help you to overcome it.
The following are real business needs that I have personally worked with businesspeople on and can be achieved by using social media effectively:
People know about our brand, but they don’t understand it.
In order to educate people about a business, we published a series of fun behind the scenes images from the people within the organization. The image were posted on Pinterest and pushed to Twitter. The public gained an understanding of the personality behind the brand, which turned around the conversation online and increased brand sentiment.
People have never heard of the business
This is always the toughest one – there’s good news and bad news: You’re going to have to do something cool, and social media posting can support it, but can’t stand along as your “something cool”.
This ties in to my original point: Tweeting just to get followers is not a worthwhile business behaviour.
Instead, invite a bunch of people in to your business to see what you’re all about, have a hashtag for the night, and give away one of what you sell to a random person who tweets about you that night. For bonus points – take a bunch of pictures that night, design them into a cool e-card that shows all of the people who showed up having fun with your business, slap your logo on it, post it on Facebook and tag everyone in it. Instantly you’re getting hundreds of brand impressions from those people’s friends when they share the pic. Whether those people end up following your business or coming in to the store is up to you to have a compelling enough business.
Business is good, but it needs to get better
I love this one. The solution is usually a simple matter of getting the people who already love your brand to tell the world about how awesome you are. In order to get those people to turn around and promote a brand, it first needs to make them feel like they’re on the inside.
One particular campaign was built around the stories of satisfied customers. Their stories were gathered and presented on a series of images. Those images were organized into a simple slideshow set to music that was then shared on Youtube. The Youtube video was posted on the website, tweeted and posted to Facebook. The result was that people saw how much other people loved the brand, and everyone involved in the project promoted it across all of their personal networks, showing the world just how much they loved the business.
First, you have to be awesome at something
Before you can start getting people in social media excited about what you’re doing, first you have to be doing something worth talking about. If you haven’t yet, sit down and define what marketing people call your Unique Selling Proposition. That’s the reason that people should do business with you over anyone else in the world. Then you can start building out the benefits that you can gain in social media.
With your time allocated properly, and specific objectives defined, your social media efforts will have dramatically more effect on the real goals that your business has than simply retweeting quotes ever could.