Please excuse if you are already aware of any of my observations. However, a fresh set of eyes can often helpful…
You might be wondering why would I, a social media (SM) veteran provide so much insider information? The answer is simple: my clients or employer can’t clone me and my 25+ years of experience building and managing online communities.
A successful social media effort revolves around your community shepherd… 💡
Below are a few tips off the top of my head. I’ve been doing this so long that I don’t think consciously too much about it. It just comes naturally. But it has been beneficial for me to write this blog: I actually know more than I realized. 😎 Enjoy my overview!
Most important: Build a community! And hire a seasoned SM community manager if you can afford it. Actually, you really can’t afford not to. A community needs a veteran leader to thrive.
Ethics and integrity: Your SM guru has ethical standards and does not deviate from them. Both your business and your guru benefit from them. I won’t cut corners to make a point. I consider it unethical and intellectually lazy to do so.
Patience: Never pay for followers. It may take some time, but your SM guru will build a community of people genuinely interested in your business. Expect building your community to take around a year. Good news is, you will see improvements in sales during that time, albeit incremental.
Content length: SM marketing consists of three basic lengths of content, for example:
- Short: Twitter
- Medium: Facebook
- Long: Blogging and YouTube
Obviously, one can create a short YouTube video, but you get my point. And one can combine a short tweet with a long video attached to it, etc.
Get personal, but not too personal: This is a balancing act but one that your SM community manager has to be adept at to be a successful leader.
Learn how to balance being accessible on social media without inviting your followers to share your bed… 💡
Spam: Another issue with marketing products or services directly is that you may end up being labeled a spammer. People tend to revolt against direct sales pitches. Save those for your traditional website, sales floor or office. For example if Facebook gets enough spam complaints, you could get booted off their platform.
Amateur night: Marketing products or services directly: Market your people and content. For example, an auto dealership’s SM manager can publish a blog talking about her test drive of the new Jaguar F-Type.
Sales will flow directly and indirectly from your SM marketing as in the example above.
Write in the first person: People who follow your business on SM are actually following the person managing your social media community.
Bite-sized chunks with less seasoning are tastier: And easier to read. Keep paragraphs short: two to four sentences. White space is kind on the eyes. And also write to an eighth-grade level. Big words may tickle your ego. Not so much your audience.
Blog titles: Make your blog title convey the totality of your post. Avoid vague and ambiguous titles, since many times people won’t click the blog link you just tweeted.
Weave colorful personal narratives: Engage your audience by grabbing them with real personal stories.
The lives of the successful in the modern world are a social media reality show… 💡
Include content unrelated to your primary business mission: Your SM audience is following your community manager more than your business, per se. For instance, if you sell computers and your SM guru is a jazz guitarist like me, they can post their latest jazz track over at SoundCloud. 😎
Include multimedia (photos, graphics, videos and audio podcasts) in your content: It is very helpful to know basic photo, video and audio editing. Your social media guru must have these skills.
Multimedia production values are key: Although your community will forgive less than a Hollywood quality video, make sure your multimedia has basic production values in its creation.
Never attack people personally (even if they attack you): I’ve seen the most seasoned professionals forget this in a moment of anger. A florist online may not think they have to worry about this. But trust me, everyone has to. For a variety of reasons, people may go off on you. Take it in stride and roll with it…
Don’t be overly concerned with hurting feelings. People often get offended no matter what, and most of the time it’s because they have an unrelated bone to pick with you, your peers, organization or ideology… 💡
Meme city: I create graphical memes all the time — they are a great way to share knowledge, humor and occasional wisdom to my SM followers. Memes tend to get more sharing than a plain text update.
Crisis management: SM is a great tool for reassuring your customers. For example a car dealer’s customers need to know about a recall. Your SM guru can let her/his community know of the recall before your customers hear about it on Fox News or CNN. And provide them with steps to take to fix their car.
The all-night diner: SM is a 24/7 endeavor. Expect to pay accordingly for you SM guru as they are on call 24/7. Your SM manager will be monitoring your SM accounts at all times. Obviously they get to sleep once in a while. 😀 A real busy SM presence may literally require overnight monitoring.
Review websites: People who comment about your business tend to be those unhappy with you. Review sites like Yelp need to be monitored and customer concerns must be addressed pronto.
You need to encourage your happy customers to post genuine reviews. This will help to mitigate any negative feedback. And NEVER post fake reviews! But you can reward those sincerely happy customers with a discount coupon for helping you out.
Copyright: I am not a lawyer, but some common sense has kept me out of trouble. As much as possible I try to use content that I’ve created or paid for (like the SM cat at the top of this post which Dr. Pet Mom and I own) or public domain multimedia.
If the content is not mine nor in the public domain, I give credit to the originator. And be prepared to remove any content at the request of the owner, even if you feel you used it under ‘fair use.’ It’s not worth the trouble of a DMCA complaint filed against you or to wind up in litigation.
Summary: If you keep these three things in mind, you should do fine:
- Hire an ethical SM community manager.
- Build a community.
- Engage your community personally with content, not sales pitches.
If your business or organization lacks a vibrant social media community, I am the full-time 24/7 leader that you seek. And I can build your community from scratch. Contact me in confidence here.
“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”