Is Your Company Social Media Savvy?

 - March 12, 2013, 2:00 PM

No longer can we deny the fact that social media is an important business tool. With the continuing growth of social media websites and users, inadequate social media efforts can stunt your company’s growth. That’s why AIN has compiled these 10 ways to make you a social media savant.

1. Create a Strategy Every company should have its own reasons for developing a strong social media presence. Whether your purpose is marketing, public relations, sales or branding, you should define your goals and lay out objectives to reach them. Create an internal command center to have protocol for posting social media content. Define the amount of time you want to spend on social media during the week and stick to it. Prioritize your social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) according to how efficiently they reach your audience. Be prepared for all situations. Study the trends on Twitter (hashtags) or LinkedIn (professional groups) to learn how other companies in your industry are using social media.

2. Clean Up Your Presence Your social media pages are an extension of your company, so make sure they properly reflect what you’re all about. Start by making sure that your company description, logo and website URL appear on all pages; that all your pictures are pristine; and that your profile is void of typos. You wear your finest professional attire to a business meeting, so why not treat your social media pages similarly?

3. Increase Your Audience No social media campaign is fully effective unless you are reaching out to the largest audience possible. Promote your social media presence everywhere: your company website, blogs, business cards, print advertising and email marketing messages. Most social media sites now have an official “follow” or “like” button that you can include on your webpages and emails for an easy click to your social media pages. Also, the more active you are on social media pages, the more people will notice you. “Follow” or “like” companies in your industry to maximize your presence.

4. Create a Company Culture It’s understandable that the “old school” business person fears the change that social media can bring to a company. It is an entirely new way of doing business and relating to customers. Social media can be used for marketing, public relations, customer service and sales-lead generation. Create policies for use of the company’s social media and make sure employees adhere to them. Use metrics to prove the numbers justify your social media investment. Make sure employees know your activity and understand the company’s overall vision for employing social media. Encourage employees to get involved with social media within your industry, especially with LinkedIn groups and Twitter hashtags. Show the world and your employees that social media can be a useful gateway to your target audience.

5. Time Posts for Maximum Exposure Once you have increased your social media followers, engage them without being overbearing. Posting 10 times a day will only frustrate your followers. Try limiting your posts to two a day, spreading them out over a period of time. It’s a good practice to have a steady, strategic presence in people’s social media feed. Try reaching your audience in non-business hours, like evenings or weekends. Remember when your followers are engaged and use that to your advantage.

6. Conduct Market Research Social media can be a direct pipeline to an active conversation with your consumers. Use this power to gain a deeper understanding of their thoughts. Ask questions about your products that create dialogue. Company executives might balk at the idea of letting consumers openly discuss your company in a public forum but this type of interaction will develop relationships and create a sense of involvement in consumers. When consumers are openly critical of your company or its products, send them a message to let them know that you care about their opinion and business. Just remember that the people involved with your social media pages are your engaged consumers and thus very important to your company. Make sure they know that.

7. Use SM at Your Next Tradeshow This is especially relevant in the aviation industry since tradeshows and conventions become a year-round commitment for its professionals. Social media can be an easy way to announce your presence at the event and connect with other professionals. Make sure you are hyping your presence before, during and after the show. Before the show, announce how people can find your company and what events you plan on attending. Follow the show’s official social media channels. While there, announce your arrival and share your reactions to the show. Post pictures and use the event hashtags to engage others. After the show, provide a recap and share your newfound knowledge with the community. Reflect on how social media helped you during the event.

8. Think and Talk in Pictures There is a reason Instagram attracted 90 million users over the past two years: people love pictures. Just like any marketing campaign, social media should use images supplemented with content to gain the interest of its audience. In this Internet era of short attention spans, it has become much more difficult to engage an audience through text. Pictures can brand your company and personify your social media efforts better than any slogan or testimonial. Easily shared pictures can quickly convey a message and tell a story.

9. Use Great Storytelling Storytelling techniques can help diversify your social media content and spark interest amongst the various personality types in your audience. Profile your customers and use testimonials. When customers have a great experience, have them tell their story. It could have been a positive experience with customer service or how your product made their life easier. Profile your employees to create faces for your company. Show the social world that behind your corporate wall there are people with similar life experiences. Give your audience a behind-the-scenes look at your company. Share pictures of your office or of how a product is made. Show pictures of your employees in the community or trying out a new product line. Post the company’s exciting triumph of the day.

10. Have Fun Social media content should be enjoyable to read. So have fun creating it! Post content you would enjoy and use contests and giveaways that would excite you.