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3 Tips For Using Social Media

Correctly implementing social media for your company is critical in today’s marketplace – with more customers interacting online, social media is a valuable outlet for engaging them. While implementing social media campaigns that work isn’t a stroll through the park, neither is it rocket science. Below are 3 tips for using social media that will allow you to reap the benefits of having a strategic social media presence, increased brand value, and increased customer engagement.

1) Pick Your Social Networks Wisely

There are many different social media outlets available such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google +, and LinkedIn. However, your presence may not be necessary or appropriate on every social network. It is important to understand who your audience is before you select social networks to use. Who are you trying to reach out to? Customers? Other businesses? Potential employees? This is a critical question and determines which you should be posting on your networks. For example, according to Mashable.com, Facebook is skewed towards female users and people in the age group of 18 – 29. Twitter is skewed more towards 18 – 29 year olds, African-Americans, and urban residents. Media Bistro also has a nice infographic breaking down social media demographics.

While using Facebook might be great for engaging potential or current customers, it’s probably not the best way to find potential employees. If your goal were to scout for new talent, then LinkedIn would be the optimal network to use. Twitter is more useful for sharing brief, important bits of information. Do your homework – once you’ve determined who your target demographic is, do some research and discover which network is most appropriate for your company and goals.

Different social networks have different purposes. Know what your goals are and match them to the correct network.

2) Post Frequently, But Thoughtfully

As you’ve probably heard before, it is better to have quality over quantity. Don’t just spout content at your customers; you will only alienate them and reduce the value of your brand. As the old saying goes – “If you don’t have anything good to say, it’s better to say nothing at all.” However, you do need to be consistently active on your social networks. You can’t post quality content once every two weeks on Facebook and expect your customers to interact with you. Strive to produce quality content that your audience values and post multiple times a week, at the minimum. Optimal posting frequency on Facebook is 1 – 2 times day, and Twitter is about 3 times a day. You should generally follow the 80 – 20 rule when posting on your social media networks. 80% of your content should be social, allowing you to connect with your customer. The other 20% should be promotions for your business. Make sure any social content that you post relates back to your brand, though.

Additionally, it’s usually not a good idea to be posting the same content across all of your social networks. A good social media strategy incorporates the advantages and disadvantages of each social network and plays to them appropriately. Facebook is good for deeper engagement with consumers, as a business can customize and tailor their page to suit their needs. Twitter is more useful in that you can convey your message to the consumer quickly, concisely, and with no frills.

The best way to achieve consistent, quality postings is to have a clearly defined strategy with a calendar of when, what, how frequently , and on which networks you will be posting. For example, you could devote certain days of the weeks to certain topics.  Of course, deviations from the calendar are permissible when necessary, but it always helps to have a framework of what you will be posting.

By generating consistent, quality content for your audience, you increase the value of your brand. 

3) Listen To Your Customers

Many businesses make the mistake of trying to shove promotions down their followers’ throats. Unfortunately, this is the wrong approach to take with social media. If you are constantly posting promotions for your business, your customers are eventually going to ignore you. Why? Because you’re not trying to have a conversation with them. As I mentioned earlier, social media isn’t just about promoting your business – it is about developing a relationship with your customers. One of the best ways to do this is by listening to what they have to say. You can actually learn a lot from your customers if you take the time to engage them and listen to their responses. Using social media to pose questions to followers is a great way to gain insight into what they value and how to further connect with them. For example, a steakhouse might ask their Facebook followers ” What’s your favorite cut of beef?” A seemingly innocuous question can yield valuable data about the steakhouse’s customers and their food preferences.

The best practices of social media involve not just talking to your customers but listening to them and communicating with them based on what they said. A while back I saw ta restaurant on twitter – Carmine’s – responding to tweets by customers. One particular customer had a bad experience and tweeted it to Carmine’s twitter account. Carmine’s responded to the customer via Twitter and asked her to message the account so the issue could be resolved. Carmine’s handled this in the best way – although this particular customer gave them negative feedback, Carmine’s listened and responded constructively, offering to fix the issue (rather than just ignoring the tweet).

Listening to your customers and responding to them constructively will increase customer engagement with your brand. 

To summarize: Do the necessary research to determine which social networks you should be on, strategically develop your content and posting schedule, and constructively engage with your customers as much as possible. 

 

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