Many businesses and schools fail online because they approach social media in the wrong way. Those who succeed are not necessarily great at creating new ideas but they understand exactly what social media is and what is does best. Social media is not a place where you can distribute your marketing message neither is it a place where you can control what people say. While it is important to establish guidelines for conversations on your social media channels, it is equally vital to provide a place for honest communication.
So what is social media good at?
Social media is perfect for posting pieces of information that would otherwise go ignored. News that wouldn’t create a glowing press release or media alert, can simply make a nice Facebook and Twitter post that could generate a number of “Likes” and positive comments. This steady stream of information is invaluable for sharing the culture of the organisation with those who can’t be there. Social media also allows you to share unique aspects of your organisation that people wouldn’t see, for example routinely posting short minute videos on YouTube.
Businesses and schools have unique personalities that traditional marketing tools cannot demonstrate. People would much rather connect with you on a personal level than with your organisation. Many have started experimenting with ways to inject their social media profiles with personality. This can simply be achieved by changing profile pictures from the company logo to the person who manages the Facebook or Twitter account. One of the most motivating features of social media is its ability to give a voice to people who genuinely care about your organisation. While many people are worried about the negative comments that may appear on their profiles, more and more users of social media report that online communities would jump to the organisations defence without prompting, whenever someone posted something negative.
Consider who your target audience is
An effective social media campaign will be based around the right tool to communicate with the right people. Simply create a list of people you are trying to reach through social media, and remember this form of communication isn’t popular across all demographics! By using separate communication channels to connect with these differing audiences, you’ll avoid the danger of losing your following by overwhelming them with information they just don’t care about. Take time and consider where your audience spends their time online, create short surveys and ask other social media experts and organisations about the lessons they have learned and the mistakes they have made.
Where do you begin?
So when you know who your audience are and where they spend their time online, you need to market yourself and let them know how to interact with you. Some things you can do include:
- Developing relationships and making connections by creating comments and following online conversations
- Embed social media into your marketing campaigns
- Making sure social media logos appear on your marketing collateral
- Integrating social media into your website
- Include incentives for joining