There’s no denying it…starting a social media campaign from scratch is daunting.
As part of a company, you want to find a way to build your brand and attract new prospects. Social media is a new, increasingly widespread way to create a community around your corporate identity.
But, how do you navigate all those channels? How do you find interesting ways to interact with users on every platform? How can you create enough branded content to draw and hold the interest of a new generation of web-savvy consumers?
How do you find your social media voice?
I’ve spent the past four to five years working in and around content creation for the web and social media. I remember making my first Facebook page, editing my first YouTube video and breaking 100 followers on my Twitter account.
I think what’s resonated most throughout all my social engagement is how exciting it is; knowing your messages are reaching people and realizing users are interacting with the content you share.
This sense of novelty and excitement is the engine behind social media as a tool for successful online marketing.
Howard Schultz, now-CEO of Starbucks, famously credits social media for pulling the coffee giant out of dire straits.
In 2007, Starbucks’ stock dropped 42 percent. It didn’t look good.
He used the web and interactive digital media to drive a complete overhaul of the company’s image and branding. Because of that initiative, Starbucks has raked in over $10 billion in revenue and employs around 150, 000 people.
In an article posted on MyNorthwest.com dated 2010, Schultz is quoted. “(…) Trust isn’t something you build through traditional marketing. You do that through integrating social and digital media. It is a science, as well as an art, to understand how to do this in a way that is authentic and genuine, and not just marketing.”
That, in my opinion, is one of the most ringing endorsements for finding your social media voice in order to run a successful program. Utilizing social networking for your business is cost-effective and wide reaching.
In 2013, Palmer Marketing is committed to increasing our social media footprint, digging down to find a real identity on the social web and becoming an example and a resource for clients, new and old, as they venture into social media as a marketing tool.
Here are some tenets of our newly resolved commitment to social media. They’re centered upon three key platforms: Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
1. We are going to drive engagement on Facebook by making it personal.
Not everyone wants a presence on the social web. That’s totally fine. Nothing wrong with wanting to keep your personal life out of the public eye. But, as a Social Media Coordinator, I’ve committed to integrating my social profile into the ones I manage. I’ve reached out to my network via Facebook and garnered more attention for Palmer’s page. The most successful social media platforms are the ones with the most company involvement. When everyone engages, shares, likes and posts, it creates an undeniable buzz. This will be a key element in finding our identity on the social web—making it apparent that real people are driving engagement.
2. We’re going to use LinkedIn to network with other business professionals and share important industry information.
LinkedIn is an endless font of industry news, networking opportunities and sales leads. We will use this platform, in the right measure, to position ourselves as a resource for people and businesses within our network.
3. We are going to engage more via Twitter and we’re going to sound like human beings when we do it.
Twitter has a user-ship of over 500 million. This comprises a wealth of interest groups. Twitter offers tools for targeting people, discovering what they’re talking about and joining the conversations. We’re hoping to see a lot more engagement, attract a larger audience, and build our brand. As with our Facebook engagement, we’re going to humanize our Twitter feed—ensure our voice is well received and we’re approachable.
As we continue to experiment with and grow our presence on social networks over the next few months, I’m really hoping to create our social media voice. I’m excited to engage our existing community on the social web and attract some new members. We want to act as a resource for social networking knowledge; we’re going forward recognizing that it’s a little unnerving to start building a social media campaign from the ground up, but with a voice, some consistency, commitment and lots of interaction, social media is a powerful marketing tool.
If you haven’t already ventured into the online world of social media and marketing, there are probably only a few reasons why:
These are reasonable responses to the question of “why?” but with a little further research, I think you may just change your opinion as many businesses have, including us!
It can be a little difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel, especially in a business to business scenario. There are several benefits, so maybe now is the time to jump in!
You don’t know how to – It can be a little overwhelming if you don’t have an understanding of what it takes to get involved in social media. The best thing to do is search for one of your clients on these social media platforms, or even one of your competitors to see what they are doing and how they utilize Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Word Press, LinkedIn, etc. Read, read, and read… it will give you more insight in how to join the online world as well as keep you up to date on what is going on in your industry. Who knows, maybe you will have something to say right away. Commenting on other businesses blogs and pages are great ways to introduce yourself and share your knowledge on the web.
You don’t have the time to – You don’t have to dive into everything at once. Maybe you are already more familiar with Facebook than any other site. Start there. If not, just pick one to start with for the first few months and you will gradually gain the confidence to implement others. Setting up a Facebook or Twitter account will not take you long to accomplish, just get it done and you can do some tweaking later. There are actually a lot of great blogs out there that will walk you through the entire process of creating these accounts.
The best in the business are posting and tweeting multiple times a day. They most likely have the resources to have an employee dedicated solely to social media. You should shoot for at least once every couple of days and if you start up a blog, try to start by posting relevant news to your company or your industry once a week, or at a minimum, bi-weekly. The more you do it, the better you will get and thus, take less of your time to create frequent posts.
You don’t think it will benefit you – It is true that social media is more effective for B2C companies but that doesn’t mean that it is not beneficial to B2B. The idea behind social media is to first of all, create more brand awareness on the web. The more websites your company is listed and active on, the easier it is for people to find you, understand you and learn what specifically sets you apart from the rest. These sites show up on general searches through Google and other search engines, so if you post quality content, rich in industry keywords, you will get a higher ranking. It’s all about posting good content as regularly as you can to try to get people involved in your business and your industry. Start a dialogue, talk to people that you otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to, drive businesses to your website, and ultimately make a positive impact on your business. We’ve seen it work.
Remember— If you do want to get into social media and even after your research you don’t think you will be able to pull it off, you can always outsource it to a trusted company.
15 Benefits of Social Media:
A Few Points on Social Media Sites
There seems to be much debate on this particular question with no absolute answer. From the blogs and articles I’ve read, there is an ongoing ‘tug-of-war’ on the topic. Social media managers and/or firms are trying to pull more customers in (obviously) and businesses small and large are pushing back; unsure if social media is right for them. If in fact it is, are they comfortable letting a third party business control their image and online relationships?
Education is the most vital aspect of this endeavor and that cannot be stressed enough. A company venturing into social media must educate themselves appropriately so not to become overwhelmed and give up too hastily. There are no magic tricks to allow overnight success; it is a process.
On the other side of the coin, a business taking control of social media or majority thereof must have a comprehensive understanding of your company, your personality and your industry. Concise communication is essential to stay up to date and on course with your goals, while keeping your followers informed.
A plan must be put in place with a champion to manage it. There are many ways to go about achieving this. Whether you simply want to hop on the bandwagon, gain more traffic and insight with analytics, or really get in touch with your existing and prospective clients, as long as it is done professionally, ethically and consistently… there is no downside.
5 Tips to Help You Get Started
1) Get Informed – Do some research and make sure you have a fair understanding of social media and what it takes to be successful with it. Look at other businesses in your industry to see what they are doing.
2) Create Achievable Goals – Talk amongst yourselves in the business to see why you are interested and what you expect to get out of it.
3) Devote Enough Time – After your research, you will come to the realization that this can be a full time job in itself. Make sure that either through your staff or through outsourcing, you have enough time to keep at it.
4) Don’t Bite Off More Than You Can Chew – When starting, there is no need to dive in to all aspects of social media. Take it one step at a time if that is all the time you can spare. Start by creating a blog, facebook or Twitter account, then, once you are comfortable, select an additional platform and so on and so forth.
5) Don’t Give Up! – Once more, there are no tricks to ensure overnight success. Have faith; if you are posting interesting information regularly, there is no reason why your traffic shouldn’t continue to grow.
A helpful link on this topic follows, http://www.imediaconnection.com/content/26947.asp