Thursday, January 05, 2012


If you haven’t been living under a rock, you’ve seen clear signs of the rise of social media everywhere. Invitations from companies to “like” their Facebook page, “follow” them on Twitter, or “check in” when visiting them on Foursquare are becoming the undisputed norm. Social media has become one of the premier ways of communicating with ones customer base and, even better, generating new customers and an excellent return on investment, all for a very reasonable price.

Why Does Social Media Work?

Most people would agree that by engaging in social media, you’re showing the more human side of your company. With an array of social media sites ranging from Facebook and MySpace to Digg and Linkedin, the possibilities to communicate person to person are vast. This doesn’t mean not maintaining a professional venire, but implies a certain level of intimacy with your client base that wasn’t previously attainable. It’s relatively inexpensive, effective and a wonderful way to sustain a competitive edge. It’s also a great way to stay on your clients’ minds, especially if your business is heavily relationship/referral centric. By the way, what business isn't relationship dependent?

With that being said, here are a few tips that will help keep your social media efforts on track and assist with your growth of all things social media.

Patience is Key – Remember that you’re not going to see a huge jump instantaneously. Building out social media campaigns takes time, mostly because it’s the organic customer interaction that will be the most valuable. You’re not going to see a drag race style take-off with your company social media sites. But with time, effort and proper maintenance, the growth will certainly come.

Keep Your Identity – As a company, it’s important that you maintain your identity within your social media campaigns, even if you’ve hired an expert to help. Always remember your goals, your company values and who your client base really is. This will ensure that your messages stay on point with what you’re trying to accomplish and compliment your company branding. Everything you do is branding your company for good or for bad!

Interact, Interact, Interact – Hey, did I mention interact? I would argue that the whole point of social media is to show a more human, relatable side of your company to current and potential customers. This includes taking the time and effort to respond to messages on Linkedin or posts on Facebook. Don’t just spew out dry, promotional verbiage. Readers will detect if you're just trying to load your posts with key words. Use your campaigns to really help you get to know your client base and in turn, capitalize on the opportunity to grow it even further. Imagine your readers to be true friends and post things you think would interest them. Just Google “social media success stories” – you’ll find some encouraging accounts of companies who took the time to do it right.

Keep Likes/Followers in Perspective – Your goal isn’t to have a million followers. And even if you do, if they’re not relevant to what your company is looking to achieve, who cares? When enlisting the help of social media experts, beware of companies that promise to jump the number of followers or fans your company has to a high number. The number of these likes/fans that you have does not automatically equate to a return on investment. You want targeted fans who will respond to your call to action, be it purchasing your product or utilizing your service.

Keep Things Interesting – Again, as with any content that your company uses on the web, it’s important to keep things interesting and relevant. Don’t post the same boring “check out our website” updates day after day. Look at the most successful business social media profiles – every effective one makes an effort at really connecting with their fans and functioning as more than just a dry promotional vehicle. Don't forget that pictures tell a thousand words! Again, this is your opportunity to really connect with your client base, to create lifelong partnerships and to show that your business has a human face.

If you’re brand new to social media, it’s worth taking a closer look and digging deeper to see what it can do to help grow your business model. To what extent you dedicate your social media emphasis will depend on what kind of a business you have and who your clients are. But in a marketing world that’s constantly evolving, I think it’s definitely worth exploring every tool, including on the web, that is and will continue to shape how we do business.