Now that we’ve explored the five most active social media platforms available and how they can advance your business goals, it’s time to evaluate which platforms are right for your business. Then, the next step is to develop a strategy for building and growing your presence.
Where do you go from here?
Here are a few of the best practices we’ve found to help ensure that your social media marketing program is a success:
- Look around—and listen. Get on the various platforms and look at what others are doing and where relevant conversations are taking place. Look for your customers, competitors and others in
the print industry. Listening first will help you
get a feel for where and how to get involved.
- Align your strategy. Like any business investment, participation in social media will only create the desired return on investment if it furthers your larger business objectives. Make sure whatever you do makes sense in terms of your overall business goals.
- Plan to invest time and maybe a little money. While most social media platforms are free, it is critical to take into account the time commitment needed to have an ongoing presence and plan for it. With all of social media, being an active part of the community is one of the keys to your success—and that takes time.
- Remember that content is what drives the success of your program. Original, engaging content is critical for a successful social media strategy. Social media marketing, unlike other marketing avenues, is not the place to provide content that is only promotional in nature. Rather, give your audience content that meets their needs and they will begin to turn to you as a trusted resource.
- Don’t be afraid of feedback. The beauty of social media marketing is that it provides an opportunity to learn (in real-time) from interested customers what they really think and to offer your company’s take on the matter. Many companies have found that quick and responsive replies to complaints posted on social media platforms can turn unhappy customers into raving fans.
- Adopt a social media policy. Similar to an employee manual, developing a social media use policy is a valuable way to set and communicate the company’s expectations regarding online involvement by employees. It’s important to be clear right at the beginning about who is permitted to post content on behalf of the company and what type of content can be posted.
- Evaluate, evaluate, evaluate. Once you have had your social media presence in place for a while, evaluate each platform. Is your Facebook Page grabbing your customers’ interest? If not, maybe you need to try some different content. Is Twitter helping to drive traffic to your webpage? Are readers commenting on your blog posts? The great thing about social media is your community tells you if what you are doing is effective—by their interaction with you or lack thereof—so you don’t have to guess. Evaluate your results and adjust your tactics as needed in order to get the results you are looking for.
Social media has truly changed the way we communicate with our customers and prospects. Your customers and colleagues are out there, sharing ideas and information. They are also looking for your print business, but the question is, are you there to be found? Developing a social media presence will open up a whole new set of tools for driving your customers to print.
Whether your company has an established social media program or you are just starting to explore, we’d like to hear how this new media has made an impact on your business. Leave us a comment below!