Is your current social strategy working like it should?
Is the social networking strategy that you have adopted for your website really yielding any results? Data collected by Searchmetrics shows that within only the short span of February to March 2012, there had been 248,603,582 comments, two billion shares and seven billion Likes related to the top 10,000 keywords chosen by them for the analysis. Since the experts are predicting that the already impressive 7.22% (2011) impact that social networking websites have had on search engine results can only increase, you better take another look at your existing social networking strategy to see if you can improve it. Even if you are satisfied with its effectiveness, read on to check whether you have all the loose ends tied up.
Tips and Tricks
As you are now familiar with how to begin with a social networking strategy for your website, let’s discuss a few tips and tricks that might get you just a bit ahead of the competition when it comes to drawing the customers in.
The Social Media Policy – Your social media policy acts as the intro for your social strategy, therefore it is important to write it in a way so as to attract, not detract people. What we mean by this is that if you take a look at the popular modern social policies introduced today, you will notice that the emphasis is largely on what ‘can be done’, instead of what ‘cannot be done’. The new social policy cannot be the same as the conventional ones, which were best described in the words of Houghton, “The old way of doing things is to create an unnecessarily restrictive model of engagement that prevents companies from leveraging new media appropriately”.
The main purpose of all social policies should be to remain focused on what you have to offer through it, rather than what you don’t have or wouldn’t give.
The Importance of Identity – The general and logical tendency of most customers is to buy from renowned and trusted names; therefore it is imperative that your/company’s name is accompanying whatever you are posting on the internet as it creates a sense of familiarity and people find it easier to trust and relate to, thus improving the functionality and authenticity of your product/service.
Responsibility and Judgment – The plan is to use the social media in such a way so as to develop a positive image about your company and therefore it is necessary for you or anyone directly related to your organization to be discreet about what comments or opinions is shared on a social networking website. Even when the comment is on a topic that is not related to the company, if it stirs a negative emotion among its readers, that negativity may ultimately reflect badly on the goodwill of your company.
While the guidelines cannot exactly be defined due to the unpredictable nature of it all, it is best to refrain from insulting, racist, angry or shallow comments or posts. Remember that this does not only pertain to comments, anything you write on the internet while you are promoting your website should be well judged before being posted. The freedom that the social media allows us should not be misused and thus it is important not to be stupid!
Catering to All Groups – The advantage of the social networks is that they allow you to communicate to all kinds of people and that includes employees (ex, current and aspiring), partners and customers (current and future). This advantage could however become a disadvantage just as well if you are unable to cater to all of these groups via your social networking strategy.
While you re blogging, twitting or posting on Facebook, you need to keep in mind the audience that you are targeting.
Caution Regarding Copyright Issues – Although it goes without saying, one should be extra careful while publishing content, so that the website does not suffer from the effects of copyright infringement acts. Give credit where it’s due and publish original content.
Protection and Confidentiality – Though it is okay to share your plans and ask for feedback when it comes to certain parts of your business, social media should not be a place for sharing your trade secrets. Certain parts of any business are confidential and such info should remain that way. Make sure that neither you nor any of your employees forget that.
There are clear laws against such indiscretion and it is best for the business if you do not find yourself on either side of those laws.
Creating a Friendly Community – The community that you should aim to build via social networking should be a friendly one where everyone involved must feel comfortable enough to share, help and connect. The idea of competition in particular is not ideal for this objective to succeed; therefore, it is best if you avoid it as much as possible.
Aim to build a constructive community of followers who can both help and receive help within the community and in turn become a contributing part of the social interaction.
Make it Useful – According to the experts, the utilization of social media in a business would be incomplete if it fails to provide value or usefulness of some sort. For example, it should be utilized so that it caters to the grievances or complains of customers before it’s too late. It provides the customer a platform to address their unique or unusual problems directly to you.
Apart from problems, potential customers are often looking for recommendations or suggestions based on their specific needs. Social networking websites can be a way for you to reach out to them directly and provide them with suggestions that can not only help the customer make a right choice, but can also help you make a quick sale in the process!
Balance – It would be of little use to the customers and ultimately to the business if the services that you would be promoting via the social networks is not up to the mark or the work you are promising is not the same as you are providing; it will also ruin your reputation and that is the worst thing that can happen to a business. It is for this reason that it is necessary to balance your activities on the social networks with the other parts of your business.
What it means is that though social networking is important today, the core aspects of your business are even more important and thus it should always be so maintained that the latter is never neglected for the former.
While experience will teach you more, these little tips and tricks will get you going. Even if you already know the points mentioned here, check and make sure that you are not missing out on anything, because the little thing that you might be ignoring today could very well turn out be the one thing that sets you back tomorrow.