We all know how important social media is to your marketing strategy. Social media offers the best, most personal means of engaging with your customers and fans, and if you haven’t already established your presence on social media, it’s more than worth your while to do so. Once you have that, though, it can be hard to know just how best to capitalize on it. You’re sharing your company’s blog, you’re keeping your followers updated on industry news—what more can you do? Here are some tips for streamlining and innovating your approach to social media marketing.
1. Make sure you’re automating the right things. Social media automation is a profoundly helpful way to save you time when managing your social media strategy—otherwise, posting on all your social media accounts on schedule would be among the most daunting tasks on your to-do list. That said, too much automation reduces the quality of your posts and the personality of your social media presence. Search Engine Watch has some good tips on what to automate and what to do the old-fashioned way, and we’re inclined to agree with them. The top automation tip is to put your posts on a schedule using a service such as Buffer or Hootsuite, which will save you the trouble of having to continuously post throughout the week to all of your brand’s accounts. On the flip side, the most important thing NOT to automate is your responses to fans’ comments and tweets. Bank of America recently learned that lesson the hard way after sending an automated response to one man’s tweet about Bank of America forcing his house’s foreclosure. Those kind of mistakes can seriously damage your company’s reputation. That doesn’t mean you don’t deserve some help in finding those comments to begin with; social listening tools are a great way to make sure you don’t miss a customer’s words of praise or complaint.
2. Take advantage of employee advocacy—if your employees are willing. While it is never acceptable to mandate that your employees like you on Facebook or follow you on Twitter with their personal accounts, employees frequently want to support their company on social media of their own volition. Encouraging that interaction can be extremely helpful to your social media efforts, as well as to your work environments. Consumers trust employee recommendations far more than recommendations made by your company’s media spokesperson, viewing those recommendations to be more authentic. As an added bonus, employee advocacy programs keep your employees more actively engaged and invested in your company’s success.
3. Encourage user-generated content to create natural social buzz around your brand. Social media is a two-way channel; it’s not just another place to blast media at your fans and customers, but a place to have a conversation with users. What makes social so powerful is your fans, when they talk about, interact with, and build a community around your brand. Click Z makes this exact point in a recent article, citing that social media marketing frequently boils down to “too much media, not enough social.” The best way to avoid that is to encourage your fans to interact with your brand and each other by creating their own content—contests, crowdsourcing things such as product names, and spotlighting product testimonials are all great ways to encourage the buzz and make your fans feel included. Warby Parker, an online eyeglasses company, came up with a creative way to generate buzz with their “Home Try-On” campaign, allowing customers to try on multiple pair of frames at home and encouraging them to post pictures to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, asking their friends which pair looks best. What will you come up with?
Ensuring that your social media strategy is effective at raising brand awareness, creating buzz, and generating leads is vitally important to your overall marketing strategy. The important thing with social, as with other aspects of marketing, is to think outside the box and make sure that your online presence is friendly, human, and grabs the attention of your would-be followers. And if your brand’s social media presence could use some help, InSegment has the expertise to optimize your social media and help your brand gain the online recognition it needs.