Us social media guys are pretty easy-going. We get to assist clients with some of the most fun projects in the agency. And we really hate to be downers and get all Social Media 101 on you. But it’s also our job to educate people about what being social in a digital world really means—because it’s not always as obvious as it seems. So in case you’re wondering what we consider the key principles, here are 5 things you should know about social media.
Having social platforms doesn’t make you social.
Unfortunately, many folks out there think social media is a magic pill. But just because you can do social media doesn’t mean you should.
Social media is about more than having a Twitter page. It’s about having a value chain that is social to the core. Get everyone involved, from customer service to marketing to c-level executives. True transparency is key to being social.
Your social media is only as good as your product and service.
In the past (before digital), your advertising alone declared the quality of your product and service. Nowadays, thanks to the Internet, it’s easy to distinguish quality products made by quality brands versus the other guys. Be prepared to have a conversation with your audience, listen to their feedback and act on it when necessary. Focus on making a great product and your social media will reflect that.
Stop valuing Facebook likes more than real engagement.
A bustling community of likes provides social proof and authority, and in social media, social proof and authority are the name of the game. But likes aren’t important for the reasons many think.
Remember that a like is a basic agreement on the part of the consumer to receive content from a company—similar to an email opt-in but less valuable since with Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm, roughly 16% of a page’s “likers” actually see that page’s content. Which means that engaging each liker is more important than racking up likes. Otherwise, you are talking to a room of people who just aren’t listening. Therefore…
Put more effort toward content than campaigning for likes.
We all know that content is king and context is queen. The single most important thing about maintaining a successful social media presence is producing good content. That’s it. It sounds simple but often it’s the primary reason a social media property fails.
Avoid stifling your content with brand standards and legal requirements. Take risks to connect to people—real human risks. Even if they could, people don’t want to talk to brands; they want to talk to other people. And give your community an experience they can’t get anywhere else. If your Twitter stream provides only the same information and promotions as your newsletter, then why should they follow you?
So many social networks, so little time.
Being on a lot of social networks is not important. In fact, it’s just ridiculous. Are you really going to effectively manage all of those spaces? Instead of worrying about all the social networks you want to be on, why not worry about the one (or two) where you’ll be most effective? Stick to one or two and optimize what you do there. As your content gets better and better, your community will become more meaningful—and valuable.
And never underestimate the value of a blog. There are few businesses out there that wouldn’t benefit from one. Remember, you are the authority in your industry, so who better to write about it than you? Write helpful posts that deliver thought leadership customized for your audience. And integrate all of your social media efforts into your blog and site. This is how you close the loop and create a meaningful (and profitable) social media presence.
So that’s what your social media team wishes you knew. Tell them you agree, and you’ll be on the road to an exciting and successful social adventure!