TEN TOP TIPS : How Businesses Can Use Social Media

Social media are no longer reserved for teenagers discussing the latest fads – they have become phenomenon that will either help or harm your business, depending on how you use them.
With the advent of what has been labelled “Web 2.0” (or interactive web use), you no longer just type question into search engine and find the answer, you find an answer, share it with your friends and ask for their input. This has also opened the way to go one level further.
Web 3.0 is all about semantics – rather than just responding to queries, search engine will try to understand your nature, your social footprint, your sentiments, before it spits out response. While scouring the net for people, places, and things and determining the relationships between them, new search engine technology can understand the feelings associated with them, positive or negative.
So you can see how critical social media are going to be for businesses that want to remain competitive. If you follow these 10 tips, your business will make the most of this new environment.

1. Define your reason to be on social networks Social media marketing is not suitable for every business. The fact that your neighbour has Facebook page does not mean you should create one. If your target market uses social media avidly then yes, you should too. But if it doesn’t, find other marketing avenues.

2. Select which platform to use There are more than 100 social media platforms, each with its own flavour – some users like Facebook, others like Bebo, while another group is more into MySpace. Once you know that your target market is using social media, the next step is to find out which platform is most popular.

3. Develop strategy Many businesses use social media with no strategy at all – they read somewhere that social media are the next big thing and they jump on the band wagon. You will get the most out of social media if you ask yourself the following questions:
•What do I want to achieve?
•Will I focus on building brand awareness or do I want to generate direct sales?
•Who in my team will manage this channel?
•How much budget will I allocate?

4. Pull together the resources needed Social media networking, just like real world networking requires work and long-term strategy. You need team of people who will manage the process, because it’s very easy to get sucked into the social media black hole. Develop the strategy and then let the experts execute it.

5. Track and measure There’s nothing worse than having an investment that cannot be measured – thankfully there are many tools available to measure performance on social media networks. For example, if your strategy was to simply find blogs that talk about relevant issues and comment on them, you could use combination of Technorati (tells you how many times something is mentioned) and Google Analytics (tells you how many of your comments directed people to your website).

6. Thou shalt not assume Most of us have heard that when you assume, you make an “ass” of “u” and “me”. This is so true for social media networking. You need to let your strategy roll for at least three months before making any major changes. It takes while for social media traffic to produce results. If you act on any assumptions about what’s working and what’s not during this time, you will end up paying dearly down the track.

7. Experience it yourself good way to understand social media is to experience it yourself. Depending on which strategy best suits you, you could have blog or social media profile or Twitter profile or all of the above (as I do). As you use these media you will discover things that you may not have thought of before.

8. Keep an open mind In the early days of your exposure to social media you will come across suggested strategies that surprise you. I suggest you hear every suggestion with an open mind and make judgement based on tips 1, 2 and 3.

9. Build community, not sales channel Imagine if everyone in your target market was your friend – how would you interact with them? Would you bombard them with continuous sales pitches or would you make an honest effort to share information they might find useful.
If your target market does not find value in what you say then no one will come back. The magic is to develop strategy based on adding value, not just ad-hoc sales and marketing promos. So say less, do more, and build community.

10. Whatever you do, do it with integrity Social media are so powerful that one wrong move can ruin your online reputation. Understand your market, develop strategy, find the right people, say the right things and most importantly – do it with integrity.

Manas Kumar is CEO of Genesis Interactive. www.genesisweb.co.nz. You can read his blog at giceo.wordpress.com and follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/giceo

Visited 2 times, 1 visit(s) today

Business benefits of privacy

Privacy Week (13-17 May) is a great time to consider the importance of privacy and to help ensure you and your company have good privacy practices in place, writes Privacy

Read More »
Close Search Window