Social media: the key is integration
Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, FourSquare, Reddit, Tumblr, Yammer – social networking has been one of our century’s biggest cultural revolutions.
Some businesses have been quick to recognise the opportunity offered by these sites to reach a wider audience, and as a result reaped rich rewards. For other companies however, the process has been more of a slow burner.
I believe social media is a powerful tool that not only boosts brand recognition but also allows a company to better engage with multiple stakeholders in a more personal way. While there are examples of how social media can go wrong, the chances are that your brand, or the sector you’re working in, is already being spoken about so it’s worthwhile entering the conversation before your competitors do.
However, I would like to offer a word of caution. While social media can be hugely beneficial to businesses – both b2c and b2b – there is a danger that companies treat it as a separate entity instead of integrating into wider marketing activities.
Social media should be treated just like any other part of the marketing mix. There should be a defined target audience, clear targets and an evaluation process to monitor your progress and assess which channels are working the best.
Once you’ve selected your social media channels it’s important to remember there are some golden rules: provide good content, engage with relevant people, always add value and be quick at responding. Although social media is usually free, never underestimate the time it takes to implement a successful campaign.
At Business Environment, we’ve found blogging and twitter two particularly effective tools that complement each other perfectly, as well as fit in with our wider marketing activities.
The art of blogging
Blogs are a great way to give customers something for nothing. It’s important to ensure you get the tone right and that your blog addresses relevant topics that add value for readers – this helps you become an opinion-leader and a trusted source of information. Blogs can also be a way to talk about other activities your company does, for example charity work, green initiatives and employee achievements.
What’s more, blogs build a bank of content that can be used elsewhere – in print and digital newsletters, in marketing collateral, as a basis for articles in the press, as links on other social media channels.
Tips for twitter
According to a recent report by the Office for National Statistics and Eurostat, half of UK adults use Facebook and Twitter – demonstrating the huge potential these channels hold for businesses. Twitter in has enabled us to engage with our customers and prospects, as well as other influencers such as our charity partners and journalists. Here are some of our top tips for making the most out of twitter:
- Have a real opinion on a story, don’t just repeat what’s out there
- Make sure your tone is in line with your followers
- Don’t just tweet about your products – make sure you’re offering useful business information
- Respond quickly and timely to questions
- Vary your content – pictures and videos often get some of the best click-through rates
- Link back to your company – drive traffic to your website and promote your blog.