Many of my clients want to create a page on Facebook, because they see it as a free way of exposing their products and services to potential customers. How many times have you been asked by someone you are friends with to “like” some arbitrary page? You do it out of a sense of politeness, in the hope that they are not going to pee with the exuberance of a puppy all over your news feeds.
Many pages start off enthusiastically and the dwindle into the metaphorical attic, never to see daylight again, but at least “we have a Facebook page – check social media box”.
The ability to post on social media is a right, stealing your audience’s valuable time and attention is not.
There are no hard and fast rules, but in my experimentation I have developed six guidelines to effective social media management. The list is by no means finite.
1. Be the DJ
For those of you who listen to the radio, you do so to be entertained and informed. Consider who you or your company are and entertain your audience in the same way as radio DJ’s do. What would they find interesting? Why should they see what you put out there? Are they really interested in being spammed with product price lists?
If you keep them entertained, they will look forward to seeing your posts in the clutter that is social media. You will be top of mind when they are in the market for your offerings.
2. Take a strategic approach
Just because it is on Facebook doesn’t mean that your brand is frivolous. It actually means that you are even closer to your (potential) clients. Decide why you want to use social media; is it to position your brand in a certain way, or to enhance your relationships with your clients?
You cannot allocate a junior resource to manage your social media brand. This is particularly true if you have a knowledge brand like universities, ICT’s, media, pharmaceuticals, finance houses, management consultancies etc. You need someone with the experience and strategic insight to represent your brand in real time on line.
3. Not everyone is going to like you
It is impossible to be all things to all people, but you can improve your relevance to the groups of people who follow you. Experiment with your posts and see who “likes”, “retweets” what.
Your audience consists of real people. Divide them up by demographics or into other groups that make sense and try different things. Some people respond to comedy, others to interesting articles. Look at what other people are doing and who responds to them. This will let you improve the value you provide your audience.
Of course you can’t see the lurkers who just watch what you are going, but then that is the nature of the beast. There will also always be people who don’t appreciate your efforts. If they are not your target audience, it is OK if they go. If, however you find yourself losing friends and followers who you would like to keep, you need to question the quality of your work.
Comment on what other people are doing, retweet and like what they are saying. People like responses and validation. The magic of social media lies in your ability to have conversations.
5. Be real
Organisations are not people. The choice of your digital presence depends on who you are. Are you your brand or is it a separate entity, an amalgamation of the people behind the brand?
The people within the organisation should be visible behind the brand if you decide to create a company page.
Organisations can make announcements about events and competitions, but real people should ask questions, joke or comment.
6. Be present
Decide what the optimum number of posts should be and be prepared to put the time in. Make time to engage with your audience regularly.
Social media is an incredibly powerful marketing tool, but it is not necessarily an easy one. It takes time, effort and strategic insight to reap the rewards. It doesn’t replace your real world marketing, but should seamlessly complement your physical engagement with your customers.
About Digital Bridges
Digital Bridges creates high performance organisations by unlocking the business value of the web. We create digital strategies, user requirement and functional specifications for Intranets, websites and web applications. We also develop and implement social media strategies and create powerful digital brands using eMarketing and Communication and manage brand conversations with consumers.
Digital Bridges approaches the web from a management consulting position and relies heavily on rigorous academic thinking as well as business experience. It is headed up by Kate Elphick who has a Law degree and an MBA from GIBS. Kate has spent the last fifteen years of her career on the business side of the IT industry with companies such as Datatec, Didata, Business ConneXion and Primedia.
Digital Bridges has a broad range of experience working with significant, successful clients in the Financial, Gaming, Tourism, Pharmaceutical, ICT, Legal, Airline, Professional Services, Media and Public Sectors.
To find out more about Digital Bridges, please visit www.digitalbridges.co.za or contact Kate Elphick on firstname.lastname@example.org