April 30, 2013 by katwaters
How do your social media channels in a virtual world support results in the real world?
As I’ve written elsewhere (A Profile on a Pittance) despite the fact that social media accounts are mostly free to set up, there is a cost to pursuing social media channels: the time you need to spend updating your feeds and engaging with your followers. Simply posting information about your organisation/product/service is not enough. How will you reach the people who will support your business or campaign? Here are some thoughts based on my experience:
- Be clear about what you want to achieve from your social media channels: You might want all your social media channels to support your organisational goal of getting more people to your events, or you might want different channels to achieve different things, but all need to link to your organisational objectives (and your other communications activities). Your goals will dictate the ‘cost’ of your social media engagement: the time you spend on them and how that time is apportioned. Having clear goals will make it easier to evaluate whether you are having the effect you want, and whether you need to tailor your social media presence. It also makes you think about what you are offering and helps you to articulate it to your potential buyers/clients. This applies to all communication activities.
- Follow people who might be interested in what you are offering and those who will talk for you: Really obvious, eh? Although there are plenty of people offering to find you thousands of followers, the overriding advice is that quality is better than quantity. Those ‘high quality’ targets are more likely to follow you back, actively engage with you and buy whatever you are ‘selling’ i.e. engage with you in the real world. Lower numbers of followers are easier to monitor, to engage with and get feedback from. You also need to follow your local paper, specialist media, journalists and bloggers. Assigning categories to those you are following makes it easier to get engaged in their conversations, and, in turn, engage them with what you are offering.
- Do promotion in the real world linking to your social media channels: Social media is just one element of your communications. Using ‘offline’ methods such as media relations, networking, and advertising means you can reach those who are not constantly online in your potential audience (there are still some!). It also helps to reinforce your message for those who ‘saw’ you online first. Include your social media channels in your real world promotion so that interested people can keep up-to-date with you.
- Keep your content fresh with words, pictures, sound, video…: You need to keep your social media channels updated. This keeps you in your followers’ minds as every time you post, as content appears in their ‘feed’. And because people are following so many others, and the way some social media channels operate, you may need to post the same content several times to make sure you reach the majority of your followers. Producing a rolling social media publication schedule helps with this.
I hope this gives you a few pointers to think about. There’s loads of informative articles and advice on Mashable and Social Media Examiner. If you’d like to find out how I may be able to help your organisation, please visit my website.