When it comes to social media, frustration is a word that often comes to mind for many companies new to the medium and to those who have yet to see a return from their involvement.
The problem is two-fold. First, establishing a social media presence takes time and continual effort. You have to be consistent in your involvement with social media and remember that returns never happen overnight. Secondly, you have to make sure that you are using social networking in a way that makes sense for your business and industry.
If you are not sure, ask yourself these simple questions:
1. Are you Using the Correct Platform?
First, remember that there are a variety of social platforms and networks for you to consider – most notably for local businesses are Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Further, within these platforms, there exist variations on the theme. For example, in Facebook, you can have a “Page,” a “Group,” or a “Community.” Each variation has its own set of tools, purposes, and capabilities. In addition, you may decide to participate in several social media platforms at the same time. For example, if you have a fitness center, you may want to use your YouTube channel to publish videos on how to perform certain exercises, or tape specific classes you offer there, while using Facebook to build a sense of community through candid photos, listings of hours, available classes, and upcoming events.
2. Have you Scrapped Past Attempts?
You also need to remember that whatever you take on has to be maintained and updated regularly. This can take up valuable time and human resources. Consistency is key here. If you don’t think you will be able to maintain various platforms (or you have already started and stopped using a platform) be sure to erase or delete those accounts. Otherwise, you stand the risk of eroding your brand value when a customer (either current or potential) stumbles across your forgotten account. Instead, make sure that what you have is the best it can be and do away with anything that you are not actively using and promoting.
3. Do You Provide the Info Your Audience Wants?
Ask yourself what it is that your audience would want to read, not what you want to tell them. Providing discounts or having giveaways can be useful, but you have to have more substance than that. Consider posting facts about your company, the brand, or its products. Think of the tidbits of information you encounter everyday that make you stop and say, “Really?” Examples include fun facts about how long you have been in business, what happens “behind the scenes”, why your business operates as it does (e.g. why spin class was canceled on Tuesdays, why you don’t serve chocolate bagels, why you buy local, why legal documents are presented in blue card stock), etc.
4. Are You Listening to Your Audience?
Likewise, are you listening to your audience? When they make a post, do you respond? Do you stay on top of when your company is mentioned on other websites, blogs, social media, etc., and make relevant comments to that affect (on that site and yours)? Social media has developed because of the continued interaction it affords. This is what web 2.0 is all about. Its purpose is not to simply broadcast, but rather give people a voice in things they would otherwise not be privy to.
5. Do You Allow Your Customers a Voice?
Similarly, make sure that you give your audience a voice. Ask open-ended questions, run surveys and polls, include them in new product decisions, etc. – the more things like this you do, the more valued your audience will feel. A two-way street of communication is imperative, as interaction is the most fundamental part of a successful social media campaign. If you miss out on this, you’re already out of the game.
Social Media can be a key part of growing your business and brand to attract local consumers. Local internet marketing isn’t just about having a website, it includes being findable in multiple places when local consumers are looking for your product or service. A local search marketing firm such as Spears Marketing can help you determine the best route for your online marketing plan.