Are You Ready To Get Social?
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An urgently buzzed about element of having an online presence is the social one: whether via an external network or your own personal hub, interacting with others in the online space is a valuable way to define and perpetuate your brand, promote your services, and stay on top of what’s going on in your industry. That part is obvious. But each time a new network or technology bubbles to the top of the internet murmur, there’s a group that implies it must be adopted if you don’t wish to fade away into online obscurity.
The more of these that appear on the scene, the less possible it is to participate in every single one, nor would you want to. While I think it’s important to be aware of the options available to you, equally important is to understand their value to your brand and the benefits and pitfalls of the individual services. Whether you’re a business-of-one or the social media manager for a large corporation, you have finite time and energy to spend with online engagement. Make sure you’re doing so purposefully and strategically, and not just getting caught up in others’ enthusiasm.
Before getting involved in any social media avenue, some things you’ll want to consider are:
Content – are you regularly generating new ideas, projects or products to talk about? Attending events? Finding articles or other websites that might be of use to your target clients?
Audience – Who is your target demographic? Where are they likely to fall on the social media scale – do they spend the day Liking things on Facebook, or do they not understand why people “twit” on Twitter and prefer to pick up the phone? Are they apt to be visually oriented, sharers, commenters?
Time – Realistically, you only have so much time in your workday – how much of that are you willing to spend being Social? Do you have regular time daily, a couple of times a week, or is a monthly drive-by the most you can cope with? Is there someone else at your company who might have more time and interest? Is it worth outsourcing?
Brand – Hopefully, you’ve got an idea of how you want to portray your business “personality” already, and have been using it to drive other elements of your marketing activities. How does this translate to a Social Media Voice? Do you keep your interaction businesslike, relatively formal; adhere to sharing only items specifically pertaining to your industry or company? Or are you friendly, chatty, maybe a little irreverent? Do you want to appear accessible, or maintain a level of gravitas?
Goals – What do you hope to gain from this additional activity? Exposure or more hits on Google? Establish a relationship with clients? Expand your brand concept? Provide more direct customer service? Networking with others in your industry?
If you feel you’re at a loss for potential content, spend some time thinking about why you want to get involved on a particular social channel, beyond “I hear it’s the thing to do”, and who you want to be involved with, at least initially. Next, think about what type of content would be useful to your audience. Remember, all of these channels may evolve over time, but the more targeted you can be in the beginning, the more likely you are to be adding value rather than wasting valuable time or creating something you need to counteract later.
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