This post is part of our January blog challenge, to join in, simply post a blog a day for the month of January. If you want to dip your toes in, post as many as you can!
The most amusing thing about working in social media is that many of the things you learn are pretty much real life common sense - it's just doing the work that's the barrier most people need to break through to experience success from social media.
If I were to tell you that you only need to do three things to be successful in social media, would you believe me? Well, hear me out...
Key criteria to ensure social media success
The three key social media concepts that you need to stick to are:
- Good quality and engaging content
- Consistency of content
- Giving to your community
Sounds simple, doesn't it? It really isn't rocket science, but the challenge is in the execution. You have to be extremely disciplined to actually make sure all three criteria are met.
Good quality and engaging content
Good quality and engaging content can come from a variety of sources but some will still need to be created by yours truly. To make this easier for you, ensure you follow some good quality sites with content you can repost. Alternate this with content produced by yourself to save time. This is not a small task, a blog article can take up an hour to type up, a promotional picture will take your designers time, and higher-end content like infographics and videos can take months to produce.
If you are time-strapped and don't have the resources a combination of blog posts and sharing quirky and interesting images and articles can be sufficient to kick off your social media. Don't forget that photos you can take around your office with a smartphone can also make for interesting content - you just need to be willing to share that part of your business with your customers. This, however, builds a lot of trust and customers can actually see what goes on in your office or behind the business - this behind the scenes stuff actually makes customers feel like they know you better and therefore are more likely to buy from you.
Consistency of content
This is one of the toughest to master - since I find the "going on Facebook" is the first to go out the window when times get busy. Even though social media seems like a whole lot of fun and games, if you treat it like a business, you will get results and that means not throwing it out the window when times get tough and things get busy. Stick to a schedule if you know you will be busy there are lots of tools you can use to schedule your content and prepare it ahead of time. For example, you will be reading this article while I'm off on holidays in Japan, I just typed it up beforehand and spend a few minutes posting it up when I found the internet.
The best analogy to use is a TV show - you watch a TV show because you know it will be on every week at 7:30 on Wednesday so you make time to go see it and watch it. You enjoy knowing that it will be on and you get excited waiting for it. also every Wednesday you never get disappointed because it always comes on and if it can't - the TV station will try and let you know the week before that it won't be on. Treat your social media like this.
Even though you have a small audience pretend that they are looking forward to your updates, don't disappoint them because if you are unpredictable with your updates, it actually disengages your audience because they don't know when to expect something from you, and they won't have the time to keep checking.
Giving to your community
I think this is the action that small business are guilty of violating simply because time is money - and if you aren't making it, you are wasting your time. This mentality of squeezing sales out of social media will actually be the reason why you are not doing well in your social media efforts. If you are always thinking about making a sale to your audience ironically, you won't, because they will smell it from a mile away.
Think of the social media landscape as a networking function - good networkers will tell you never to sell immediately and people want to know that you are interested in them and want to help them before they will open their wallets to you. Good networkers also know that sometimes they need to help the potential client get something of value before they can consider pitching their product. I find these people on LinkedIn all the time. They respond to my connection request with a "Hey, what can I do to help you?", this gives me a warm and fuzzy and I'm inclined to be more open to what they are saying. If you help enough those people, they will be curious as to what you actually do and feel like they need to give back to you in some way - this is the perfect moment to strike.
There are also a lot of sales made via social media is not actually tracked because most people do research online and then buy offline or call. However, they are interested in you because you had a few great testimonials from customers online (not on your site) either via Facebook comments, tweets or blogs. Remember to always give much more than you take, and the rewards will come, no one wants to do business with the self-promoter that is only interested in themselves.
I will now get off my high horse and share with you how challenging these 3 simple steps really are - they will be challenging for you, especially fitting them into your busy schedule, and the sales and benefits may not come for a little while and it'll take some time to build up. But I'm a firm believer in that if you are not doing this and taking part in social media already, you will be one step behind in the future.
To get cracking on your social media, don't forget to join our January blog challenge by simply blogging. To create a new blog post simple use this create new article link when you are signed in.
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