Every business has a story to tell: who you are, what you do and where you are going. Nobody can tell your story better than you. And with the age of social media, you now have, more than ever, the opportunity to tell the world about your business or organization. Social media is key in telling your story, yet so many organizations are now saying: “We have social media; what now?” These simple steps will show you how, when and where on how to build your brand on social media.
1.Go where your audience is: It’s important to identify the digital platforms your target audience gravitates toward so you can meet them there. Contrary to what you may think, digital media is not just the latest craze for high school and college kids. Those 25 and over account for 84 percent of Twitter users, and the fastest-growing demographic for Facebook is people over 35. More than 5 billion pieces of content, such as videos, blog posts and outside links, are shared on Facebook every week. So take the time to do your research, listen and find out which social media platforms your target audience uses the most. Then build your marketing plan around those platforms.
2.Dialog with your audience: If your organization wants to successfully utilize social media, you have to create a dialog. Don’t just use digital media to inform people about what is new, what is next or what discount is now available. Add content that your target audience will value, whether it’s links to other sites, informative videos or encouraging blogs. Ask thought-provoking questions and solicit opinions about your posts. And always, always respond to any and all comments your fans leave on your organization’s Web sites. The more your fans feel connected to you, the more they’ll tell others about what you’re doing!
3.Start a groundswell: Your organization has a built-in, ready-to-go fan base—your digital media fans and followers. People become loyal digital fans when they or their kids have had a positive experience with you. Empower these people to talk about your organization and what makes you unique. Ask them to guest blog for you, post about you on their Facebook wall and Tweet about you. This will add valuable content to your search engine results, as well as exposing your organization to people who will listen to your fans but not you.
4.Enlist your staff: Seventy-five percent of your staff already has their own Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and Four Square accounts, and many of them are actively blogging. Ask them to spread the word about the events, offerings, philosophy and culture of your organization. But set up guidelines to encourage your staff to be conscientious of what they are posting and how it reflects on your organization. Help them understand what’s acceptable to post and the damage that could come from a careless comment or photo posting.
5.Look ahead: Build on your current marketing strategy. Move ahead of the conversation by listening for new opportunities to meet your digital media fans’ desires and requests. Supplement conventional forms of media like print and traditional events like home shows, open houses or conventions, with social media. By combining traditional and digital media, you’ll get a better return on your marketing money.