Not that long ago we had to rely on our memory, address books and day planners to keep our social circles in order. Not anymore. Social media is advancing not only myriads of personal and professional connections instantaneously, but offering ready to use tools to manage networks and disseminate concise messages to help businesses grow.
Regardless of its ease of use and pervasiveness, social media needs to be managed. The answer to how depends on the goals of each user. In order to stay current or get ahead, it pays to be familiar with certain social behaviors that will help grow your personal brand, as well as your bottom line.
We will explore where most personal agendas originate and how they expand to more complex levels of organization with a wider reach and increased scope.
1. Focus on Content. Social media is a great leveler in that it includes everyone who has access to the Internet and the desire to be a part of a network. In an ever-expanding world of data (almost 3 quintillion bytes of data are created each day – that’s 1 followed by 18 zeros) filled with pools of ideas, opinions, reactions and overreactions, it is easy to imagine how your stellar tweet or award winning blog can get lost in the deluge. Thus, the quality of the piece, and the relevance of what it conveys, grows in significance. For that, self-awareness and clarity of mind plays a role in helping define the purpose of sharing. Now, even a quality piece with good intentions can fall on deaf ears, or blind eyes, if the author forces the audience to read it. Therefore, it would be wise to break your message down into high quality, easy digestible bits and share them in a way that catches a readers attention
2. Share with Integrity. “Know Thyself,” reads the stele outside of the Temple of Apollo at the Oracle of Delphi. The Greeks had it right. Self-knowledge brings immense value, as it is the first step towards mastery of information and relationships, both of which arise from a rooted sense of authenticity. How are we to choose if we don’t realize what’s important to us? There is no need to worry about how viral our tweets become when authentic sharing ensures that the right people will find us at the right time. The generated resonance will foster genuine connections, breed generosity via sharing and result in the creation of spontaneous communities. Thus, be authentic, present your best value and your people shall find you!
3. Build Trust. According to a report by Gartner, 43% of marketers surveyed say that social marketing is a top activity that contributes to marketing success. But for 2014, Gartner believes that it will be the moment of trust for decision-based dialogue between companies and customers, providing them with paths for purposeful connections. Thus, facilitating dialogue via quick and concise engagement, offering customer support and using feedback to fine tune marketing campaigns, product launches and general brand perception will yield significant payoff to those who do pay attention and know how to locate and respond to relevant data. As a stakeholder in a commercial enterprise, you will greatly benefit if you recognize that investing in social media tools that foster engagement is no longer a luxury, but a necessity. Each time you lend a hand to a customer that struggles with your product or service, or reach out to provide clarity, you build trust. And that, we all know, is priceless.
4. Trend Towards Prescription. Since the dawn of commerce, companies and organizations have been focused on collecting and analyzing descriptive metrics on their clients. Whether it’s using a Sumerian clay tablet to chronicle the number of sheep sold or using Wall Street data charts to display the average spending of various populations, aggregating data is as much a part of business as the product itself. In the post-modern world of big data where the metric yields are particularly high and easier to crunch, the question of “what?” no longer suffices. The “so what?” grows in value as companies seek new ways to compete by identifying gaps within their enterprises, zooming on specific problems and isolating trending events that if left alone could potentially spiral out of control. Thus the technologies that surface actionable insights become our digital gatekeepers that help shepherd their application.
5. Seize the Conversion Opportunity. The use of Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook ads to reach targeted audiences is gaining momentum. So is the proliferation of hashtags and location based social media like FourSquare and Yelp. Automatically issuing coupons or promotions for customers on social networks has been a great way to reward clientele willing to lend their social reach via check-ins and showcasing their brand loyalty. For consumer brands, using image networks such as Instagram and Pinterest to peak interest in the products, uploading videos and blogs and connecting with online influencers has proven to be of great benefit to overall marketing spread. Still, the viral replication of content can only gain in tangible value if a company is able to reach out and connect directly with its customers. Such personal touch has the power of turning distant brands to relatable entities to “friend.”
Generating quality content and sharing with authenticity should always be at the center of a sound marketing strategy that will lend itself to a moment-of-trust dialogue and perhaps even lead to decision-based insight. Borrowing from the concept of paying-it-forward, I’d like to end by emphasizing the value of social media generosity. In other words, if you want your reach to grow, spread the word of those who share your vision!
Social Media Marketing Analyst