Social networks began on college campuses. It didn’t take long for them to become part of our daily lives. A few years later, we were connected with friends on the other side of the world. The networks then went through a commercial revolution, where companies realized their connectivity, and how many prospective customers they could reach.
The brains behind social networks realized companies would pay to place advertisements on their networks. This led to the marriage of social networks and business. That marriage led to the birth of social media marketing. Social media marketing has grown up from the awkwardness of adolescence. Gone are the days of lamenting about adolescent issues (like competition for popularity and learning who can be trusted).
Social media marketing now is into adulthood. It knows its role among its peers (print marketing, websites, etc.), is aware of its importance in society, and knows that it has expectations to live up to.
But how does all of this impact companies?
Here’s a little secret – social media has always been social. For years, many companies bypassed this unspoken principle. They simply repeated a strategy they’ve used in other forms of marketing – promoting the company, its products and services. This strategy worked for a short time on social networks.
But social media currently is undergoing a renaissance, returning to why social networks started in the first place. Social media is getting back to social.
It sounds sexy – renaissance. But to companies still trying to understand social media, it’s probably intimidating. Why should your company be more social on social media? Social media helps companies connect on a personal level to gain the trust and loyalty of their customers.
Rhetorical question alert: Does your company want more trusting, loyal customers?
The good news: A social media marketing strategy that gets your company “back to social” can be implemented with just a little time and a few tweaks to an existing social media campaign.
Here are five ways to get you started.
- First, step back— Look at your current strategy. If you’re posting information only about your company, you’ll need new content. Some ideas for getting back to social:
-Pictures from a company social event
-Blogs about client accomplishments
-Videos of your staff doing volunteer work in your community
-Information about community social events
- Plan— You must have a social media marketing plan that includes the who, what, when, where and why of your company. Who will your company target and who will implement the plan? What content will you post? Where will this content come from? Where will you engage with your audience? When will you post? Why are you doing social media marketing?
- Have some fun— Just like social gatherings, social networks are built for fun. Social media is the place to shake the corporate jargon and use terms like “LOL.” Sometimes a situation will arise that requires a more serious response, but most of the time, have fun.
- Engage — If your company only talks about itself on social media, congratulations, you’re officially on a Soap Box. Instead of telling your social media followers about your company, ask them questions, listen, and then respond. It’s a great way to get to know your followers, and it makes your company seem more personable. People buy from brands they connect with on a personal level.
- If they don’t come to you, go to them — Social networks are filled with gatherings of people with similar interests (LinkedIn Groups, Facebook pages, etc.). If your company finds it difficult to attain social media followers, go out and get them. Begin with geographic groups based on your home city. Start conversations with your target audience where they already hang out online, and they’ll come to you online.
The social media renaissance has begun. Get your company back to social and experience the opportunities and rewards of social media marketing.