There’s been much speculation recently into the true ROI of social media. From The Onion’s hilarious video about Social Media ‘Gurus’ to IBM’s claim that social media had limited contribution to Black Friday sales, social media has taken a bashing!
On the flip side, 2012 is the year that social media went from the bedroom to the boardroom. We know social media is becoming more and more important; customers are becoming increasingly engaged with brands on social media, and after Google’s Penguin and Panda algorithm updates, social signals are becoming an increasingly important ranking factor.
So now is the time to take social seriously, with the New Year loaming we’ve put together our top 5 social media resolutions for 2013:
1. Don’t buy friends. It doesn’t work in life and it certainly won’t work on social media.
We’re highly surprised about the number of people who still think this works. The whole point of having a lot of social fans is to have people to interact with, support your brand and to automatically think of you when they need to purchase your product.
With Facebook and Twitter cracking down on ‘fake’ profiles it’s likely that those expensive likes will be disappearing quicker than you can click the like button.
Offer incentives. Running competitions doesn’t always mean paying for low quality likes. Rather than offering a ridiculously expensive or totally unrelated prize, offer something that won’t leave you out of pocket and will appeal to your target audience. Your products are always the preferable choice as the winner will show it off to all their friends – great positive exposure to a new audience!
2. It is not just a side dish.
The days of doing ad hoc social media are over. You should either do it properly or not at all. Stale profiles are a wasted effort; they look unprofessional, give no value to existing customers and look as if your company could no longer exist. A poorly managed page will also open the gateway for complaints. You don’t want to want to do an Odeon!
Have a crisis plan. Nobody is perfect and it’s naive to think that everything will always be rosy. One of the most common uses for social media is customer support, you need a plan to deal with customer enquiries and complaints efficiently otherwise they will escalate. The very basic marketing principal of responding to customers effectively to turn the negative into a big fat positive is even better on social media as the whole world can see.
3. Give them something to talk about.
Content is king, if we had a pound for every time we heard this then we wouldn’t be working writing this blog! But what does it mean?! Having a blog and social media channels gives your brand a voice; it gives you the opportunity to communicate with customers in real time, show off your expertise in your field and present yourself as a knowledgeable, friendly and trustworthy brand.
Be organised. Great content doesn’t just spring itself on you. You’re not always going to have something phenomenal to say, however social media can support all your existing efforts. Have a plan and schedule in important updates so they don’t get missed off. Write about industry news, company news, insights into working with your brand and any offers or promotions that you’re running. Your social media fans have opted to listen to what you have to say, so make sure they’re the first to know anything important.
4. Know the law
With great power comes great responsibility, social media law is a grey area and is only going to become more important. Read up on the laws surrounding social media competitions, check what you’re writing isn’t offensive or defamatory and reference a source if using content produced by someone else. If you’re ever worried then get a second opinion, once something is posted online it’s there to stay.
5. Set Goals…
To have a “successful” social media presence you need to have a goal. That said the impacts of social media are notoriously difficult to count. You can’t measure the effect of people seeing your brand through social reach, or how much more likely they are to buy from you if they’ve seen their friends buy from you.
Don’t do it just for the sales. If you’re doing social media purely for sales then you’ll never succeed or ever get the point of having a real social media presence.
Social media is still in its infancy. This internet has given customers 24 hour purchasing power, along with a vast variety of ‘shops’ to purchase their goods. This freedom means consumers are putting a significant amount of time into researching what and where to buy, your social media channels need to pass this research test to show that you’re brand is worthy of their time and money.
It’s more than worth effort if you want to truly engage with your customers and offer them a seamless shopping experience. If you don’t fancy social media then just leave it to your competitors…