It’s easy toÂ assume that just because you have a profile on a site and you put up a certain number of posts, you can check social media off your to-do list. But is anyone out there listening to you? Are you making the best use of your time and energy? Are you missing out on the real opportunities social media offers? You need more than a profile; you need the right strategy. James Andrews, a managing partner of the Atlanta-based social media communications company Everywhere, blogs and tweets as the “Key Influencerâ€ while helping companies develop social media strategies. He gives you three steps to doing it right:
1. Listen first.
One of the advantages of social media is “the ability to listen to the market and listen to customer complaints,â€ Andrews says, so you want to follow your competitors, people in your industry, and your customers. “You wouldn’t walk into a party and go ‘Hey, I’m here, and you need to know me.’ Right? It’s the same way with Twitter. You walk in and you listen first to what’s happening in the conversation and then you step in and you add something that’s insightful and thoughtful and interesting.â€
2. Find your voice.
“Are you coming off sounding like a human, or do you sound like a press release?â€ Andrews asks. It’s important to pay attention to how you sound on social media sites, because people want to feel like they’re connecting with a real person, not a computer posting automated updates or an advertisement trying to sell them something. Determine what’s your voice, what’s your tonality, and what’s your persona. “You don’t want to transfer your marketing language over to your Facebook fan page,â€ Andrews says.
Â 3. Engage your audience.
“I would reframe marketing and promotion and call it engagement. It’s a new approach; I almost call it ‘unmarketing,’â€ Andrews says. The new approach is about building your brand authentically by building authentic relationships with your followers. What are you offering to help solve their problems or to make their lives better? Are you interacting with them in a way that shows you’re thankful for them and committed to them? “Engage with them, listen to what they’re talking about, participate, and don’t ‘sell’ them all the time.â€
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