Social media is growing so fast that it's attracting everyone. You might be wondering if your company should have a social media presence and what it should it look like.
No social media presence? No problem — for your competitors, that is.
Your competitors are perfectly happy that you do not have a social media presence. They're happy to take up your space. They 're happy to dominate. If you're not there? More for them.
There are a few rules of the road in social media.
Let's find out what we know about what's already working in social media — and what's absolutely not working. First impressions can turn people off forever so let's find out how to make a good lasting impression. And yes, in case you are wondering, you will make more sales. The path to get there will be different than what you might be used to.
Social media is not your space; it is the people's space.
You are just invited to the party. For now. So the first rule of social media is that it's not all about business. In fact, keeping the party idea in mind, if you think of social media as a party you can apply the rules of etiquette to your social media presence and you can't go wrong. You would not show up to a party dressed in flashing lights with a "hurry, big sale happening right now, buy me" sign on your head, now would you? Of course not and just like a party, you don't just crash onto the scene. You respect the venue, the mood, the other guests…or you can get thrown out.
Who is ruining social media.
Everyone with the "email spam" attitude. Everyone who holds events that are just a prelude to an up sell. Everyone in it only for themselves. They are quickly coming on the scene. The amateurs are spamming social media and the community does not have to take it anymore. They can remove themselves from your group; they can decide they don't like you. You cannot talk at social media; you can only talk with them. Or you get uninvited to the social media party.
It's about getting involved.
Social media's relaxed environment gives you the platform to reveal many facets of your company over time. It's about who you are as a business. It's time to get involved with causes or concerns that make a difference in the lives of people and in the world, and do something about it. When you do something about it, you get to share your actions with your community. Whereas in advertising you have 30 seconds to get your message across, in social media you have a lot more time.
You can't change the world but you sure can try.
It's about living your mission in motion. Your company's mission statement, that's etched on a plaque on the wall, is given the chance tocome alive, get out into the world and take some action. Choose your passions as they naturally align with your product offerings. Why not? If you sell workout gear and sneakers, why not get more involved in the experience of those without sneakers, without access to exercise and who would welcome your product or service into their lives.
Your social media community will love this. Plus, without a lot of grandiosity, you get to share what you're doing to help. You're doing it because it needs to be done. You can share something like this later with your social media community: "our 'GET FIT; HAVE FUN' bus took 20 needy teens to Amusement Park today, they all got a new pair of sneakers, loved the look on Jimmy's face when he saw his brand new pair, he was all lit up. Had so much fun, we all did!!!"
The unspoken benefit is that you add more substance to your company by rounding out your social media presence. You don't have to go global to be known for doing good things; you can just stay home and do good things. And your actions don't have to cost a fortune; you can donate tickets for a group of kids to go see a motivational speaker or fill up a food bank with lots of healthy food. Whatever you do, no matter how small, your social media community will notice and appreciate you.
Yes, you can. (Sell, that is.)
But the way you sell is very different from traditional marketing and advertising. Social media is a different forum and the flashy, "buy me" marketing does not work and actually looks more like an intrusive billboard that ruins the view. The "I am only in here because I can get more customers" attitude will only hurt you as your market can form opinions. If you are a contributing member of the community and you follow the unwritten rules, you can include a sales and marketing strategy; you can create special offers and you can include a call to action.
You are only a visitor here.
The culture of social media is more like that of an engaged community. Members are there to help others. They share their lives, interests and time. They don't want anything from anyone else except to get to know them, reveal their own personalities and see what's happening. Social media is entertainment and fun. But now, with social media being viewed by many who seek profit and profit only, it is being overrun with the old-fashioned marketing strategy of in-your-face tactics. But the community does not have to listen to or engage with you. In fact, they can make fun of you and LOL to your misguidance. They can make a mental note to boycott your products and services. They can do this.
It's about showing your personality.
Hire people to create and expand your social media presence who understand the social media environment. Hire people who know the rules of marketing and publicity who know how to write and communicate but also know when, where and how to break the rules for this social media arena.
If you engage in social media, sales will come.
Of course. The more you engage others and are just one of the gang without pretense or hunting for your next sale, the more your community and those you are a part of, will get to know the heart behind your company. As we know, one of the fundamental premises of business success is that people will do business with those they know, love and trust, so why not you? Will they think of you as a "their space" spammer or as of a valued and respectful member of the social media community that they have grown to know, love and trust? Who would you buy from?
Have you ever thought that if more people got to know you; they would do business with you?
Throughout this article, if you notice, we talk about people, not target market. Now, that's a good starting point!
It's time to end this article — but in social media strategy, there is no end. Your story unfolds every day.
Welcome to social media.
About the Author
Annie Jennings (Annie@AnnieJenningsPR.com) is the founder of strategic marketing and publicity firm Annie Jennings PR (www.anniejenningspr.com, 1-908-281-6201), which offers social media creation and integration, social media optimization, and promotion-and-publicity services.
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