Are you sure you’re ready for social media?
There’s no doubt that social media is the giant of our virtual lives. It can be a valuable tool that identifies your company as the industry expert… or it can crash and burn. Somewhere in the middle, there sits the majority of SMBs, not getting much traction at all. Most of this wheel-spinning stems from committing to social media before they’re ready.
So how would you know if you’re ready? Make sure you have the following in place before you begin a social media strategy:
- Have clear goals for social media.
Social media might seem easy (who isn’t on Facebook these days?), but keep in mind that when you’re using it for business, you have to have a plan. You need very specific goals to determine what parts of your strategy are working. These can be as simple as increasing brand recognition and traffic to your website.
- Dedicate some human capital to your efforts.
You don’t have to have a social media guru on your team to make a splash in online networking! Your customers aren’t looking for professional bloggers; they’re looking for experts. Let your sales reps and tech support participate in your social media presence. Just make sure you have enough people and time to commit to regularly updating. Social marketing is a constant process and it’s easy to fall off the radar if you go weeks without posting any new content.
- Ensure you have enough quality content to sustain social media conversations.
Here’s a tip to remember when you’re developing content for social media: it is not a sales tool; it’s a marketing tool. Use it for the development of your brand. Your customers will soon become disinterested if all they’re hearing are sales pitches through your Twitter page and blog. Identify pain points and educate them about the solutions you offer. They’ll put two-and-two together when they see your name attached.
- Check your website. Is it prepared for the traffic you’ll generate through social media?Do some housekeeping before you invite company over. Are you proud of your website? Does it answer the needs of your audience? Do you have a way to track visits using a program like Google Analytics? If you answered no to any of these questions, updating your site is where you need to start.
- Be prepared to incorporate your social media strategy throughout the buying process.Your customers use social media as an integral part of their daily lives. They expect to be able to utilize it as a way to communicate with you through the buying process. Make sure you have someone available on the other side to field the questions that will come in and herd them where they need to go. Be proactive! Have your sales reps follow your customers’ accounts using Twitter or LinkedIn to gain insight into company happenings. If your sales reps engage those customers by commenting on their social media page it will help develop those relationships that foster positive brand recognition.
If you don’t think you’re ready on your own, you don’t have to be left behind. There are services that can help you fill any gap. Where do you think you are on the path to social media success?