We’ve been talking (and tweeting) a lot lately about the power of social media for businesses.
JLB has been using outlets like Twitter and Facebook for a few years now, and at the beginning of 2011, we unveiled a social media package for our clients. It’s been received well, and we’ve signed up a dozen or so businesses to our social media services in the past six months. Part of this initial success is the way that we’ve organized our approach to the practice of social media.
Getting your company in the conversation doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming — you just have to plan well. One approach we’ve been recommending to current clients is to map out an overarching social media strategy.
1. Identity your voice.
Of course, good brand management dictates that you’ve already defined your company’s voice. If you’ve run a print ad or if you publish to a blog regularly, then you’ve already set a certain tone and public demeanor. If you haven’t thought about this, now is the time.
2. Know the playing field(s).
Do you know the difference between a status update (Facebook), a tweet (Twitter), or a post (LinkedIn and Facebook)? They are different ways to broadcast your message, ways to show your company’s personality, ways to tout your products. Each have their own rules, their own quirky nuances. What might play on Twitter may not work on Facebook, and vice versa. It’s important to strategize “the how” as much as “the what” of your message.
3. Plan your posts.
Typing out an unremarkable sentence like “Busy day at the office. Lots of phone calls” isn’t going to bring any extra attention to your brand. And it might just turn off your regular audience. Sitting down in front of your computer thinking “Okay… I’ve got to say something!” and then just typing the first thing that comes to mind is not a good way to communicate. It’s much better to sit down once a month or once a week and “script” out your posts. We’ve done this for ourselves and our clients, and we can tell you it doesn’t take a long time. When you take a moment, regularly to think it out, the quality of your posts is infinitely better than anything you can come up with “on the fly.”
4. Build your audience(s).
How are you adding followers (Twitter), likes (Facebook), or Connections (LinkedIn)? Building an audience takes time and weekly attention. If you want to reach out to more folks across the country, you have to learn the ins and outs of following and listening to others. It’s a social network, after all.
When you step back and think about it, your company’s “voice” on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, etc. is really an extension of your overall brand. Social media tools should reinforce your brand and extend it through these new channels. Rather than being a separate communications campaign, social media offers the opportunity to fully integrate your communications online.