Pretty much every business in the world has a social-media presence now. But just having a Facebook page or Twitter account isn’t enough—not if you want to get the most out of these sites for your business or personal brand.
Think of social media as a community, one in which you or your business must take an active role. In fact, you need to do more than participate—you need to create a community of your own. That means you need to provide unique and timely content that effectively competes for your readers’ attention. Entertain, inform and engage.
Here are some tips on how to do that: First, reward your fans and followers. Think of them as your super-users. Make them feel they are true insiders by giving them tangible rewards—discounts, early notice of special sales, exclusive content—that outsiders don’t get. Pick a “fan of the month” and feature their photo or profile on your website. Give away T-shirts and other promotional materials.
Second, engage. That means listening as well as talking. Hear what your fans and followers are saying, and respond to them promptly. Remember, this is free market research for you. Listen to what your loyal customers are saying and respond where appropriate. And participate in online discussions where topics relevant to your company or product are discussed. Be a part of the conversation.
Third, keep your content fresh and lively. Failure to maintain a stream of new posts means boredom—and the loss of fans. Don’t worry if you don’t have something new to say every single day. Dip in to your reservoir of content—your company website, say, or your list of products. Share something new every day and keep your followers interested.
Fourth, reassess your content mix regularly. Don’t spend a majority of your time asking people for things or trying to sell something. Give them something worthwhile, even if it’s just a link to a funny video or a moving article. Earn their attention, and when you do have something to ask, they will listen and respond.
Finally, incorporate live event coverage into your mix. Is your company a sponsor of an event such as a race, concert or convention? Give your followers and fans an inside look with frequent posts, video links and other snippets. Ask them for their reactions as it happens. Give them an experience even if they couldn’t attend personally.