How to Create a Winning Social Media Presence – Part Two

By on July 30, 2009

In our last post we started talking about the necessary steps any business needs to take when creating a winning social media presence.  We briefly covered:

1) Defining your social media goals (What do you want to achieve?)

2) Researching your target customer (and what they’re talking about) and

3) Deciding how to measure your social media success (which will lead to more research since you need to know where you stand now, in order to see how effective your social media has been).

Once you’ve got your goals in mind, and have an idea of who your target customer is, then go out and take a look at the social sites available on the web.  Because sites come and go all the time, it’s best to have a strategy that utilizes both established and high-traffic sites (like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, or Linkedin), as well as lower-traffic, or niche sites (like Merchant Circle, Plaxo, or any of the networks started on Ning).

For businesses that sell products, establishing a channel on YouTube can really enhance your customer’s experience.  Demonstrate products with a video, or show off your up-and-coming products or services to generate excitement.  You can also use movies to give your company some personality with a fun, behind-the-scenes look at the office, interviews with other customers, and so on.

For businesses comprised of information services, try jumping on Twitter or into specialty groups on Facebook or Linkedin, and join conversations going on in your field.

Also keep in mind where your customers are.  For example, one of the fastest growing age groups on Facebook is the 45-65 year old group.  If you’ve got a product or business that age group would be interested in, then Facebook would be a great place to establish yourself.  Twitter, on the other hand, is great for those trying to reach a mobile-savvy group, as most of the tweets out there are coming from phones and other hand-held devices.

Here’s what you don’t want to do: jump on every new social media platform that comes out.  Form a plan and stick to it, but do allow some room for flexibility should a worthwhile platform come across your path.  But do avoid the temptation to jump onto every new exciting thing, because you’ll waste all your time trying to build momentum, without ever actually gaining any traction.

And lastly, as promised, here are some tips for engaging your followers:

Wherever you have a presence, be sure to avoid the hard-sell, interruption marketing techniques that many businesses have unfortunately picked up.  Instead, focus on adding value to the conversation while providing a clear call-to-action at the appropriate time.

Don’t be afraid to include a little bit of yourself or your experiences into the conversation.  Providing followers with a way to emotionally connect with you will help them gain a sense of loyalty towards your brand while making your more approachable and likeable.

Be real and keep your calm.  Even online, people can spot a fake pretty quickly, and losing your temper can have disastrous results far more quickly than anywhere else.

About John Souza

John Souza is founder and chief strategist of SMMU and Social Media Impact, and is a bestselling business author. He won the 2011 Tech Marketing Awards ‘Social Media Marketer of the Year’ and most recently the About.com Reader’s Choice Award for Best Online Education Site. John has appeared on The Michael Gerber Show, and his business has been honored at the Mashable Awards, Forbes Business Awards and The Stevie Awards.
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