Marketing

Ten Ways to Make Your Social Media Rock

If you don’t listen to what’s being said to you or about you, then you’re not ‘being social.’

September 13, 2013
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Social media may have a low cost of entry—but it’s not easy to do well.

Small businesses are struggling to adopt social media, according to a report by eMarketer, which reports that only 24% of small companies have integrated social media in a structured way into their operations.

Knowing where to start is perhaps the No. 1 obstacle. Knowing what to do when you get there is a close second.

Whether you are new to social media or looking to improve your efforts, here are 10 ways to make your social media activities rock.

1. Pick the site(s) that works for you

New social media sites spring forth almost weekly, and it’s easy to become distracted or lost in the speed of change. So where to focus your efforts?

Erica Ayotte, social media manager with Constant Contact, advises companies to start with one channel and then diversify.

“Spend a little time each week exploring new platforms and figure out if they might be for you,” she advises.

2. Share interesting and visual content

This is one area that really does take time. What’s interesting, anyway?

Start with the basics. If you have something newsworthy to share (i.e., something that impacts your customers directly) then go ahead and share it—things like holiday opening times, new offices, charity events, etc.

Then, share something you do well that will help you stand out in a crowd: blogs, white papers, tips, or quick “how to” videos hosted on YouTube or Hulu. Use social media to amplify it.

Feel free to share content from others (without breaking copyright) if it is relevant to your fans. And don’t be afraid to ask people what content they want you to share.

3. Listen

Great content drives engagement and grows social communities, but equally important is the art of listening. Think of social media as a form of conversation—a two-way dialogue.

If you’re not prepared to listen to what is being said to you, about you, or with you, then you simply aren’t “being social.”

In addition to listening to your customers, carve out time to listen to influencers in your business, to your competitors, and to those who can help you perfect your social media strategy—Hubspot, Mari Smith, and Social Media Today to name a few.

4. Be authentic

Again, be social. Drop the corporate marketing speak; people like dealing with people.

So don’t be afraid to loosen up a little and when responding to problems or complaints, and sign off with your first name.

NEXT: Foster fan-to-fan engagement

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Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory (www.appreciationatwork.com/assess) will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

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