In a rapidly developing marketplace, businesses of all sizes are constantly chasing to improve customer relationships through personalization, communication, assessment, and transparency. With the advent of social media and the overwhelming adoption among our consumers, businesses now have an easy way to improve the major elements of the communication process, extremely delivering a happier, more profitable customer. As a social media marketing strategy should be catered to each individual business, there is no "one" way to do it, however there are a number of basic principles to understand. Here is a list of social media marketing do's and don'ts that will help you approach the socialsphere:
- Have a plan- As with any undertaking, it is important to have a plan. Social media is part of your business model and so it is important to consider factors such as which going to setup and monitor profiles, post content and be the voice of the company.
- Keep your profile fresh- A social presence is good, but can be detrimental if you do not manage it and keep it up to date.
- Participate in the conversation- This is a great opportunity to listen to your customers and respond to questions / concerns. It's important to show that you care and show urgency when appropriate.
- Ask questions- Tell your customers you want to hear from them, you'll be surprised at how many actually want to talk.
- Add friends and followers- Be real with this one. Add friends and followers that are relevant, do not spam every one of your friends friends with friend requests just to get your numbers up. Use a pull marketing strategy and make them come to you by keeping your profile updated and offering advantages to join your page (ie discounts, new product awareness etc.).
- Share discounts- These people have taken the time to get to know your company and have something opened up to you, the least you can do is give them a little something back. It will result in more loyalty down the line too!
- Keep them updated- Let them know what's new in the industry. Let them hear it from the horse's mouth.
- Be consistent- Your brand has a voice. Make sure that voice carries through in your social media marketing efforts.
- Do not solicit your customers- You have a front row seat to their opinion. Do not scare them away with a bunch of advertisements. Creatively incorporated transactions and promotions that reward them for becoming a fan or follower.
- Do not be tardy- If they ask you questions, respond in a timely matter. Business with you will be easy, help them understand that.
- Do not talk too much- There is such a thing as too much information. You do not want to overload them with information, keep it brief, interesting, concise and relevant. Just look at the success of Twitter which has literally built its entire infrastructure on those few principles.
- Do not mass follow / add friends- This will erode the credibility of your brand. You do not want to be seen as a spammer.
- Do not start until you understand- This touches on the first point, develop a plan. It's good to get started and familiar with social networks and how they work, but be careful not to start a "social media campaign" without a plan.