Blogging. LinkedIn. Facebook. Twitter. In the past, social media was a “nice to have” element of a company’s marketing plan. Now, a viable social media presence is a “need to have” for many businesses.
How should your company use social media to promote itself? Like all marketing tactics, it depends on your goals.
Get the Big Picture
Where is your business going and how are you going to get it there? Using social media to promote your company’s long-term goals is much easier if your goals are well defined.
Look to your mission or values statement as a starting point. Social media can support one or more of the goals outlined in these corporate statements. For example, if social responsibility or sustainability is important to your company, you can support your employees’ volunteer endeavors, publicize your corporate sponsorships and scholarships, or encourage local sustainability efforts via number of social media outlets.
Choose the Right Tools
Another way to think about how to best integrate social media is by considering your market position. How have you defined your unique selling proposition? Are you the go-to company for thought leadership? Is one of your executives known in the industry for his or her brilliant insight? If so, a blog makes sense as a vehicle to expand the reach of your company’s management team and establish your executives as knowledgeable experts in your industry.
Maybe your market position is more focused on customer service. Facebook and LinkedIn can be excellent venues for sharing testimonials, case studies and success stories.
For consumer-oriented enterprises or those in an industry focused on visual appeal, Pinterest could be the way to go. You’ll find everything from consumer packaged goods to hospitality and furniture manufacturers showcasing their products on this content-sharing site.
Where Are Your Targets?
There’s no point forging into a social media venue if none of your prospects, customers or decision influencers are there. (Of course, with a billion people now using Facebook, you can bet that at least some of your customers are active on that site every day.)
Think about where your prospects and customers go for information and networking. A presence on LinkedIn is a no-brainer for executives at most companies, and like Twitter, the site is becoming more popular in terms of content sharing. If you don’t know where your target audience is spending time online, just ask a few of them.
Take Small Steps
There’s no need to launch all of your social media tactics all at once. Try one or two and see how they work, but keep in mind that they won’t work overnight. The key is to have a regular presence and establish a following, which will take time.
We are interested in your company’s success. Let us know if we can be helpful as you seek to network, make connections and grow your business.
Social Media 101
Here are three simple rules to follow when it comes to social media marketing:
1. Be relevant. Make sure your posts are on target, succinct and have a point of view. Otherwise, you’re wasting your chance to connect with your audience.
2. Add value. Share information that allows your customers or prospects to do their jobs better or that improves their lives. If they can use the information you’re sharing, they’ll come back for more.
3. Don’t be selfish. Don’t promote yourself or your company to excess — this is boring. Rather, share inspiring stories or good ideas that reflect well on your colleagues and customers.