Social Media: Do you crave a connected, engaged community of customers acting as vocal champions for your brand?
The value of the social space is widely understood and yet many businesses still don't understand how to create a successful community. Some very basic mistakes continue to be made by leading brands, detail of which can be found here. Nevertheless, there are some simple rules that can be a great starting point when setting out onto a journey into the big world of social media.
1. Interact and interlink with existing communities
It is a big ask to try to kick-start your social media presence by appealing to customers on an individual level. It is much better to make your presence felt within one of the pre-made groups that exist within the space. These could be groups on LinkedIn, topic feeds on Twitter or carefully selected pages on Facebook. The point is that by appearing to be genuinely interested and interesting, members of these communities are much more likely to take an interest and follow your brand intently.
2. Don't just talk about your product/service
I was toying with the idea of calling this point â€˜for God's sake say something interesting'. We've all seen company pages that just plug their product and service and, to be frank, they might as well not bother. This approach contrasts with someone like Groupon, whose efforts on Twitter are streets ahead of the majority of businesses. They produce interesting, engaging, funny content that quite often has little to do with what they are actually trying to sell.
3. Offer something unique
Trying to be unique is not an easy task in such a crowded marketplace. Nevertheless it is absolutely worth it if you can pull it off. Just-Eat, for instance, ran a charades type competition over the Christmas period which was unique, engaging, funny and did see increased traffic to the website. One of the big success stories in the past month has been the â€˜Dollar Shave Club' YouTube ad. This is perhaps more in the realm of traditional marketing in the sense that it is directly related to the product, nevertheless it has become a huge viral success because of its humour and because it doesn't take itself too seriously. The lesson really does seem to be: when in doubt, bring the funny.
4. Interact across platforms
It's clearly tempting to focus efforts on a couple of platforms. This is certainly possible if you have a highly targeted brand (think Clearasil's presence on Facebook for example), however if you have a broad customer base you really need to be, well, hitting all bases. The community who will engage with you on LinkedIn are vastly different from those on Twitter or on Facebook or on Pinterest. Make sure that you focus your message on each platform, but equally make sure that you are interacting on as many as are relevant.
5. Put in the time
As with most things you only get out what you put in. If you are not willing to spend the time creating and sharing great content then you will struggle to attract and interact with customers. This is why we are increasingly seeing Heads of Social Media who are independent of the marketing department, they have the authority and the time to develop a potent presence in the social space.
Social Media is set to be a major theme at this year's Loyalty World. For more information about how Comarch benefited from attending last year's event click here.