Social media has been a boon to companies, but it is also a nut they have struggled to crack. On the surface, it seems simple enough; a free way to reach out to customers and interact with them directly. Potentially, it’s a fast track to that most lucrative of advertising nuggets; word of mouth. After all, social media is just the new word of mouth, right? It’s like word of mouth, accelerated and enhanced. So how can you make the most of it?
Names and Platforms
Whether you’re a private individual who is aspiring to influencer-hood, someone like USANA Health Sciences trying to interact with users, or even a large company looking to create a viral marketing campaign, the first step is to find a platform and choose a name. There are dozens of social media platforms, each with its own quirks, advantages, and disadvantages. Find one that you like, or build a broader campaign across multiple platforms. Even if you aren’t planning to be super engaged with social media, you might want to check and see whether your name is already associated with an account run by someone else.
When you’ve got the right name and the right platform, the trick is to produce content regularly. Sounds simple, but it isn’t. If you’re an individual, this can be incredibly hard. Content production is work, even if you’re just reblogging, retweeting, or reposting content produced by others. There are many third-party apps that can help you manage your flow of content by timing and coordinating posts. There’s a line between having a steady stream of content for followers to engage with, and either overwhelming or underwhelming with too many or too few posts. It takes practice and experience to get the hang of what works.
News and Interaction
At the very least, you should use your social media to interact with your followers and keep them informed about all the latest news. If people ask you questions on social media, answer them promptly, if at all possible. If you have a major update or some other important news, that’s content worth sharing with your followers. The whole point of social media is to be social.
The best and most popular social media accounts are genuine and funny, but it’s very hard to replicate that in a way that really works. This is where individuals have a substantial advantage over companies. It’s very hard for a marketing team to replicate what comes naturally to one person with a halfway decent sense of humor. You cannot manufacture good vibes, you have to feel them and deliver them to your followers. Oftentimes, it’s better for a company or corporate entity to just stay in their lane and stick to news and interactions.
Branding vs Variety
If nothing else, it’s wise to strike a balance between consistent branding and a good mix of different kinds of content. Some social media influencers specialize in a certain kind of content. Funny text posts, little videos, beautiful images, and awareness-raising are all niches well worth filling, but you don’t want your feed to become too monotonous. Obviously, if you’re on a form of social media that only allows one kind of post, this won’t work, but it’s generally a good idea to spice it up from time to time with an image-based post or a text-based post or whatever kind of post isn’t your usual. Don’t stray too far from your brand, just make sure to keep people interested.
Whatever your reason for being on social media, there is a formula for success. The problem is that it’s not easy to manufacture. You have to genuinely want to interact with people. You need to spend enough time engaged with them to know what they find funny before you can make a joke they’ll laugh at. Unless you get very lucky, it will probably take more time and effort than you realize.
Guest Article by Kevin Gardner
Kevin Gardner graduated with a BS in Computer Science and an MBA from UCLA. He works as a business consultant for InnovateBTS where he helps companies integrate technology to improve performance. He shares his knowledge and expertise not only with his clients but with his fellow bloggers and readers.
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