Social Media Best Practices
There is a serious need right now to rethink your brand’s value offering on Social Media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. The market is maturing, and as such is becoming more discerning, and rapidly at that.
As a consumer, you are blasted with the same request over and over, “Follow Us on Twitter, Like Us on Facebook” As a consumer however it is more than natural to ask why should I or what’s in it for me? These are questions of which a significant number of businesses cannot genuinely answer.
There is a growing realization at this point, that businesses large and small, will need to reorient their marketing energy and style from a ‘push’ marketing attitude to interactive or ‘engagement’ marketing.
It is also fair to say that most businesses are coming to terms with the fact that social media marketing takes more time, energy, effort, money and other resources than previously thought.
Today a notable number of businesses are approaching branded social channels from a ready, fire, aim approach. This method conjures a façade of achievement when in fact, any progress, if at all recognized, is short term and shoddy at best. Many focus on numbers without first analyzing who they’re trying to reach and why and more importantly how engagement satisfies the needs of their customers. To build vibrant communities in social networks, businesses must develop a remarkable and diversified channel strategy that reinforces the brand and communicates tangible business value and exudes. Without a mature content and engagement strategy, a great unfollow and unlike movement is inevitable.
You can’t depend on your judgment when your imagination is out of focus.
– Mark Twain
Competing for the attention of the elusive social consumer surfaces new challenges for brands. Rather than luring a static audience, brands must now demonstrate ongoing value in order to captivate an engaged audience. As a result, brands must now focus on defining a mission and purpose and delivering value for each of the audiences they’re hoping to address.
Social Media Best Practices
1. Design an Effective Channel Strategy: Evaluate the main brand, sub brands, and notable personalities that require a “follow worthy” or “likable” presence. If there are other accounts that exist beyond the initial strategy, assess their value as a standalone channel and its current state. It may be best to simple truncate accounts or close them all together.
2. Create a Life Support System: Develop an organized framework that supports each presence uniquely. Ensure that each account establishes a rhythm that meets the needs of its audience.
3. Mission and Purpose: Know the audience you’re trying to reach and design a communicable mission and purpose for each account.
4. Develop an Editorial Program: Create an editorial program that addresses the various needs of the social consumer including entertainment, sales, service, engagement, HR, etc. Evoke the new K.I.S.S. (Keep It Significant and Shareable). Create content that’s both engaging, contextually relevant, and shareable. Think beyond the basics such as polls, curation, promotional content, questions.
5. Construct a Listening Framework: The best listeners make the best conversationalists. Build a listening framework that monitors the brands as well as the distinct conversations related to each account.
6. Establish Conversational Workflow: Each account requires an information path and workflow. They also require bridges between them to ensure that every representative is informed and that the right delegates within the business are on point to engage or respond accordingly.
7. Formulate a Decision Tree: Draft a clear flowchart that details the steps for a variety of “if this happens, then do this” situations. This is designed to help representatives follow a pre-defined path for the real-time nature of engagement.
8. Initiate a Training Program: Representatives will require ongoing training to stay sharp and focused. Every engagement either reinforces or takes away from the brand experience. As technology moves faster than our ability to master its lessons, training keeps employees on track.
9. Install a Governance and Reward System: Much like the marketing team protects the integrity of the brand and how it’s presented, a social team is necessary to manage the integrity of each Twitter account as well as the overall portfolio. At the same time, a reward system must be put in place to encourage exceptional work.
10. Draft a Social Media Brand Style Guide: Chances are a style guide already exists that communicates brand presentation, usage guidelines, and other forms of brand-related marketing aesthetics. This guide requires a significant update to account for social media. Its primary function is to define the brand persona, characteristics, voice, and essence. Additionally, the updated style guide will define the design of each presence and how represents should accurately enliven it through narrative.
11. Compose Guidelines and Do’s and Don’ts: Develop a social media policy that conveys the do’s and don’ts in social media. If one already exists, update it. The law has changed and now protects employee rights to express opinion about employers within their personal accounts. Additionally, many employees complain that the existing guidelines are either too extreme or ambiguous to define successful engagement. Design the guideline to serve as guardrails and also a roadmap to success.
12. Serve Customers and Prospects: Social consumers now expect brands to solve problems and answer questions in social streams. Each channel requires a service function or a dedicated channel to satisfy needs and promote appreciation and loyalty.
13. Employ Language and Timing Techniques: Two points of note, timing is everything and in brevity there’s clarity. Studies already show that the time and day and the language structure of Tweets and Facebook updates determine overall reach and engagement. Optimize language and timing to make every update count.
14. Design Engagement and Performance Metrics: Monitor the performance of each account to improve the engagement and editorial strategy for each account.
Following these best practices will prevent your brand from falling victim to the coming wave of customer unlikes and unfollows. But more importantly, focusing social channels and investing in the value of each will improve the customer experience and encourage greater engagement. By increasing meaningful interaction, brand reach is dramatically amplified through the social effect, encouraging customers to not only Like the brand, but genuinely love it!
Best practices via http://www.briansolis.com