Jumping into Social Media – Best Practices & Lessons Learned

Image: Jumping into Social Media – Best Practices & Lessons Learned

Building the Business Case for Social Media

A lot of organizations struggle with why they should consider leveraging social media. They are often unsure as to how social media can fit into their day-to-day operations or how social media can add value to their organization.

What we know from our research is that all four generations are using social media. However, all generations may not be using the same types of social media in the same way. This means that everyone is online and is engaging with others. Regardless of who your audience or your market is, they are already using some form of social media, from travel sites, to Facebook, to picture sharing sites, twitter and YouTube. By ignoring the positive impact social media can have, you are missing an opportunity to connect with your audience.

Social media is not just valuable for B2C organizations that deal directly with clients,  it is also quite useful for B2B organizations. Social media allows you to cultivate a social community, to expand your market reach and it can even assist you with your HR activities. When you expand your social footprint, you are better able to recruit new candidates, to engage existing employees, and to establish your reputation in the marketplace. The people you communicate with via social media may not be your direct customers, but forming a reputation on social media helps build your brand.

Organizations today should have the desire to interact and engage with clients and customers as much as they engage with their own employees. Doing so helps support your brand and your organization both within the company and to the general public. Organizations that have a better reputation will have more success in recruiting employees and in retaining their existing employees  base.

For example, prospective employees will be more likely to want to work for an organization that has a positive brand reputation, especially with their peer group. Customers and other organizations will be more likely to want to deal with an organizations that has a positive image. This is especially true for members of the younger cohorts (Gen Xers and, especially, Gen Ys) who want to work for an organization that they respect and hold  a high opinion of.

What Do Successful Social Media Efforts Look Like?

A big issue for many organizations is figuring out how to measure success in the social media world. There are many areas that can be measured and tracked, such as number of followers, number of shares or likes, the amount of traffic driven to your website through social media and many other analytics. However, there are certain key indicators that organizations should look for in order to determine how they are doing. A key aspect to pay attention to is how engaged your followers are. Businesses should not just look for a high number of followers but should instead focus on sharing content and information that their followers want to like, comment on and share within their own networks.

When you have an engaged social media audience, you will find that people will not just interact with your organization online, but that they will act as customer support and brand ambassadors for your organization. They will discuss your product, service or company online in a positive light and connect with others on their own to discuss your brand. An engaged audience will defend and promote your brand online, amplifying the positives of your brand and neutralizing the negatives.

It’s important to remember that social media is a relationship. As long as your followers are engaged, they will work to promote and discuss your brand online. However, all organizations need to work to consistently engage their audience by providing relevant and timely information. If followers feel that your relationship with them is a two-way street, they will be much more likely to help you achieve your social media and business goals.

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