Thursday, 31 December 2009

Is Your Social Media Strategy Working?

It seems as if everyone is jumping on the social media wagon these days trying to become an overnight success story. The are many successful businesses and individuals alike building a reputation and improving their reach, utilizing the social media frenzy. For most, however, their social media strategy might be failing simply because they don't fully understand it.

Personality Matters - Are You a Human?

I hear it over and over again "Show your personality, be human. Don't just go out there trying to sell something". Everyone is so focused on numbers, they forget about the fact that social sites and microblogging platforms are communities where the main goal is to form connections. Whether it's personal or business connections you are forming, you need to be human. So show your personality, get involved, contribute to the community, share and converse. Your main goal should be to form relationships. That will build trust between you and your audience, your potential clients.

Let's say there are two identical home improvement stores that stock the same products for the same price and they are both located near your home. One of them has a friendly, customer service oriented staff. People working at the other store are never helpful and always pushy to sell you their products. I bet you will shop at the friendly store quite more often. People there show they care about you and seem genuinely interested in what you need. You feel more comfortable and trusting.

Don't Sell - Create Meaningful Relationships

If the only link you share is one pointing to your websites, you'll only drive your audience away. If someone wanted to read your blog, they'd subscribe to your RSS feed. A better strategy would be to slowly build trust and authority. Once your community understands your value, they will automatically go to you first. Pushy and intrusive advertising will cause more harm then good. Instead, listen to what those in your network want and give it to them, if possible.

Social media is all about making real connections.

Stop Obsessing With Numbers

Numbers are meaningless and can be very misguiding. So what that you have 50k followers if they don't translate into a single sale. You will surely feel good about yourself but your ROI will be another story. Too many times people judge the effectiveness of their social media campaign by numbers (followers, diggs, etc.). But that means nothing if your audience is either not interested in what you're offering or you are not reaching them with your message. Learn to focus on quality over quantity.

Figure Out What Works.. And Where

Your social media strategy should also include figuring out which platform works best for your agenda. It's again quantity over quality, but taken one step further. Instead of joining every imaginable social media platform there is, understand which one works for you and which one will be just a waste of your time. There is only so much resource (time and money) you have at your disposal. Make the most of it by analyzing where your potential clients are and become most active there.

Recently, I imported my email contacts into both LinkedIn and Twitter. It became very obvious that while a few of my clients were on Twitter (10%), many more used LinkedIn (55%). It made sense to me to adjust the time I spent on these networks.

Social media is all about making real connections, beyond any marketing agenda. That's not to say that you shouldn't utilize it to your advantage. Focusing on the social aspect, however, will get you there faster. Otherwise you are doomed to fail.


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