Companies have a definite advantage over bloggers, small businesses, freelancers etc when it comes to using social media successfully. They already have a customer base that are eager to tweet their content. They have the money to invest on software and personal to manage their social media accounts. More importantly they have a bunch of employees which they can utilize to spread the word. Combination of all these things gives companies an edge when it comes to social media marketing, but very few companies truly take advantage from this. Most are reluctant to budget for these software and very few actually encourages their employees to participate in social networking and sharing sites. Below are how companies use social media successfully and lessons you can learn from them. The most important thing to remember is that you need to have something worth sharing if you want to maximize your return in social media. It could be an awesome product or a valuable service, but people need to see value in it.
Importance of Investing in Software
Their are many social networks now and tracking your brand across all of them is not an easy task. Although you can do these things manually to an extent, it is very time consuming. That is why it is important to use a social media dashboard to monitor your brand in social networks.
Using these tools you can easily see who is mentioning your brand in social networks and quickly respond to their questions and concerns. Things can go viral easily in the Internet so you don’t want some negative remark of your company left unattended. Other than that you can use these software to monitor specific keywords, so you can act upon them.
For example if you own a beach hotel in Sri Lanka, then you can track keywords like “beach hotel sri lanka”, “beach resort sri lanka” and respond to those tweets to expand your business. Other than for tracking you can use software for many other purposes like increasing Twitter followers, building LinkedIn connections etc. Most companies that have found success using social media use these tools to improve their efforts.
Encouraging Employees to Use Social Media
Your employees are the best persons to spread your message in social media. You should encourage your employees to actively participate in social media while not effecting their overall productivity. I have come across many companies that block popular social networking sites like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter and almost always the reason is that it hurts productivity.
Have a clear set of guidelines so your employees know what they can do and what they cannot do in social networking sites. If you feel an individual is overstepping the mark discuss the issue with him privately, more often than not you will yield good results.
Asking everyone to create StumbleUpon, Reddit and Digg accounts and only liking and submitting your content in those networks cannot be called encouraging social networking. Most popular sharing websites have advanced algorithms and they can easily spot these patterns and quickly devalues those likes and digs.
Use those sites the way they are supposed to be used. Use sites like Digg, StumbleUpon to find and share important content. Make sure to like other links and share links other than your websites links. If your passionate about cooking don’t be afraid to look for those things in bookmarking sites, even though your work for a technology related company. Encourage them to find friends and build connections. The overall growth of your employees social media profile will help you in the long run.
Hiring the Right Person
Social media marketing is a hot topic these days and social media experts are coming up everywhere. If you are looking to hire someone for your social media marketing efforts it is important to find the right person because your social media success depends on it. Check his social media profiles and see how engaged he is with users. See if people are retweeting his content and if he replies to people, because engaging with others is an very important part of social media marketing. Having good number of followers is good but those things can be easily achieved using software, so don’t base your judgement on that.
Creating something of Value
All those things mentioned above wont count to much if you don’t have something valuable to offer users. It maybe a great product, superior service or an awesome blog post. Whatever it is users should find it valuable and shareable. Your employees and tools can give a jump start in social media and get the things rolling, but for your products and idea to become viral and shared by thousands you need offer something valuable to users, something they will feel proud of sharing and something they will think that will benefit there friends and followers.
Mentioned above are how companies use social media to grow their brand and increase sales. Although there are many more effective and creative ways companies use social media, the above things can be considered as must do things.