Social media: no room for naysayers

A few years ago you’d expect to encounter social media non-believers. You know the ones. We’ve all come across them … you may even be one.

Non-believers say things like:

“Facebook is just for Gen Ys”

“I don’t do Twitter because why would anyone want to know what I ate for lunch?”

“Why would I put my details on LinkedIn – I get enough emails from people selling me stuff already.”

Recently I presented on social media to a group of CEOs of mid-size organisations. One minute into the discussion the non-believers in the room started the monologues about how pointless social media is.

A year or so ago I would have felt it was my place to take the time to deliver compelling arguments about the role of social media and how it can benefit businesses and leaders. Now I think: if you don’t get it, that’s your problem.

There is so much information and research that discusses social media and how it impacts business. There are a million case studies. In fact, I’ve written so many articles and blog posts about social media I’ve lost count.

If you are a leader and you think social media is a waste of time, you are doing your business a great disservice. Your competitors are getting it. It’s no longer a question of should we do social media. It’s how well are we doing it.

Here are some tips for doing social media well and building great social media engagement:

Identify what you have to say

Selecting which specific issues or topics you are going to speak about is crucial. Many businesses make the mistake of casting the net too broadly and commenting on issues that are not interesting for their potential customers.

The goal should be to create a community around an area of interest. Identify the areas your business specialises in, share this content regularly and remain consistent and on-message. By establishing your niche you are positioning your brand as leading and credible experts, and people are much more likely to consider your content as authoritative and valuable.

Start and join conversations

Social media is built upon the power of conversation. Social media channels are not designed for the one-way push of information; rather they present an opportunity to create a two-way dialogue with customers.

The way to do this is through asking questions, answering other users’ questions and responding to mentions and comments. Being an active participant in online conversations will not only help build your online profile, but will strengthen the relationships between you and your online community.

Understand your audience

Understanding who you want to speak to and where they are is critical. By breaking down your target audiences’ demographics, interests and behaviours you can better understand their online activity.

Understand who uses which social media platforms so you know where potential customers are and where to invest your time. By engaging the right people via the right channels you can improve engagement with the people that matter; your potential customers.

Share great content

The content you share on social media needs to be timely, good quality and should drive people to share it with their online networks.

The most important thing to remember is your content needs to be interesting and valuable for your followers. Social media is not an appropriate arena for a hard sales message, rather your aim is to generate and contribute to conversation.

Not all content needs to be created by you from scratch. Repurpose old content, upload guest posts or articles, and use content generated by your customers and clients. Hold regular brainstorms with team members to help generate content ideas.

Organisations not taking advantage of social media are the dinosaurs of modern business, so maybe it’s time to take an open-minded look at the potential role social media can play in your business.

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