Now that companies are falling all over themselves to use social media -- while wading through the mostly confusing jungle of what works and what doesn’t -- a few have had time to learn a few lessons. We asked four social media experts and managers to share some quick advice on what’s proven effective for them.
Focus on objectives, not certain technologies
Jim Tobin, president, Ignite Social Media, a consultant on social media tool and strategies (www.ignitesocialmedia.com)
“People make the mistake of focusing on the technology first, thinking, ‘I’ve got to get on Facebook.’ But you have to look at your business objectives and figure out which strategies will align with them, and then come at it with the right technology. You’re getting a lot of people who are saying now, ‘I’ve had a Facebook fan page for six months, and I have 900 fans, and I don’t know what to do with it or why I wanted 900 fans.’ You have to look at your business objectives and determine why you should expect certain technologies to achieve them. If you can’t answer that, you’re going to Twitter the day away.”
Join the wider conversation about your company
Molly Solberg, director of social media and business development, Duluth Pack (www.duluthpack.com)
“Duluth Pack started out by creating a blog, Facebook and Twitter account. One thing I found to be very successful, was also seeking out blogs and articles talking about the outdoors or especially our products. Commenting on these blogs helps boost our exposure, and often others would pick up on it and carry the content over to their blogs. Duluth Pack has gained more national and international exposure this way.
“I have also found it helpful to find seminars or webinars to attend to keep up in new trends. I also started a local chapter of the Social Media Breakfast to meet with locals on a monthly basis to talk about what works and doesn’t work for them.”
Take advantage of the power of video
Heather Wasklewicz, director of social media marketing, 32north (www.32north.com)
“32north has a Facebook page, Twitter profile and a YouTube Channel. Our ‘social’ efforts were born out of a desire to showcase a series of professionally produced videos we made about our Stabilicers ice cleats. Finding fun, creative ways to talk about a simple ice cleat can be a challenge. The short, campy videos were a light way to talk about the benefits of our product without taking ourselves too seriously or boring our audience, plus they were a great fit for social sites. Posting and tweeting the videos to our social profiles proved to be very successful, and fellow Facebookers and tweeters enjoyed posting and tweeting them out, so we received a lot of exposure.”
Create your own compelling content
Mike Geraci, director of digital PR, Verde PR (www.verdepr.com)
“The most popular activity on social networks is the sharing of something you or your friends have discovered and find remarkable. Similarly, compelling content is the No. 1 reason people ‘Fan,’ ‘Follow’ or ‘Like’ a brand. People and companies that are only participating in the aggregation and re-distribution activities are missing a huge opportunity. Re-tweeting, linking and content aggregation will only get you so far. By consistently creating your own entertaining and educational content you can become the items or destination that everyone is sharing with their friends.”
Build awareness with cross-promotion
“Our marketing/advertising budget is limited, but cross-linking via Facebook ‘tagging’ has been a great way for us to literally link into other networks to create additional brand and product awareness. For example, we recently cross-promoted with the Iris Network, a non-profit organization for the visually impaired and blind. We combined Facebook efforts to bring awareness to its annual White Cane Awareness Walk, thus creating a lot of buzz about our product on its Facebook page.”