How many of you are using social media for your business today?
That is the question we asked at the roundtable discussion I led at the MFSA conference on Monday, June 25 in Asheville, NC. Out of the ten participants, six answered that they currently are using social media for their business. And there was consensus among all ten that before a company can offer social media strategy as a service to clients, they must be able to use social media successfully for themselves.
If your company is eager to jump into social media but doesn’t know where to start, don’t worry. There are very common barriers at the beginning of the process – and that is what it is, by the way, a process – that we can highlight here and help you overcome.
Common Question #1 – Where do I find new content to share? And when do I find the time to do it?
Answer: This is one of the most frequently asked questions I receive. And while the answer isn’t overly complicated, it does require some time, patience and dedication.
There is an inordinate amount of great content out there on the internet. Set up an RSS feed, a news aggregator, like Google Reader, Google Alerts, the Flipboard App, or one of countless others. But if you are going to plan on offering social media services to clients one day, you need to do more than simply recycle the material of other sites. To prove that you are an expert, you will need to generate your own content.
Have multiple members of your team be responsible for frequent and consistent blogging. And while we’re on this point, understand that running a social media platform is not just a side job. Hire someone to truly focus on this work. Just because it is free doesn’t mean it’s easy.
Finally, make sure you have a a thoughtful and thorough plan for your posting strategy. Never do anything blind in business, social media very much included. Always have an idea of what you plan on posting on any given day.
Common Question #2: How do I know if anyone even cares about what I post?
Answer: Shorten and track your links. When you are sharing anything, use a link shortener such as ilink.me to enable tracking capabilities. Be cognizant of when your links receive the most clicks, the nature of the link and some of the key words you use to encourage those clicks. Be diligent. More clicks mean more engagement with your audience and hopefully more traffic to your website. And if you are maximizing your clicks on fresh, native content, your SEO will reap the benefits.
Common Question #3: How do I turn social media efforts into sales?
Answer: It’s not enough to just have a Facebook, Twitter, etc. Having a page is only the first step. Social media needs to be integrated with your overall marketing strategy and business philosophy. Incorporate calls to action in your posts. Encourage viewers to sign up for a white paper, an eNewsletter, registrations for webinars…whatever you can think of. These items get you real contact information from people who have proven that they are willing to get to know you a little better.
Also, use social media to show who your team members are. Give your prospects a glimpse into the daily life of your office. By showcasing your team members and their personalities, you are humanizing your brand and encouraging business.
Connect with me on Twitter @JohnFoleyJr!
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