Do you have a strategy for social media? You may think that social media is for posting vacation photos or a friendly political rant. Certainly not work-related activities. It may be time to reexamine the reality on the ground where social media has quietly become important in business settings. So how do we approach and understand today’s reality?
Recently, the Pew Research Center of Internet and Technology published a study suggesting that practically 70% of Americans are on some type of social media. In addition, the study suggests that for many, social media is now part of the daily routine with more than 76% of Facebook users visiting the site at least daily.
The White House Office of Consumer Affairs used to say that news of bad customer service reaches more than twice as many ears as praise for a good service experience. That was certainly true when you needed to speak directly to someone and complain. Posting a rant, now easier than ever, with a giant pool of virtual listeners, makes those numbers exposed to a negative story exponentially magnified. And if a story resonates, even traditional news outlet will pick it up.
Should the source of the story be you or your company? You try to do the right thing, as we all do, but some loudmouth with 10,000 followers got angry for some reason or another. To make matters even worse, yesterday’s news is no longer wrapping fish. Everything posted is out there forever! We wish these types a gift to stop giving.
Bottom line, you must be advocating for yourself by promoting your message via the same social media channels. This way, you can to a certain degree shape the narrative. How can we properly promote our business? Here are some things to consider when developing your go-to (social) media strategy.
Social Media is a Storytelling Platform
Posts on Social Media Tell a Story
More and more research points to stories as the mechanism that shapes our attitude and more importantly our feelings toward someone or something. Social media is about telling stories, sometimes in 140 characters, but stories nonetheless. This is why it resonates so much when someone tells of a negative experience. We identify as the narrator and literally feel aggrieved as he or she was.
But, we are fair, and we are more likely to forgive and forget when we can write something off as a fluke. For that, we need evidence, namely identifying with many other stories to the contrary.
Use your real voice
You will want to share believable, relevant, authentic, positive experiences, and that only happens when you are true to who you are. People avoid what seems too polished, perfect and salesy. They assume that someone else wrote the piece or, worse, the story is made up.
Selecting the right platform
Not all platforms are the same. Certain platforms’ strength may be naturally aligned with your business. Say you bake artistic cakes or sell custom-made jewelry, a beautiful series of images will tell a powerful story that can be presented on visual platforms such as Instagram, Pinterest or Snapchat.
Service-focused businesses often need something else. A stock photo of a boardroom or people shaking hands doesn’t carry the same impact it once did. If you write well, you could write a series of blog posts on an area of your expertise. You can answer online questions in a forum like Quora or contribute to Wikipedia.
A different creative angle could be taking photos of you and your work experience – presenting yourself as a person first. This is another way to tell a visual story about the person behind the investment decisions or legal analysis.
Social media is addictive. We as humans are hardwired to find out what is “happening.” You can easily run business-focused social media experiments, but you want to be careful of the cost in resources. The key here is to limit the amount of time your team dedicates to social media by setting process parameters around the activities and automating as many processes as possible.
Automation of Social Media
Since you may select multiple platforms to post your messages, you can use technology to help you post. Instead of reposting the same content on multiple social media sites, you can use a social media manager like Buffer or Hootsuite to do the redundant work for you.
Above and Beyond
Don’t let social media bring you to your knees. It’s a great platform for speaking to the public, but it can unnecessarily consume more time and effort if you aren’t careful.
As technology experts, we believe that your IT can help you get the best ROI for business growth. By streamlining your processes and helping you get the right tools for your needs, we can help you reimagine the future of your business.