Before you step out on social media to promote your organization, if you haven't already, you first need to evaluate how you see your brand and how it will translate in the digital world. Internet media giant Forbes suggests asking yourself, "How do you want to position yourself in the marketplace and in front of your target audience?"
A focused brand is a strong brand, so determine your niche and use it as your primary brand message and image.
Your audience needs to develop expectations for your brand in order to develop loyalty to it and feel secure enough in your brand message to talk about it with their own friends and connections, particularly across the social Web. You must meet customer (i.e., audience) expectations in every brand interaction or people will feel confused and turn away from your brand in search of another that does consistently meet their expectations. Don't let your audience get away. Determine your brand promise and position and stick to it at all times.
Once you have figured out the details of your brand, you can begin distributing information about your company through whatever channels you feel suit you best. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube are the Fab Four, the most used social media sites currently. Be sure you have the resources to devote enough time to each site. Don't overextend the launch of your social media campaign. You do not want to begin posting on multiple sites and then realize you only have time to be engaged on one. Start slow and build your campaign. Once you are established, you can branch out to other popular sites like Pinterest and Instagram.
Forbes suggests focusing on one social media as your "hub" for all other sites. "This is the place where all of your online content and conversations will lead back to. It will be the central hub of your online presence and will become the go-to place for people to learn anything and everything about your brand and writing business."
Consider starting a blog on your website. Creating a relevant blog (i.e. a recipe blog on Kraft or a tax question forum on TurboTax) can help drive traffic to your site and keep your brand on the mind of potential business opportunities, whether they are customers or future employees. Keep posts on target and regular, and containing substantial content. Your blog will be a small-scale representation of your company. Posts riddled with errors or ridiculous content will reflect poorly upon your organization.
Utilizing social media is a multi-purpose strategy, used to recruit, build a brand, and market your organization and/or products. In order to get the best ROI, you can't submit random posts and expect to drive traffic. Forbes advises to utilize the sites where "you can interact with other people by publishing comments, asking questions, and answering questions." Be sure to separate branding and marketing. If you are focused on purely engaging, on earning trust, an overkill on self-promotion will turn people off. "Instead, apply the 80-20 rule of marketing to your activities". 80% not self-promoting. 20% self-promotion.
Social media is good for business, but you have to educate yourself if you want your campaign to succeed. Before you cast out a fishing pole, you need to figure out how you are going to catch the fish and what you're going to do once you've caught them. As with any other successful venture, you need to develop a plan and then execute it.
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