Does Your Business Have A Social Media Strategy

Let’s face it we are all social creatures and, whether you like it or not, people are getting most of their information from sources that you can’t directly control.

People rely on their friends for referrals.. if a friend recommends something how many of us go with their recommendation?  How many times have you said to some “oh I just had a fabulous meal at…..”  or someone says “ oh I love your hair.. Where did you get it done?”… You know what I’m talking about.

People in network markets have realized that the information flowing in to them from a well networked market is a hundred times better then what they received from a vendor. Network markets have better information than organizations do about their own product.

Regardless of your industry, if you don’t have a business development plan that includes social media marketing, you’re late to the dance.  Not so late that everyone has gone home, -actually the exact opposite – because this is where the consumers are.

Social Media editor at The New York Times, Liz Heron in briefing an audience at BBC’s social media summit said that they abstain from social media influence and tell people to use common sense rather than being stupid. Whereas on the contrary last year she was found encouraging journalist to use social media strategy as a fair means of distribution and this year they are making arrangements to communicate with people. I guess you call it social media interaction. In a nutshell you need it one way or the other.

However, people are becoming more resistant to marketing and particularly an overt marketing through a social media platform so  a company needs a well versed strategy to break through the barriers of resistance and engage and interact with their clients and potential clients.

A person trusts the information shared to him by someone who’s a friend or an acquaintance.  In social media marketing word of mouth is stronger and people rely on each other easily. We are going to go back a few years now just to give you an example of a social  media report published 4 years ago… According to Edleman Trust Barometer report published in 2008, the majority (58%) of the respondents reported they most trusted company or product information coming from “people like me” inferred to be information from someone they trusted. Consumers behave differently when they are on a social media sites, they go where they like and regroup various communities and blogs, and here they tend to consume more user generated content, as they believe that the information they will acquire from a consumer or a companion’s point of view over a certain brand will be more up to date. They happily take part in brand conversations and learn a lot about the recommendations and referrals. Statistically

  • 41% users read blogs
  • 47%users spent time looking at content
  • 33%spent time on communicating over it.
  • 91% users normally buy on recommendations
  • 330 million are online video reviewers
  • Twitter has 3 million users
  • Linkedin has 9 million users
  • MySpace caters to 110 million users.

As a result of social media strategy today consumers are likely to make their purchasing decisions in accordance to what they read on social media and other discussion and information blogs.  The same report published last year  2010 Trust Study indicates that an organization can be a tough leader if they provide honest and genuine information and expertise in a defined industry or on a product, thus transforming themselves in an advisor rather than a marketer.

Currently many emerging and small businesses have learnt the philosophical behavior of a social media. As they are realizing the social media’s changing trend and sophistication of social media networks and the associated business. New organizations are beginning to manipulate the online tools to build community based support and recognize it as the foundation of social media strategy. But most don’t know what to do or how to represent their business.. here are 5 tips  from Frank Marquardt is director of Content Strategy at The Barbarian Group, a digital services and creation company with an almost radical devotion to Internet culture and nice red Swedish Fish™.

“1. Know Your Voice

Everything you say on the social web should “sound” like your brand. It’s something Skittles does well. Some of its status messages garner more than 1,000 comments, and many exceed 10,000 “Likes” on Facebook.”

2. Time Your Content

Create a calendar that spells out what you’re going to say and when you’re going to say. Make sure it’s relevant to where people are in their lives and the season. Nobody cares about Santa Claus in January, but a whole lot of people care about sales after Christmas. A quick look at Google Trends will confirm that.

3. Know Your Audience

Why does somebody follow you? Why do they like you? It’s because your brand offers them something. Make sure you deliver.

4. Solve Problems

Humans have survived for so long because they’re great at answering questions like “What do I do when my t-shirt’s stitching rips?” We all love it when somebody helps us the way Threadless does in this Facebook string

Give your audience the tools to help themselves, and make sure your social media team has the right information to share. By making things easier for others, we build trust. Trust strengthens our relationship.

5. Be True

Good content isn’t fake. It doesn’t make promises that it can’t keep. It’s human and honest. It has a personality and a point of view. It’s intrinsically social. That’s why it engages us. That’s why we follow or like your brand.

Your audiences will sniff it out if you’re pretending. But if you’re fun, honest and relevant, they’re going to recommend you to their friends. Isn’t that what social media’s all about?

As the people place more and more value on social media marketing, companies are increasingly taking a more structured approach to its implementation. Creating an effective social media marketing strategy for your business can bring you at the forefront of changes with the key players and industry leaders. Social media channel increases a company’s trustworthiness and goodwill among the users which will definitely give the said company an increased and better branding. When companies have conversations with their customers, the result is going to be a great amount of credibility. Therefore an organization has a better chance for market survival in a short time.

About The Author

Kerry Fitzgibbon

A social media strategist who loves helping others make money using social media. A trainer, author, coach and speaker - Kerry is passionate about social media marketing and in her spare time marathon running.