Making social media more social: Three ways

Fingers with faces painted on them, representing a social network

Almost everybody’s talking about social media. SMEs want to jump on board and harness it as a marketing and branding tool, and many other businesses are getting involved to increase sales or expand their customer base. But to get the most from this tool, you need to understand what makes it tick. Here’s a look.

Social media’s ‘social’ element is at the very basis of its success – it’s all about participation, community and connecting people. In order for social media activity to be successful, businesses needs to understand the ‘social’ aspect. It requires more than a marketing department to work; it needs passionate and eager individuals talking about the business online so it becomes part of the DNA and culture of a business. With this said, do businesses really get social media?

No one really knows whether getting Facebook likes or re-tweets equates to new customers.  Most presume that eventually it does, otherwise why bother participating? Whatever the end result, simply being part of the conversation is fundamentally important. Here are the simple facts why:

What this means is that more and more people are using, connecting and sharing information on social media and other online platforms. This is now a valid communication channel that is culturally shifting the way we connect and communicate, and businesses need to grasp this.

Here are three key points every business must consider:

Community management

It takes more than likes, followers or views to be successful on social media. To begin with, it takes development, planning, effort, and an engaging environment. Businesses must listen, create conversation and interaction while at the same time producing a valuable and interesting experience for customers and reinforcing the brand positioning and unique selling point of the business.

Content development

Content generation and a publisher mind set is no longer enough when it comes to content. A business must be able to create valid content in multiple, shareable formats. The aim is to build a connection between the brand and its community that is authentic, creative and motivating.

Burberry’s activity in 2011 made it a stand out brand for social media interaction. Its Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter shows were streamed live through a video feed. In addition to this, its fragrance ‘Body’ wasn’t unveiled on TV, but on Burberry.com and YouTube rewarding individuals who liked Burberry on Facebook.

Social media tools

Investing in social media applications is beneficial. It doesn’t require a huge financial outlay, often just paying a little extra will give you a raft of more features than you’d get with the free version. This means that you’re able to do more with the platform, such as monitor engagement, manage mailing lists and so on. It’s important you choose the right tools for your business, along with the appropriate strategies to ensure you stay on top of evolving technologies.

It’s essential SMEs embrace social media and see it as an opportunity to engage and encourage consumers. Social media is constantly changing, so being ready to change with it is vital. Those that don’t attempt to understand are choosing to ignore one of the most significant developments in technology, media and marketing.