As of this month, Twitter has more than 215 million active users, and Facebook has more than 1.25 billion. The odds are good that you’re one of them.
Maybe you’re using your social network accounts to sound off on your favorite TV shows, or to connect with family members, or to share the funniest cat videos you can find.
But how is your business using social media? What does it do with those accounts? If your Facebook profile and your Twitter handle are just sort of sitting there, they aren’t doing you any good.
By taking a proactive approach to your social media strategy, though, you can realize their full potential and make them valuable tools for reaching audiences new and old.
Focus on the four key functions of a sound social media strategy:
Too many businesses make their social media an afterthought, blasting out the occasional link and waiting for individual users to come to them. Twitter is a powerful tool for proactively finding and engaging people, so don’t use it passively.
Find new and relevant conversations using hashtags and search, so you can join in—you don’t have to be invited. Seek out opportunities to interact and insert yourself.
Social networks are an increasingly preferred way for customers to reach out to businesses, so responding is just as important as answering your phone—maybe even more.
A survey this July found that the majority of customers expect issues that they raise on Facebook and Twitter to be resolved within four hours, so keep an eye on your accounts, and watch out for mentions and subtweets. If you ignore a customer on social media, the whole world can see.
While your email marketing and other strategies may be strictly self-focused, that shouldn’t be your approach here. We’d all like to think that our followers only care about us, but to create real value and lasting connections, you have to turn the spotlight elsewhere.
Share content with the people in your network, and not just content that you create. If you see an interesting piece of news, a thought-provoking blog post or even the occasional oddity, share it with your followers.
What some businesses think is the only purpose of their social media strategy is actually one of its least important functions. Naturally, you should use your profiles to promote your own business, particularly if you offer specials and discounts or need to make periodic announcements.
Unlike email marketing blasts, though, your self-promotional social media posts should typically represent a small sliver of the content you share, though—none of your followers are looking for a constant stream of advertisements in their feeds.
Whether you’re just starting to develop a social media strategy or you’re trying to reassess your approach, considering these four key functions can help you get on track and stay there, building more and better relationships with your online audience.