Once you’ve made the decision to embrace social media, the next step is to use it effectively.
Everything has a place. Facebook is for sharing with your existing contacts. Twitter is great for regularly broadcasting to anyone who wants to listen. Blogs like this are ideal for more extensive information. LinkedIn is ideal for connecting and networking on a professional level.
Most importantly, all of these tools can be used to listen to your market and engage in 2-way communication. There’s a glaring difference between brands who are still trying to broadcast and those who share information. Think about your own social networks. You have people you trust, people you look to for information and people who you disregard. Think carefully about the tools you are using and how you are using them. Use social media to develop a relationship with your clients and build trust.
Users won’t necessarily visit your site just because you’ve branded it. Offer them something more. Make the content of each relevant to the product you are trying to sell, or at least relevant to your clients and industry. Help people to understand things. Let them talk to each other.
On each social platform, you need to build your brand. Be careful to maintain it or risk losing followers. Beware of saturation. Don’t post just for the sake of it. Keep them wanting more.
Remember that over-exposure generates immunity. I subscribe to blogs from Seth Godin and Chris Brogan. To do justice to my clients, I have to read all of their posts but it’s hard not to become immune when you receive an email every day. If you try to post too frequently, you’ll eventually run out of interesting things to say. No one is that interesting.
We all have (or had) contacts who’s forwarded emails we trash immediately. They’ve overwhelmed us with things we aren’t interested in. On the other hand, the thoughtful person who only sends things occasionally wins our attention. It’s the same concept when using blogs, Facebook and Twitter, except the stakes are higher. Overwhelm a user and you’ll lose them forever.
It’s the same with Facebook and Twitter. Don’t say something unless you have something interesting to say. Interesting means interesting to the audience you are trying to attract and maintain. If you don’t have something to tell them, something that’s relevant to the reason they’re following you, don’t waste their time. Don’t say something just because you think you have to. Twitter and Facebook are just like any other relationship, play hard to get, keep them wanting more.
Gary McCaffrey recommends that you post to twitter between 9am and 3pm for maximum effectiveness
Here’s a good how-to blog from Elance on the basics.
Here’s an example from one of our clients at Think! Social Media. If you run a kite boarding school like Exotikite, Tweet about Today’s wind forecast or the wind at the beach right now. Put photos of your students learning and the location of the school on Facebook. Tag your students in the photos for their friends to see on News Feeds. Maintain a blog on how to do the latest trick. Build a forum to allow people to review equipment.