Social media can be an inexpensive, but effective, way to market a company's products or services. Like most businesses today, you've probably at least dipped your toe into its waters. Or perhaps you have a full-blown, ongoing social media strategy involving multiple sites and a variety of content. In either case, it's important to ask yourself - and keep asking yourself - some fundamental questions about why and how you're using social media. Here are five to consider:
- What differentiates your company? This question is more complex than it may appear. When striving to stand out on social media, you've got to separate yourself from not only your competitors, but also many other entities vying for your followers' attention. Look closely into whether your brand "pops" and how dynamic your messages may or may not be.
- What will your followers react to? Get to know your company's followers. Remember, this may include current customers and prospects, as well as potential new hires and community leaders or activists. Be careful: In their efforts to get noticed, many companies have crossed the line into offensive or just plain embarrassing content.
- What do you hope to accomplish? Your social media strategy should be no different from any other profit-building initiative. Establish clear, trackable objectives; allocate a reasonable budget; and assess regularly whether you're succeeding or failing.
- How often should you post? There's no hard and fast rule for how often to post new content. Anyone who's active on social media knows there's a limit before you become a nuisance. Then again, posting too infrequently may inhibit you from gaining any traction in the competitive online environment. Appropriate frequency depends in part on the social media site - you should generally post much more often on Twitter than on LinkedIn, for example.
- Who's minding the store? Social media requires ongoing attention. In addition to creating new posts, you'll need to continuously watch for inappropriate comments and block social media "trolls" looking to cause mischief. Make sure that someone's stated job duties include keeping an eye on every social media account associated with your business.
The answers to these questions can help guide your company's overall social media strategy. Remember, the social media world is constantly in flux, with new trends and sites arising all the time - always keep an inquisitive mind.