Social media is a medium you need to add to your communications mix. It needs to be an extension of what you are trying to achieve with your business and should be closely aligned with your business goals.
There are a few major communications objectives social media can help you with:
- Build relationships with your online audiences
- Raise your profile generally or within an industry
- Manage your reputation – what do you want to be known for?
- Become a thought leader; provide content and advice
- Follow trends
- Distribute information
- Be a conduit / aggregator of knowledge
- Promote your victories
- Espouse your company culture – the way you do things around your place
Important points to consider
As a new rule social media is about sharing what you know. Being generous with ideas, thoughts, skills and knowledge online is a sure way to develop a profile and reputation.
Being frank, honest and consistent in messaging and branding are more important than ever. Opening yourself up to scrutiny and publically posted comments and feedback is a sure way to develop credibility and trust in you and your brand.
The business communications strategy is vital to success.
To engage your potential clients and get them to seriously consider choosing your business requires the building of a multi-layered and multi-faceted experience.
Website: the cornerstone. This is where you will drive all your online traffic, providing information about your company, your history, your team, your capabilities, galleries of your work and link to the partners. This will be where your media releases will sit, updates or your news, your contact details and even copies of your newsletter.
From here you could add your traditional marketing tools: sales and marketing collateral such as proposal documents, reports, brochures, case studies, newsletters and testimonial sheets. Other forms include your business cards, signage and uniforms.
Consider your Public Relations: events such as staff and client VIP nights as well as Association membership and involvement in industry events are also important. Your media relations, writing articles and sponsorship programs are all functions of PR.
Then add advertising: targeted key message about your businesses with strong calls to action placed in magazines that your clients and prospects read.
Next add online marketing: this will consist of your email signature tags, e-newsletters and the development of an e-book…
Now, social media:
Facebook: The backstage pass to your business. This is where you can post updates on your projects, share images, achievements, thoughts and information.
YouTube: You can create a designated channel that will house the videos taken of your business.
Blog: is a great way to have the capacity to communicate and record your experience, insights and opinions. You can tell the story behind your business, ideas about the industry and the system behind the success.
Linkedin: Great way to develop an online professional reputation. Keep your contacts up-to-date with what you are doing, provide recommendations and join discussion groups.
Twitter: Begin to evolve into Twitter as you develop a following on Facebook. Getting an engaged social media audience first will then be used as leverage for entering twitter.
Integration with partners online: This is where you share pages, information and events from your clients, colleagues, industry and partners.
Tips for social media
- Understand what social media is and what it isn’t – it’s about building relationships and referring people; asking questions, responding to people’s ideas and discussions.
- Your communications strategy is more important than ever because there are more components to your branding and marketing than ever before.
- Your branding can really come alive with social media. What’s your point of difference? (Think of your brand as an image of your company’s personality and values)
- Be creative – everyone loves something quirky and new.
- Be generous – give your ideas and opinions.
- Add value to people’s lives – make this the benchmark for what you add online.