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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Social media success -- it's more than a numbers game

Before embarking on a social media plan, we always ask our clients what they want from their social media efforts. The reply is often, “To get more followers.” We understand! Everyone wants more followers.  It makes your organization appear popular...well-liked...valid!

But having an astounding number of followers doesn’t necessarily mean you have the
right followers. To make the most of your social media efforts, you need to gain followers who will help you:

  • Reach your organization’s larger goals
  • Promote your brand
  • Interact
To get those followers, an effective social media strategy should:

1.   Support the overall goals of your organization.

In order to accomplish this, you first need to define your organization’s overall goals for the next one to five years. Think about where you want to be – not on social media, but as an organization as a whole. Make it easy on yourself by keeping the list to three goals. More than that is probably not realistic.

After you set your goals, think about who, specifically, are the best people to help you reach each. Which social media channels are those people you identified using? Are some on Twitter and others on Pinterest? Target your message explicitly to those people, on those channels, and you will reach the larger audience, too.

2.   Reflect your organization’s brand identity.

A good social media strategy takes into account how your brand relates to people’s lives. Don’t be entirely self-promotional. In addition to reflecting your brand’s voice and important issues, your content themes should target the wider, related interests of your audience.

Facebook and Google+ posts that are relevant to your audience’s lives, rather than simply lauding how great your brand is, will attract customers and brand advocates. They are the ones who will spread the word about how fantastic you are.

3.   Include a means of engaging with your online community.

When planning your conversation calendar, remember that social media is not only about pushing information to your audience. The “social” part of it requires that you spend some time IN the conversation. Be sure to include time to respond to questions, reply to comments, and acknowledge mentions.

Also, include time to really listen to the conversation going on around your brand: read timelines, news feeds and boards. Find out what the people who like your organization are talking about, so you can be part of that conversation, too. When people realize you are fully participating in the dialogue, your community becomes stronger and wider.

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