Social media is a great way to get your audience more involved in the message you are communicating, by offering a chance to support that message with “real time” interactions. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Foursquare… the tools that you choose aren’t necessarily as important as making sure to use them well.
Think about how you advertise your social media presence – a link at the bottom of your emails, a line on your business cards, a URL in the credits of a video, a mention through another social media channel; we’ll use Facebook as our example. There are many ways to bring visitors to your Facebook page, but how do you get them to click that “Like” button, and then come back for future visits?
Take a step back, and ask yourself, “Would I hit that Like button? What does this page offer? Why would someone choose to Like it?” And then ask yourself, “What do I want to be the reason they click Like? What do I want them to perceive as my value?” Lastly… decide how you’re going to communicate it! Here are some tips.
Know what you’re going to be posting about, and when. Make a calendar and plan ahead, so that your content comes to your fans in a steady stream. Nothing loses participation more quickly than silence.
Interact with your fans. Post period welcomes to new members. Ask questions, and then use that “Like” button to show that you’ve read and appreciate the responses. Use the Facebook Questions feature to get a conversation started, and make sure that you participate!
Do not allow yourself to become a brand robot. This ties in very neatly with the above point – you have to interact with your fans in order to seem more personable and “likeable”. Don’t just spend all of your time reposting your news stories and ad campaigns – post some historical pictures to start discussion, post about the community service day, show the more personal side of your group.
Promote participation. Ask your fans to share their own pictures and stories. Allow them to add to your photo albums. This goes a long way toward promoting engagement and involvement, particularly with the Facebook page associated with a once-a-year event. A month later, solicit people to upload and comment on their memory photos. Two months later, show off historical photos and ask others to post theirs. Sharing promotes involvement, which keeps your fans returning to the page.
Show them what you offer. When you’ve got a sale, promotion, or special event, let your fans know about it. If you can, offer a “fan exclusive” – a discount, a sneak peek, a “fans only” event – something to add value to being a Facebook fan of your group.
Don’t go overboard. You see, your fans are human too, and if you fill up their feed with 20 posts a day about your event, they will eventually reach overload and either “unlike” or hide your posts. Twice a day is adequate for anything that you’re not live-covering, but always gauge your audience, and remember that responding to questions/comments is never a part of that “overboard” quota!
With the plug ins that the Web Team has to import your social media feeds into your site, you have a great set of tools to engage your visitors, if the content is interesting, relevant, and timely.
These tips are remarkably similar to the Twitter Tips that are posted on the Social Media Handbook site – good advice on one platform often translates to other social media tools.
Original ClickZ article can be found here.
Skidmore’s social media handbook can be found here.