How You Can Leverage Social Media Across Your Business
Do you developed separate plans for each social media effort and platform as they evolve and proliferate?
If so, you probably have redundant activity that’s not contributing incrementally to your bottom line.
Instead you need a 360 degree social media marketing approach to plan your social media activities for your brands and products as one portfolio. This will allow you to leverage social media across your business to achieve better results without investing more scarce resources.
360 degree social media marketing defined:
It’s a holistic approach to social media where your target audience is placed at the center of your efforts. The objective is to leverage the power of social media across your business and eliminate redundant efforts. Each effort is adapted appropriately for each specific platform to maximize response and reduce work.
Want a great example of 360 degree social media marketing? Look at The Beatles. Here’s a 10 point social media analysis.
How to integrate 360 degree social media marketing across your business
Here are 10 tactics to integrate 360 degree social media marketing across your organization.
Understand that at the heart of 360 degree social media marketing is understanding your target audience and providing them with the information they actively seek in a context that’s relevant to them.
1. Develop content for social media consumption on a regular schedule
Re-envision your marketing and corporate communications into useful information that’s formatted and optimized for social media consumption.
- Provide useful information that your prospects and customers seek. Give them all 5 of the basic content formats.
- Reformat each piece of content to ensure that it shines contextually on each platform.
2. Distribute all marketing and communication messaging via social media
While creating amazing original content marketing is important, it’s useless without strong distribution. As Derek Halpern and Peg Fitzpatrick say, you have to spend at least half of your time promoting your great work or it’s doomed to under-perform.
- Reformat each piece of content to appeal to the largest potential audience on each social media platform.
- Extend the social media lifespan of each share with multiple shares where appropriate.
- Chop up longer pieces to provide multiple shares. For example, each point of a list.
- Add social sharing tools to the beginning and end of each piece of content.
- Embed useful tools like ClickToTweet, PinThis and Buffer to expand your reach.
- Remove stumbling blocks to sharing. Don’t try to force visitors to register or make them think.
- Use a variety of different media formats and platforms. Think photographs, video, audio and presentation.
3. Integrate social media into customer service
Get your customer service team engaged on social media where appropriate. Remember just because an employee is good at phone interactions doesn’t mean that they’ll be good on social media.
- Create answers to common customer questions. (This is one of the 5 basic content types prospects seek.)
- Provide phone numbers, addresses and email forms on all of your social media presences to give visitors another way to contact your customer service off of social media. Make sure that these requests are handled quickly.
- Monitor social media for problems that are brewing among your customers or competitors’ customers.
- Get general messages out where appropriate. This works well for time sensitive activities like plane delays.
4. Incent employees to represent your firm on social media
Allow all of your employees to participate on social media. Of course, you must have a set of social media guidelines before they start to participate. Outline what they can say as employees and as individuals.
- Define how employees including those people whose job it is to represent your firm on social media can use their personal identities as well as the corporate ones. You don’t want them to build their followings and leave.
- Offer social media training to ensure consistency on your social media platforms.
- Recognize or reward employees for positive social media interactions.
5. Socialize the reach of company-related events
Use social media to expand your corporate presence at conferences and live events as well as sales meetings and in-store activity.
- Post corporate presentations on SlideShare to enhance business reach.
- Add video of live events and conferences to your YouTube and blog pages.
- Live tweet and blog conferences and other events to add your company’s voice to the conversation. Don’t limit this activity to your social media, marketing and communications staff.
- Set up a fun area to enable customers to take and share fun photos. Even an old fashioned bulletin board works.
- Create a customer of the month on your social media venues and in-store.
6. Expand human resources’ reach and effectiveness
Take your blinders off with regard to increasing human resources efficiency on social media. Remember people are at the heart of both human resources and social media.
- Post job openings to a broader audience (although LinkedIn is a great way to target potential candidates cost effectively.)
- Create an alumni association on LinkedIn. Business consulting firms have done this for years since it’s a source of new business.
- Position your business as a place people want to work and do business. Don’t limit your activity to LinkedIn. Feature employees on your Facebook pages, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+.
- Add to your organization’s owned content where appropriate. Add fun information and content to blogs and other social presences.
7. Collect customer input and feedback for market research purposes
Set up a process for gathering input and insights about your brands, products and customers.
- Listen to and engage with prospects and customers to hear what they’re seeking from your firm. American Express was one of the first firms to do this. It not only surfaces information you might not have expected or sought but it also reduces your market research expense.
- Field product and service questions to gather useful information. This may require that your employees step outside of their comfort zone.
- Add a suggestion box to your social media presences. Of course, it needs to be integrated into a process to ensure that this information is gathered.
8. Integrate social media into your PR efforts
Include your PR in your social media activities.
- Work with influencers in your field to build visibility.
- Create a business blog to establish thought leadership. Where appropriate get a member of the senior team involved.
- Entice high profile bloggers to write for your blog. Be prepared to compensate them.
- Encourage company participation at major conferences in your field.
- Monitor social media channels for company references. Respond where appropriate.
9. Use social media to enhance investor relations
Get your investor relations team into the social media act. Go beyond the basics required by regulators.
- Create and share content that gives investors a feel for your business. Warby Parker did a spectacular job of this. (The benefit is that done well you may be able to attract additional press.)
- Give investors an entry way into your invest relationships team where appropriate. Again include a phone number and an email address.
10. Break down the corporate silos to maximize social media marketing.
Examine your business holistically to see where employees are currently involved in social media and where you’d like to get more interaction.
- Ask more junior employees for their input. Use an electronic tip box and have it routed to a discrete team member.
- Reward employees for improving processes and eliminating redundancies.
While many companies think that they have an effective social media marketing strategy, they need to go further.
Assessing how you can leverage your 360° social media marketing across your organization to reduce or eliminate redundant activities. Also, get all of your employees into the act.
Think 360° for every social media effort.
What tactics have you found to be most effective for your 360 degree social media marketing?
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Great content isn't just about producing a well written piece. It's about addressing your audience's relevant pain points and showing that you understand their needs. Don't be shy to freely give away advice and information—great content always comes from the heart.
If you can address the issues your customers care about most with a solution or perspective in which your company has real expertise, they tend to respond positively, becoming loyal supporters, and even evangelists. Show content effectiveness, establish a direct connection to your reader, and grab their attention for good by engaging, entertaining, and informing them.
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