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Social media: connect, appeal and engage

December 14, 2012

By Rosalind Carr, @Rosalind_at_O

In the last few weeks, the role of social media has been on our minds, and we’ve started to question how many of us really use this platform to its full potential. Everyone’s signed up, but we’re wondering how many accounts stay updated, with content relevant to followers and therefore considered noteworthy…

We’ve also been contemplating how personal social media handles appear, and how they attract leads for the brand that a personal profile represents. Associating a brand with a face builds connections from person to person which are unique, relevant and interactive.

At the Intellect headquarters in London last month, some of the team attended “Marketing and Sales Group Meeting: CRM and Social Business – Reinvigorating the existing and adding the new.” Here the managing director of Redd Marketing, Leigh Hopwood, spoke on how best to utilize your social media and truly connect with and understand your brand’s followers. Hopwood stressed the importance of social media, noting 93% of marketers are now involved. However, her focus was on understanding your brand’s identity and deciding the tone it wants to project. These thoughts were also coupled with the notion of not only getting connected but also STAYING connected, as there is a crucial difference between the two.

As a result, we thought it would be helpful to compile a few insights and questions for you to ponder regarding your own brand’s identity and how you communicate it… Food for thought.

  • Consider using your social media not only to connect with prospective and current customers but also partners, suppliers and employees – a virtual, professional community
  • As noted above, prospective leads look for new business ventures and opportunities through people’s personal social media pages. Therefore on LinkedIn, Twitter etc you personally represent the values, image and message of your business.
  • If you have easily accessible social media linked via your website, a lead is more likely to progress if your brand has clearly gone the extra mile and is an interactive forum for all. Hopwood noted that 21% of b2b companies can consistently show ROI from their social media.
  • Witness and react: keeping an eye on your page and its follower reception is a must: You need to understand how they found you and what they liked or disliked. You can witness audience reaction, noting your successes as well as setbacks. In sum, you are witnessing and responding to audience opinion and tailoring your future actions accordingly.
  • What is your unique selling point, or USP? Could this be implied on Facebook/Twitter in your interests section?
  • Good content is key! This goes hand in hand with credibility. People don’t want to be bombarded with information they may not necessarily care about. Short, sharp, interesting and relevant information attracts them to you because it is far more useful than the typical “spam”/corporate talk. Followers are much more likely to continue reading your content if it relates to their interests.
  • Listen to what your customers and followers are doing online and consider what they want to achieve from your interaction.
  • In connection with the above, it’s important to consider how you focus time on social media platforms…
    • Who are you engaging with?
    • What do they want to know?
    • What is your tone? Is it defined by audience and their reception?
    • What do you expect to gain from these efforts?
    • Do you like that social media is personal? Are there benefits of interacting with PEOPLE specifically?

At the end of the day…

Valued and engaged contact = happy and loyal contact

To help you remember, we think Hopwood’s five simple pointers for profitable online relationships encompass all of the above:

  • Quality network
  • Quality content
  • Consistency
  • Brand personality
  • Measure and tweak – witness and react

We found a clear and effective PR News article designed for startups and SMEs across all sectors to coincide with last month’s Small Business Saturday.  We thought it might be of interest to readers of the Countdown blogs, particularly in light of this discussion.

3 Messaging Strategies for Brands on Small Business Saturday by Paul Jankowski:  http://www.prnewsonline.com/free/3-Messaging-Strategies-for-Brands-on-Small-Business-Saturday_17415.html

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