Boyd Digital is proud to announce our sponsorship of UFC fighter Robert Whiteford. We’ve been helping Robert to build his official site over the last few weeks to help give the world class Featherweight MMA fighter a fantastic platform for engagement and integration of his profiles.
Don’t be misled by the title. Don’t go thinking this is going to be an entirely negative post. Don’t believe that this post will completely turn your social media strategy on its head. Most importantly, don’t ignore everything you’re about to read on this page. A social media strategy can often turn in to a big game of “Do’s and Don’ts”. Questions like ‘why don’t customers engage on our profiles?/ why don’t I get more visits from social sources? Why don’t I focus on social links to more?’ will drive you in a spiral of don’ts you’ll never get out of.
If you have a business or a website the chances are you will realise the importance of having a good social media presence. Being able to interact with your target audience is a great way to gauge opinion and promote your product and it is often the first port of call for potential new customers.
But just how reliant are we becoming on this? Focussing all of our energies on one platform such as Facebook or Twitter can be a risky business if it means we neglect the quality of our actual site or a wider social net.
We have covered how you can use Facebook to your advantage and we can now have a look at another huge social media platform that has over 500 million registered users, Twitter.
With many celebrity users utilising this platform it gives you the opportunity to post up to 140 characters in short messages know as Tweets. Sharing pictures and links is also possible and it has been used as a successful marketing tool as well as a great way of interacting with customers.
The most popular users have a staggering following with Justin Bieber currently being the most followed with well over 39 million, closely followed by Lady Gaga and Katy Perry. You might be thinking that Twitter is just a domain for Pop stars and their fans looking at this but both Barack Obama (30+ million) and The Pope (2.5+ million) hold official accounts that have regular posts on their behalf.
Many businesses are now realising the potential of this and the likes of McDonalds and Nike have over 1 million followers on their main pages with several other pages falling under their umbrella too. Companies such as O2 now even offer customer service and advice over twitter.
We are going to look at how Twitter can benefit you and your business and the key points to ensure you maximise the impact of your Tweets.
In order to reach as much of your potential audience as possible timing your Tweets is essential. There are several tools available for you to look over the analytics and reaction to your Tweets. From this you can see the patterns of your followers and plan a schedule. Again, there are many tools at your disposal to help with this. You can set up programmes to post on your behalf so you know the messages you want to send will get out at the right times regardless of how busy you are or if you have access to a computer at these times.
Producing good and interesting content that appeals to your market will make followers more likely to ‘Retweet’ your post. This then allows everyone following them to see your original post, a great way of spreading your message and attracting new followers.
As always with any form of social media, interaction is key to your success. If people have taken the time to get in contact with you or respond to your post, replying is not only polite but will make them feel engaged and have a closer identity with your brand.
Having links to your social media accounts on your website is a great way of showing that you are well connected and open to interaction. Making good use of these platforms will help you establish your brand and become more identifiable in the market place so taking the time to do it right can be extremely beneficial.
The more astute online marketers had long taken advantage of this way to communicate to people who had actively sought them out but now that ability has been cut to reach just a small percentage.
Of course you can always pay to get sponsored posts on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter but there is a general feeling from users that these are the junk mail of social media, clogging up posts.
They are effective to some degree in promoting a message but getting natural posts to go viral and create a buzz is a much better way to engage people.
How then can we make full use from social media? The simplest way for me is this, Interaction. Interacting with users is a great way of spreading brand awareness through people mentioning your brand as well as reposting, sharing, re-tweeting.
By interacting with followers it also makes them feel more involved and, in turn, more likely to interact with your posts. This interaction on their part helps to publicise your page.
On Facebook for example commenting on or liking a post comes up on your friend’s timeline, “Hector likes Boyd Digitals photo”. If Hector has 1000 friends they will then see this. Creating good content that invites people to interact will then become a catalyst to your profile becoming visible on thousands of pages. Content such as good photos, polls and promotions can entice people to like, comment and share.
Creating a good balance is equally important because posting too often can frustrate people and lead to you clogging up news feeds the way that people tend to deal with that is to block or unlike the page.
Not posting enough or lack of interaction can also mean that people lose interest; it can also mean that you drop out of people’s news feeds. Another change that Facebook made was making pages invisible unless you interact or click on ‘Show in newsfeed’ which many people do not.
It goes without saying that this only really scratches the surface of good techniques to deal with your companies social media but it is good practice and can get good results.
So, apparently Ed Miliband thinks the world can be fixed with social media. And while we’re not 100% sure that world peace can be achieved through Facebook and Twitter, we can see where a government could help smooth out some highly unpopular issues before they spiral into a global outcry.
Let’s face it, if you are running a country there is nothing quite as embarrassing as a political uprising. When whispers about your ‘daring’ choice of headwear and ‘stern’ treatment of opposition supporters are making their rounds at diplomatic dinners things are bad enough, but when you have a full on political uprising hitting international headlines, it’s nothing short of humiliating.
Like most problems of this scale it is best to avert disaster, and you can often stop a slow burning situation from turning in to a major problem with social media. Now we’re not suggesting that any facebook savvy dictators take tips on how to rule their land through this, but any powerful body that needs public support can improve relations with the people who matter by investing in social media. And this could be a government, corporation, new business or even your local council.
So, here is our a tongue-in-cheek -guide to using social media to prevent a political uprising…..or just some useful tips on how to use social media to improve public relations –
- Monitor – A clever mix of automated and manual social media monitoring is required. Knowledge is power, what are people talking about? What topics are trending? What is the general sentiment towards current political issues? The identification of hot topics can be used to define policies that will please the people. The identification of unpopular issues can be used as a basis for corrective action.
- Map – Mapping the social media landscape and its key players is vital if the social media and real world is to be better understood. Identification of key influencers with large followings, high authority, and high interactions would allow better management of difficult political situations. Often political and social problems exist for a long time and it is only when a small handful of influencers take up the cause does an unpopular change gather momentum and becomes a big issue. By keeping track of the overall social media landscape and developing a thorough understanding of the people or organisations that influence or control different areas, paves the way for stage three.
- Interact – This is perhaps the most valuable and most difficult stage of the process. It involves using the historical and real time data to form offline and online strategy, while taking immediate action on social media platforms. For example, if a region of a country is voicing concern or anger over a particular issue, the problem can be met head on at various levels. At an offline level, resources could be diverted from a more content region to improve conditions and support in the unhappy region. On a positive social media level an alternative side of the story can be put across, by effectively engaging the key influencers, rather than a low level scatter gun approach. Strictly for arguments sake influencers could be persuaded to change their views.
This three step process barely scratches the surface on what would be a vastly complex and time consuming enterprise. It is vital to remember that social media is an uncontrollable freedom of speech monster.
While it can be monitored, mapped and guided through interactions, it can easily backfire, as any community can act in unpredictable ways. There is also a large moral question attached to monitoring any group in such a way. What one person considers to be listening to the voice of the people in a bid to make a better world could be view by another as Orwellian engineering. None the less, there lies a great opportunity for governments or companies alike to find out what its people want or need, sometimes before they even know. Political or consumer un-rest can be avoided by engaging with the affected people in the problem areas online and meeting their needs in the real world.
On a political (or corporate) level an advanced social media monitoring campaign could be a powerful tool in the correct hands. Even just at an information gathering level the potential benefits are plentiful. The big question that must be asked of any government or company aiming to attempt this is: do they have the understanding of such a modern and fluid technology and the restraint to use it wisely?