Explaining social media to a client is one of the hardest things I’ve come across. Many companies are hiring social media experts or entire social media teams to manage their presence in this new medium. There seems to be a problem with many of these supposed experts and teams. Social media is different than anything that has come before. It’s importance and potential uses are right in it’s name. It is a social forum, a way of building relationships with your clients/customers. It is not just another website to post the same things in the same ways you’ve been doing for years. It is its very own animal with its very own audience that responds to a very different type of message.
I’ve seen too many companies try to use social media in the wrong way. A social network will not respond to typical marketing. They want to relate to you. They want to be reminded of your presence and your values, not force fed pushy annoying advertisements. People learn through repetition. Social media creates a passive reminder that the social network connection can choose to explore further.
I used the analogy with a client the other day that I think will help more and more people. Think of your company website as your house. This is where all of your belongings, your ideas/ideals are stored. Different rooms in your house contain different items, different information. These rooms are the pages of your website. Each is still connected. They are all the same house, the same company. Social media is just a glass door. It is a glimpse of what you are. The door with an excellent view that makes any peeping Tom want to see more. The more social media sites a company maintains profiles on, the more doors in the house, all with similar but slightly different views, depending on the social site itself.
How do you use social media as an individual? Do you have a Facebook page? If you do, you know how you use it personally. You view pictures, update your friends on your status, post comments, and read others’ comments. Though your topics and language should be more professional, your business page should do the same. The one thing that I can’t stress enough about social media is the need to interact. Check your pages daily. You don’t necessarily need to post something every single day but you must be aware of your connections’ posts and respond to them in a timely manner. Fuel the relationship. Remember the social in social media. It’s all about the interaction.
Do not make social media try to be something it is not. It is obviously doing something right. Find where you fit into the formula and how the formula can fit in with your current marketing plan.