Social media networks changed a lot in 2014, are likely to change even more in 2015 and, like everything else, probably at an even faster rate. Is it possible to develop an overall social media approach that works regardless of what changes the networks throw at you? Definitely. Here are some general attitudes and approaches that will allow your brand or business to thrive this year, come what may.
1. The Pro.
Woody Allen said that eighty percent of success in life is showing up. I submit: ninety-nine point nine percent of success in social media is showing up. If you’ve started on social then you must do everything within your power to not let it languish. Although the half-life of any given social media post might be very short, if you post frequently and consistently you’ll have a cumulative impact which will make all the difference. There are lots of tools out there to help you with this, one of which is Emphatic which creates and posts the content for you. To be crystal clear: the Pro is the essential mindset to use in combination with the others.
2. The Local.
Good marketing is about finding the best way to communicate with customers, and good communication is about finding common ground. If you own a local business then you and your customers have common ground in the most literal sense: your shared community. Take advantage of this in your social media by starting conversations about local topics that affect you and your customers. This can range from non-controversial topics like weather, sports teams, upcoming events and traffic conditions to more partisan ones like city planning, regulations, legal cases and politics (see Mindset 5, the Rabblerouser.)
3. The Good Samaritan.
Remember when the only search engines we had were known as “librarians”? Social media networks are now starting to fill the role of chief question answerer. (Look out, Google!) There’s Quora, built just for this purpose, but even the all-purpose networks have a role to play. And this creates an opportunity for you to build your or your business’s brand by supplying answers. Here’s one example of how this can work for you on Twitter.
Go to Twitter’s Advanced Search. Under the Words section, type in the words or phrases associated with your industry or business.
If you’re a local business, be sure to Add a location under Places so that the search results will be limited to your region of interest. Then check off Questions in this section here: You should now be staring at a list of people who have asked questions related to your industry. Can you reply with a useful answer? Then it’s brownie points all the way! Maybe someone’s searching for a good location for a business lunch and you know just the place, or for a service that someone in your network can provide. Remove the search term you entered in step 1 and you’ll be confronted with a list of questions of all kinds, preferably from people in your region. Can you provide a small bit of kindness by providing the answer, even if it’s a case of LMGTFY (let me Google that for you)? Be someone’s pleasant surprise and build your brand karma along the way.
4. The Publisher.
Do you blog? Let me rephrase: do you blog regularly? It’s not easy but it is worth it. If you do publish original content on a regular basis then you can take a page out of the books of the Buzzfeeds, Upworthies and Huffington Posts of the world and use your social media primarily for promoting your blog posts. Of all the mindsets listed here, this is the one that’s laser-focused on driving traffic to your own website and is therefore ideal for meeting lead generation and sales goals (the short game). The other mindsets support brand awareness and affinity goals (the long game). Jon Loomer is a digital expert who excels at this, check out his thoughts on the topic.
5. The Media Hobnobber.
As I said in an earlier post on all the ways social media can directly grow your business, journalists (and bloggers) are social media junkies and Twitter is their drug of choice. Want to build a relationship that can help you get press coverage? Engage with them on Twitter — be helpful and human — and then when the time is right you’ll be warm pitching instead of cold pitching.
6. The Rabblerouser.
They say you should never introduce politics or religion into polite conversation, but “they” never had to contend with our instant gratification, ADD social media culture. Starting conversations on partisan topics are more risky but here’s why you may want to consider it:
a) They’re more likely to provoke a reaction and this is just what you need to spur people to share, retweet and comment. (In particular, today’s version of the Facebook algorithm favors Facebook posts that incite comments and shows them to a larger percentage of your Page fans.
b) They make you more authentic and prove that there’s a beating heart behind that brand. Mitt Romney might be the only person who sincerely believes that corporations are people, bless his heart. The rest of us beg to differ. People are people and, all else being equal, we would prefer to give our money to another person. So don’t shy away from having something to say.
Note that none of these mindsets are mutually exclusive. The best way to start might be to find the one that best suits your personality and then to blend in others while you gauge the effect on your levels of shares, favorites, comments, likes, retweets. Which one will you try? Let me know in the comments!