Thursday, October 7, 2010

Parameters For Business Who Want To Go The Social Media Path

Many a times am asked if business could do their own Social Network and how should they go about the much talked about Social Media path. Well it is not very difficult, as a business / brand / service you could venture into the world of Social Media with a little planning and foresight. Ofcourse at the very initial stage you need to have an objective. This objective is to be in tangent with what your marketing objectives are and what is feasible with Social Media. Just the way we would not directly put the print advertisement onto the TV commercial we cannot think of having any copy paste ideas on Social Media as well. You would plan out a script and a story-board for TV commercials similarly you need to plan out specially for Social Media as well. Taking the TV example a little ahead - you would have the same brand personality stretching into TV and print and other mediums similarly within the Social Media space also you need to have the same brand personality flowing.

The reason to have a single brand personality is so that when the consumer comes across your brand on any platform they relate to you and thereby you become more familiar to them. Thus you go a step further in their mindset to be considered and preferred brand. Hence you maintain the same tone of voice that you have maintained for your brand across other mediums.

There is no use talking about your product and how good it is and that people should be purchasing this. Social Media is a path to grow your brand affinity and associations. It is to go higher towards brand loyalty. It is not to do a monologue of hard sales. Your sales will eventually take place, but first you need to establish yourself. People do not join Facebook Fan / Business Pages, Twitter and other web spaces so that they can be bombarded with our sales pitches.

So the next crucial step is understand your target audience. Understand why would they join you on a Social Media site. Remember you are not only competing with your competitors but you are also competing amongst things that your target audeinece is connected to. For example it could be their friends chatting, posting, and sharing of their life which creates a rapport and a conversational point. Your target audience could be on sites that enable games and other time passing / knowledge gaining activities online. This is the world you are competing within. It is rightly said that web is now second life. People spend countless hours online. This is a great opportunity but if used only for hard slaes then you loose out and miss the bus.

Next is you need to plan out what will your content be. Try to avoid as much as sales talk as feasible. Hard sales talk is a total nono. You need content that 'engages your target audience' at the same time 'enhances your brand personality'. You need to get your target audience to 'look forward' to interacting with you [your web page]. Having said this you also need to be consistent in your efforts. Today with so much of online activity you cannot restrict yourself to being announcing something as a monologue once a week. This does not work.

This brings us to scheduling. Scheduling and posting your content often is very important.Ofcouse you need to be careful that you are not crossing the line and annoying your subscribers / community people online. This also brings us to another pointer which is freshness of content.

We need to post what is relevant to our target audience and we need to communicate fresh content. Copy paste will not work here. What will work is rinse and repeat. Which means that many a times you may run out of content thoughts however you can re-freshen what you have already published and share this. You could also synthesize and approach other people's ideas in a different manner and share that too. This is content curation.

Thus, you need to know clearly the nature of the various Social Media sites. A Facebook and Twitter for example would be utilized in slightly different manner. Understanding the site functionality is critical.

When you do the above what takes place over a couple of months is that people start to interact with you on that particular web page. Bringing us to a crucial matter that listening, responding and conversing with our members is critical. For this you need to have the monitoring / listening and measuring tools. They will enable you to know who has posted a comment / request etc.

When we are onto this the main factor of negative comments handling, you need to have the capacity to conduct and behave as per your brand personality incase you meet with negative comments. Handling negative comments is the deciding point many a times if you can make the angry person stay with you or unsubscribe to you.

How do you go about managing your Social Media space. Is there anything you may wish to address here? To discover, share, question answer sessions and converse on Social Media do join me at facebook.com/pervarakapadia