I'm on a mission lately to understand what works in social media and what doesn't. I spend countless hours each week scheduling tweets, answering questions on Facebook, and tracking what other people have to say. Social media can be a time-saver and a time-suck. I can post a question on Twitter and get 10 good answers back in minutes-try that Quora. I can also browse 50 tweets and find nothing of value. Dang.
Recently, I spoke with Carmen Sutter, the Product Manager for Adobe Social, about what works and doesn't work for companies trying to use social media effectively. She shared several key insights, which I am quoting from her below.
1. Keep it organized.
"With the ephemeral nature of most social networks, it's easy to take a 'seat of your pants' approach. This is a mistake-consistency is unbelievably important. Keep a content calendar to keep track of what's happening across all of your channels-being disorganized can sink your strategy in a hot second. Don't hit your followers too often, and make sure to tailor your content to the channel, don't just reuse the same stuff."
2. Be human, but not annoyingly so.
"It's easy to think of social networks strictly as repositories for advertising, and they're often great for that. That said, Facebook and Twitter are also excellent places for organic customer engagement. Look for opportunities to interact, solve problems, and create goodwill for your brand. Avoid clogging up your customers' feeds with endless RTs or pictures of bears on unicycles. Social posts should be a conversation."
3. Be on time, but not robotic.
"No, 6 a.m. on a Tuesday is probably not the best time to tweet at your 18-24 demo, just like six weeks later is not the right time to post about the World Cup. Relevancy is paramount. If your message is too early (or too late), it's lost forever. That said, don't let blogger hype or algorithms dictate when you post. Learn when your specific audience is online--it's never one-size-fits-all."
4. Find your place.
"No matter how tempting it is to be everywhere all the time, keep your brand where it belongs. It's not always this obvious, but there are very few muffler shops that need to maintain a Tumblr presence. Think about the social destinations where your customers actually are and put in the effort where it counts, don't dilute your impact by shouting from every rooftop."