Are you suffering from social media fatigue? Many people are. And yet you can't ignore the power social media has for building your brand and your business. The challenge is how to effectively promote and manage your brand. For good or for bad, today your brand changes by the second, by what people are saying about you online.
In my interview with Joel Comm, author of "Twitter Power 3.0: How to Dominate Your Market One Tweet at a Time," he notes that approached wisely, social media still can be a positive game-changer for any business, small or large. Used correctly, social media can outperform traditional paid media to spread the message much cheaper. Brands now have an opportunity to directly reach and impact their prospects and customers, bypassing channels that had previously been the cornerstone.
A pioneer in the social space, here are Comm's tips on making the most of social media as a branding tool.
1. Find your own voice.
All too often, companies with minimal experience on social media wind up trying to copy other companies' approach to the medium. Comm says you should strive for authenticity in your messaging and approach. "If you are consistent in your messaging, you don't have to be a pretender. People are attracted to others who are real, warts and all," he says.
2. Take some risks.
True creativity requires some degree of risk-taking. Social media is not always the safest place to take risks, but finding the right balance for marketers can help them strike true gold with their approach. "It takes a visionary to do something that hasn't been done before and makes a lasting impact," says Comm.
3. Always be transparent.
It's hard to hide anything today, as anyone can access virtually any information they desire. If you make a mistake, don't try to hide it, because people will always find out. "If you always tell the truth, you don't have to wonder where someone will find a hole in your story," says Comm. "People are very forgiving to those who aren't afraid to recognize their flaws. But if you try to cover it up, the internet will have you for lunch... and dinner... and then breakfast."
4. Listen to constructive feedback and take action.
Comm believes you should use online feedback as a tool. He references Randy Gage, the author of Mad Genius, about the way feedback works online. Gage says "It never ceases to amaze me how many companies spend millions of dollars on market research and focus groups but are completely tone deaf to social media, where they could get even better information for free," says Gage about companies who fail to recognize the "social" in social media. "When a brushfire breaks out in social media and you don't respond to it, it quickly turns into a wildfire and becomes anti-social media for you. When you see a problem early and work to solve it, you can easily turn adversaries into raving fans."
5. Ignore the trolling.
The internet is a hostile environment, and nowhere is this more present than on social media, where innocent statements can easily become ripe for attack. Comm recommends responding to critics, but being aware of people who just want to cause you pain and headaches for fun. "It's essential to reply to everyone who sincerely is seeking a response. But there are some people that post and tweet just to annoy you," notes Comm. "There's nothing wrong with drawing a healthy boundary on your social profiles and blocking those whose sole purpose is to antagonize."
6. Monitor your impact.
Many companies that use social media do not pay careful attention to the data that the platforms offer. Again Comm refers to Gage for the benefits of gathering rich data. "You'll know what delights clients and be in a position to reward the employees responsible," says Gage. "You'll also know right away when bad things are happening, and can jump in to fix them. Such instant feedback is invaluable and provides a roadmap on how to improve both your process and service."