Social Media Marketing – making the most of your time

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Social networks are already shaping how business is done.  From how contracts and projects are managed, to how clients interact with your company, social networks are here to stay and word of mouth marketing has never been so powerful.  With so brands now represented across a growing number of sectors and social networking platforms, your peers are doing it, your competitors are doing it, so how do you engage and join in the conversation?

There are several social networks out there to choose from. There are the obvious big ones, such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn but now there are newcomers such as Google+ and Pinterest to explore.  How do you keep up with it all?  Like any new medium, there is a danger of overload.  So how do you follow all the conversations and still have time to do your job?

Because Social Media is real-time, you can dip in and out, whilst setting up searches and RSS feeds for content of interest that you might otherwise miss.  The development of the ‘Smart Phone’ makes it far easier to do business on the go, and accessing social media portals and being responsive to current issues and conversations as and when they happen.  This can become a big part of your working day.  You still have to manage your time effectively.  Aim to strike a balance and think about the real value that you are getting out of it.

Your business development and marketing functions should have a strategy in place for Social Media, as an integrated part of the modern marketing mix.  They should have identified the target audience, set clear objectives, be working to a social media plan using specific tactics to share the firm’s social media content through the various Social Media platforms.

In addition to the obvious brand recognition, Social Media enables word of mouth, real-time viral marketing.  By creating and publishing optimised online content (Social Media content) you can gain market share, benefit from collaboration, sharing and partnering whilst improving your company’s public and media relations.  Because Social Media Marketing is completely measurable, you can quickly see what’s working, what’s adding value to the bottom line and how you are measuring up to your Social Media objectives.

Quick Tips for getting the most out of social media activity

  1. Use time wisely.  Concentrate your efforts on those places where conversations are happening that are relevant to your marketplace and identified in your business development strategy.
  2. Be responsive – Allowing comment and encouraging clients to contribute to your content enables good discussions and can provide you with great testimonials.  Monitor the company name across the social networks that you are active on and respond accordingly.  If someone posts a complaint on Twitter, address it as you cannot delete it.  Send them a Direct Message (DM) so that other users can’t see detail of the conversation.  Don’t just ignore it.
  3. Be consistent – Keep your branding and your biographies consistent across the social networks.  You want people to recognise your brand and your value proposition.  Your tone and messaging should be clear and it is worth using one content publishing platform (Like your blog) to feed through to your social accounts.  Be sure to monitor the comments though.
  4. Use different types of content – Your content should be fresh, relevant and timely in order to keep your followers interested.  A combination of news releases, blog post articles, presentations and videos will keep you busy nurturing your followers.  Respond to all feedback and thank people for sharing your content.
  5. Get Networking – Social media sites are not only a good way to look for leads, but they are also a good way to find partnership opportunities.  A potential lead might ask several questions about your services or your experience in a sector.  A potential client might retweet (RT) your messages and engage with your content.  Use the opportunity to network with them, as you would do face-to-face.

Social networking is about building relationships.  As an individual you can find a niche and share an interest, get a new job, gain CPD points, and develop new relationships.   As a company, you can raise your PR profile and generate real revenue for your business.

Kirstie Colledge is managing director of Online Construction PR Agency Simply Marcomms and a committee member of CIMCIG, the Chartered Institute of Marketing’s construction industry group.

You can follow Kirstie on Twitter (@KirstieColledge)

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