You’ve probably read many times how social media changed our lives, provided us with a voice and made everyone a publisher. However, millions of people and companies have jumped on the wagon since the early days. Do you already see a big problem for 2012? Noise.
A few weeks ago, we wrote a post about how cluttered Twitter is. It doesn’t matter any more how many followers you have since your message barely gets seen.
On Tuesday, I read this other post where Niall Harbison from Simply Zesty, wrote about how difficult it is for brands and companies to get exposure on Facebook unless they invest money in ads. Number of fans, again is not enough folks. He ends the post saying “Basically if you want exposure on Facebook now you need to pay. Simple as that. Facebook have done a wonderful job of locking every area of the platform down so as they control most of the ad revenue that flows through it. Even the feed is getting harder to access and with ads coming there this month things will get even harder…”
Companies approaching social media as a mere distribution channel will have to think harder and re-visit their budget for 2012 if they want to see positive results.
So, what could you do?
Here are only four suggestions that will hopefully make your decision a bit easier:
- Only measure what matters: This means that you will have to rework your objectives and KPIs for your existing social media platforms. For example, if before you where tracking “number of followers” as a key metric on Twitter, it’s time to bring that to the bottom of the list (or even not make it a KPI) and maybe focus on something more useful such as “number of interactions, number or positive mentions, number of sales queries”, you get the idea. If you can demonstrate a growth in these figures, it’ll be easier to make a business case to dedicate more time to specific platforms that impact the bottom line.
- Scan your audience: Ensure you understand who are your LinkedIn-company-page followers (linkedin.com/company/yourcompanyname/followers) and who is in your email database. Take the time to go through the names and companies. You’re putting all this effort in social media and as a result you’re building a valuable audience. Don’t think of them as just a “bunch of people”. If you take the time to understand who they are you’ll be able to serve them better, avoid spending unnecessary time pushing more messages and also detect any positive or negative trend on the kind of professionals your content is attracting. Investing time in your existing audience pays off, investing time in pushing random messages here and there (noise), doesn’t.
- Facebook is no longer free: Those companies fast enough to invest in strategic and creative Facebook advertising will be seen and stay ahead of the game. In parallel, you should keep posting everyday and talking to your fans of course.
- Integrate as much as possible any offline with online actions: This can take a bit more time but if it’s done well, it could deliver very powerful results for your company.
Complement all current gaps in customer interaction with online interaction. As a result, your customer or prospects will keep you fresh in their heads. For example: write down in detail your sales funnel. Include every single step. Some people know this as the AIDA model (Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action). Then, these type of questions should follow: What do we do currently to get a prospect talking to us? What do we do with prospects that are nor ready to buy righ now? Do we communicate / stay in touch with recent customers from the past three months? How and when do we knock on the door again?
In 2012, we will have to get more creative. Publishing a few messages and having thousands of fans and followers won’t cut it any more. How are you going to make the most of your social media time to avoid the noise?