Measurement & Instrumentation

10 Tips for Navigating the Social Media Landscape

by Marcus Westling 12 Apr 2010
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You would be forgiven for feeling at least some anxiety when it comes to determining the most appropriate social media strategy for your organization.  It’s difficult enough navigating through the seemingly endless landscape of possible channels, but now we’re supposed to know when and what to submit, post, tweet, upload, link, buzz, digg, up vote, down vote, thumb up, thumb down, or bookmark, to name a few.  AND, it all has to be done in an effective and efficient manner that doesn’t end up doing more harm than good. 

While the online landscape is ever-changing and the way in which you approach each channel may vary at the tactical level, certain principles remain constant.  Below you’ll find some tips you may want to consider as you embark on your social media journey. 

Be Transparent
It may seem obvious but ALWAYS be genuine and indicate who you represent.  People will see through planted comments and fake profiles very quickly and the resulting PR nightmare will spread like wildfire online.

Be a Person, Not a Brand
Use your real name and upload a picture when possible.  Social media is about interacting with individuals at a personal level.  Nobody wants to talk to a logo.

Post Frequently
Give people a reason to come back and interact with you.  If you’re only posting once a month, your posts will quickly be forgotten and people will move on.

Add Value and be Interesting
This isn’t a press release.  Social media is supposed to be engaging, have fun with it! For instance, if you’re an airline company, talk about specific destinations and your passion for travel, not just the new discount airfares to the Bahamas.

Be Helpful
Help people find the information they seek, even if your brand doesn’t solve the problem.  It’s about building trust with customers, prospects and other stakeholders at an individual level. 

Respond to Comments and Feedback
Social media is an ongoing dialogue.  Respond to comments that you receive in a timely manner, and resist the temptation to respond angrily to negative feedback.

Use Common Sense
If you get a sense that what you’re about to post isn’t appropriate or in line with corporate guidelines, it probably isn’t.  Run it by your manager or the legal department and if you have to edit a post after the fact, make sure you indicate to your readers what was edited.

Be Patient
You won’t have a million followers on Twitter or 20 comments on each blog post overnight.  Social media is an ongoing journey that takes time, if you’re not in it for the long haul find someone in the company who is. 

Be Humble and Listen
Just because you’re an “expert” in your field doesn’t mean there isn’t someone out there who knows just as much or more about your industry than you.  See social media as an opportunity to learn from people that care enough to interact with you online.

Measure your Progress
While the specific metrics for social media ROI may differ based on your strategy, it is essential to constantly track what works and what doesn’t so that adjustments can be made to your approach.

Please feel free to share any guidelines we may have missed that you have found successful in your experience!

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