Social Media Best Practices
Having been in the industry for over 14 years, I’ve seen a lot of things come and go in the online world. Most everything that I’ve see fade away and die out was the hottest, greatest and latest thing! I believe it’s been due to the boy who cried wolf syndrome. I’ll give you 2 examples:
A. Banner ads
The entire internet and dot com boom was based on selling your page views or your inventory as it was called. When it started off way back in the late 90′s banner ads were static, and did well they received great click thru ratios and a great return on your CPM you were spending. Soon they became a bit spammy, and you never knew where you were going to land when you clicked on them, and CTRs started to drop. So animated and flash banners were born, this sparked excitement and great click thrus! But again over time people became wise, and far more cautious about what they clicked on, and where they were being sent. We saw banner click thrus go from anywhere in the 2-4% CTR range down to ridiculous numbers like .005 % or lower. This soon brought the demise of banner advertising, along with the big dot com bubble burst.
B. Pay Per Click Ads
Most people today don’t even know about or remember GOTO.com the originator of the pay per click ad (I actually implemented pay per click text links below my banners on one of my dot com properties back in 1998) in search engines. It was a brilliant and brand new concept never before seen and GOTO made a fortune! Everyone jumped on the chance to deposit money with them and enter into bidding wars against everyone else to rank at the top of search results. But this also included every spam site, casino, and adult site on the planet. They tried admirably to weed it out and have strict policies, but eventually people became numb to the simply purchased search results and the people flocked to Google for real un-manipulated search results. Well eventually Google had to monetize their traffic and they implemented PPC ads on the right side of their search results. Click thru ratios were through the roof, and Google started banking. Everyone used to click on and explore the ads on the right side, infact when you speak to anyone who was not in the tech industry; many will tell you that they did not even realize at the time that those were paid ads. But today, we all know what they are. When I speak to a new client and ask them about how they search 9 out of 10 explain that they strictly use the natural organic results and now ignore the PPC ads on the right side.
So what does all of this mean? We as a society become numb to seeing the same things over and over If you burn us a few times with something we did not want to see, then we tend to zone it out. We don’t want to see that happen with Social Media which as of today is one of the most powerful viral forces on the planet. Used properly it can be an amazing tool to network, learn, and connect with society. Used improperly people will tune it out just like everything else that has faded away.
By following some of these best practices we can hope to avoid people tuning out social media, create a trusting relationship with your audience and be viewed as insightful.
Top 5 Best Practices
- Set up your pages/sites with the idea that you are creating a resource for your customers and future customers. DO NOT think of this as a selling platform, store, or a place for hocking your latest special. You want your social media platform you be useful, resourceful and engaging.
- Time – Set aside real time for social media. Don’t think you can just throw up a page, visit it once a week and post a status update or tweet and that your page is going to grow and respond. You must be dedicated to being on every site, every day. Whether you’re adding new content, tweaking your page and info, adding new friends or following other tweeters etc. You must be proactive. I suggest a minimum of 2 hours a day dedicated to social media if you truly want to have a presence.
- Reward – Reward your social media audience for being on board with you online. Today have social media friends, fans, followers etc is more important than ever. In a recent poll it was estimated that the average Facebook fan was worth $3.50 just to have as a fan. Make it worth their while to be a fan and active on your social media platform. I suggest enticing them with specials and offers exclusive to your social media efforts. I don’t mean extend a standard discount that anyone can get, this needs to be a genuinely unique reward for partaking in your social media platforms. For examples, offer up some exciting product and service give aways, or deep discounts for one or two days. A great way to make them feel special is announce that the discount code or link to receive their free gear will ONLY be posted on your social media page, they will be excited and appreciate it.
- Be Useful – Aside from truly being a raving fan, people join social media pages/sites because they are looking to learn more about you, your company or your products. So be useful! Offer information , tips, ideas and how-to on your page. The more of a resource you are, and the more of an expert you appear to be in your field the more they will trust you, and engage with you on your page. They are also far more likely to pass along your page to their friends if they actually take away something from it.
- Listen – That’s right, I want you to listen to what people are saying on your pages. Social media is not just a way for you to get your message out to the people, or to tout your products and services. It’s best used to listen to your consumer and audience. It’s a great way to find out what people really think about your company and products. Take constructive critisism, and appreciate it! This is an opportunity to find out about the desires or issues your consumer may have that you would not have normally had a chance to hear. Don’t forget to ask questions.
*** BONUS TIP: This may actually be the single most important tip. TRIPLE CHECK YOUR SPELLING & GRAMMAR! There is nothing uglier than a business posting on their FB page or tweeting with terrible grammar or spelling. Infact there is no excuse for it and it makes you look unprofessional and people will not take you seriously