Social Media Best Practices

You’ve heard all the buzz about social media and now you want to throw your hat in the ring, so where should you start? You cannot throw a mouse these days without hitting a self-proclaimed expert on social media but with all the conflicting views on how things should be done the best place to start is to get back to basics with a few simple social media best practices.

  1. Create a Plan
    It may sound like a very simplistic practice but you would be surprised how few people actually consider a social media strategy prior to embarking on a trek through this brave new world. Making sure you understand your audience, the different ways in which to reach them, and the tools that are available for your intended purpose are key to social media program.
  2. Be Committed (No straight jacket required)
    An effective social media program requires a great deal of time and the commitment to see things through. If you commit yourself to properly developing your social media objectives, that commitment will be rewarded with measurable results for your social media programs. I am not saying you need to hire someone specifically to run your social media programs, especially in the beginning, but if you play your cards right that position may just be needed down the road to handle this new channel for your business.
  3. Be Honest
    Transparency is not just for window anymore. Be upfront about your objectives. People appreciate honesty and are willing to get involved as long as they do not feel like something shady is going on. Being disingenuous can make for a very lonely social media existence. Provide honesty and value with your interactions and you will be rewarded with loyalty and valuable feedback.
  4. Become an Enabler
    Encourage interaction with your social media followers. Their insights and feedback can help drive your business in new directions or reinforce the vector you are already on. Beyond that, this type of interaction allows you the unique opportunity to turn followers into evangelists for your brand creating a type of unpaid sales force that is ever willing to sing the praises of your greatness whenever the opportunity presents itself.
  5. Make It Count!
    Social media objectives should be easily measurable to help determine the efficacy of your programs but keep in mind that social media programs build on each other. Unlike traditional marketing techniques, in social media there is not always a unique result for each facet of a program. Layer your programs with small objectives that will build into a more measurable one. While the ultimate goal may be increased interaction or sales, you have to build up to them with smaller objectives like number of comments, friends or even how many people just DIGG what you have to say.

Any social media program should be carefully considered before it is executed but keeping these simple guidelines in mind as you go through the process will help you on your way to developing a winning social media strategy.