- Build your business outline regarding social media. Know and understand your goals surrounding your social media. Will you use it for recruitment, engagement, marketing, advocacy, public awareness, education and / or overall branding efforts? Make sure that all staff contributing to the effort understand the business objectives.
- Be realistic. Just because you start a Facebook page, a LinkedIn group or a blog, doesn't mean that everyone will join and those who do may not actively participate. That being said, that doesn't mean that they are not reading what's been posted.....so be consistent and faithful in following your objectives.
- It's not about you. Shameless self-promotion only goes so far. Post good, helpful information from various sources relating to and supporting your cause.
- Identify opportunities. Continually remind your audience of your social media outlets. Audit your communications and identify opportunities to incorporate your social media outlets into your website, print material, instore promotionals, signature files, etc...
- Link back to your website and blogs. Bring your audience "home" when it's possible and appropriate.
- Build relationships. The purpose of social media is to build relationships with your brand and those that find it appealing.
- Dedicate time and staff. In order to feed and grow your social media requires time and staff. It's not a one-time campaign or project but an ongoing process to keep it strong.
- Don't use a single voice. Encourage staff, leaders and participants to contribute. If possible, build connections / access to interesting and insightful leaders and contributors.
- Appearances matter. Branding looks different in various social media outlets, but whenever possible incorporate key design elements and concepts to carry your visual theme across.
- Be available. Respond promptly to posts. This directly reflects your customer service (just as answering the telephone and responding to email).
- Make it easy to share. Using widgets such as addthis.com offer free, easy-to-use sharing opportunities. The easier you make it for users to share your content the better!
- Start small. Start with one or two things that you do really well, then expand from there.
- Have fun. Items of special interest, special offers and quirky news items are more likely to be re-tweeted, "liked" and commented on by others. Have some fun highlighting something attention-grabbing (versus strictly technical) and you will increase engagement and interaction.
Bondilyn Jolly, CEO NMD, Inc | NMDesigns.com
eMerge | EasyEmerge.com Special thanks to information gained from ASAE & The Center's Marketing Expo and Avenue M Group.