Connecting with your social media community

With the continuing evolution of the social media sphere, we are finding more and more clients are looking towards social media networks to generate leads and raise awareness about their brand.

However, the way most companies are approaching social media is fast and furious.

You can rush things through to catch up with everyone else but if you haven’t thought your approach through properly you won’t get the desired results.

For some this topic might seem a bit ‘101’ Social Media but we continue to come across businesses that don’t really understand how it works and the power it possesses in influencing a brand positively or negatively.

Social media is a real-time medium that has to be approached differently to other mass-advertising channels. Social media networks are more about the ‘soft sell’ rather than the hard sell – no-one likes being sent hundreds of spam emails or receiving unsolicited telemarketing calls – and your social media community is the same. Blatant advertising material on social media channels is unacceptable as most people have joined for a bit of fun. The exception to this is when it is a specific promotion page and people are aware of this when they sign/ join up/follow.

With this in mind, it is important to have clear objectives for why you want your brand or business to engage in social media. Is your target market reached easily via this channel? It’s not good enough just to be ‘on’ it.

Brands can benefit  from building genuine connections with the market on social media but it needs to be consistent with the overall marketing strategy, which includes integrating above and below the line elements. Social  media requires a a long-term commitment but there are a few things you can do to engage fans quickly and easily. Simple things like asking questions or running specific online promotions through applications are two strategies that encourage engagement.

Roger Federer is one of the biggest sports brands in tennis (and sport in general). Part of the reason he continues to remain popular with both sponsors and fans is through his innovative approach to social media. Roger and his team consistently put in efforts to connect with his Facebook & YouTube fans and this has paid off with his number of Facebook fans recently hitting 4, 811, 836. His comments and videos regularly attract feedback in the thousands. I am sure many of you are aware of his recent video for Gillette, which went viral on the internet

The screen capture below is a great example of a recent post he made calling  for fans to ask him any questions they would like answered. Note: this one post attracted 9, 261 comments and 13, 9223 ‘likes’ – one of his less popular ones!

'The Fed' is a social media ace

 You will notice it actually seems like Roger himself is using this page – it is not all marketing material and this is a key element in its success as a fan page.

As a business owner it’s important to start with the end goal in mind so before doing anything consider what you really want to achieve in the social media sphere then act accordingly. Do research, check what competitors are doing and ensure you are familiar with social media tools so you can truly understand how it works and can be applied for your business.

If your business is already engaging in social media, assess how successful it is and  make sure there are consistent efforts to engage and connect with the online community.

Social media is a powerful communication tool but it is not a one size fits all medium.