Getting Social Media Right

Get it RIGHT

I will spare you a long introduction about how many companies use social these days, and how good it can be for them. We know all that.

Instead, I'd like to talk about how it's not enough to just be 'on' social media.

Companies have to work hard to get their strategies right, and there are plenty who get it wrong.

So here are five ideas - by no means hard-and-fast rules - for getting social media spot on. Please share your own.

Be Human

Companies want to be on Twitter and Facebook. Problem is they often come across like robots. Well-intentioned they may be, but too many brands sound more like corporate computer systems than they do real people.

When I think of Twitter, I think of a big virtual pub where everyone has lots of things to say. So talk like you would in the pub. Avoid corporate jargon. Be real.

When someone contacts you with a query, don't just direct them to a press release or a section of your website in a bland, formulaic manner. Speak to them directly. Use their name. Be human!

To Follow or Not to Follow?

That is the question. There's a lot of debate about the most effective following strategies on social media.

While it's important not to look like you follow purely for numbers, I'd argue that following everyone who follows you is the way to go.

Not following back – or only following certain people – is a bad tactic. It sends out a message that you only want to follow 'select' people.

It's a bit like the Twitter celebs who have thousands of followers but only follow a handful of people back. It looks like they don't care – probably because they don't.

Why not follow Tom from Dagenham who's 'only' got a few followers and doesn't have a profile photo? He's one of your customers. Or a potential customer. So connect with him.

In fact, I'd argue that following all and sundry is democratic. And that's what social media is all about. Don't Bother

Tools like are a way for companies to automatically publish their content to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn et al.

In one sense, they seem like a good idea. When resources are stretched and time is tight, using a go-to platform to push everything out on social seems ideal.

But whenever I see the words 'via' on LinkedIn it's an immediate turn-off.

It all looks a bit clunky, automatic, mechanical. I'd wager that a lot of companies that use dlrvr haven't even read the piece they're sharing

The problem is that these platforms forget the fluidity and dynamism of the social space. So read the content you're posting – you're sharing it, so you need to know what it's about.

Personalise it– pick an aspect of the content you like or disagree with – and talk about it. Ask others what they think. Start a conversation.

You Don't Have to Share All. The. Flipping. Time.

I follow a few companies on Twitter who frankly drive me up the wall, either through inane posts or constant sharing.

I go to Twitter to get away from the what-I-had-for-breakfast of Facebook!

I think some companies think the way to approach social is to flood their audience with content.

The problem with this approach is that, over time, the content loses its meaning.

It's important to share regularly, of course, but bombarding followers with content on a constant basis is a bad idea. Just as bad is content bombing, where people fire off ten articles en masse.

It gives the impression that companies think social is just another job that needs to be done. It's much more than that. Share for the right reasons.

It's Not (Always) About Your Rivals

Why do some companies think social platforms are a way for them to show-off to their competitors?

"Hey, look at this sophisticated new campaign we've started – jealous much?"

It's crucial to remember that your content marketing efforts are not (primarily) about demonstrating your abilities to your rivals. 

Save the thinking behind your strategies for internal review meetings – don't blabber on about it online. Instead, focus on your customers and speak to them about their lives.

Photo (cc) SEPBlog