Here are 5 tips on social media brought to you by Beverly Macy, UCLA Extension Distinguished Instructor. Macy’s upcoming book on social media, The Power of Real-Time Marketing, is scheduled for hardback release in Spring 2011.
- Get Educated and Informed. With the prevalence of social media and real-time marketing in the business realm, there’s a constant shifting in how we communicate with our customers and stakeholders. Stay abreast with the changing landscape—get educated about these new tools and make sure to stay current.
- Develop a "Listening Engine". Utilize social media to gain insight into your target market. Find your audience on social platforms, listen to what they’re saying about your brand and your competitors, and strategize how you can add value to the conversation and garner authority.
- Find and Be Found. Where are your customers? Find out and go there. Also, let your customers and stakeholders know how to find you easily. When they do find you, keep them engaged and involved: ask them to participate in a poll or submit content about your brand, cause, or personality. Then, reward them for their loyalty and keep them coming back.
- Build Trust. Be authentic and transparent. Remember, you're creating a conversation with your customers and stakeholders. So don't just “sell” — add to the conversation, be responsive, and build on your relationship in order to engender trust.
- Prepare to Invest Time. Yes, it's true social media tools are free, but it still requires time to build a community. Tossing up a Facebook or Twitter profile does not ensure success. Just as with offline social interactions, an investment of time is required in building the relationship. The payoff can be BIG, but it does depend on the time and persistence put in to develop a community.