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Today, social networks are revolutionizing how the world communicates and shares information.
They’ve given us all a platform to voice our opinions to hundreds, if not thousands of people at a time. Brands who are aware of this can use these conversations in a targeted, productive manner to uncover true competitive advantage.
In fact, our latest report explains how Microsoft considerably changed their latest console, Xbox One, due to poor reviews on social networks.
Moreover, our Travel & Hospitality report describes how Expedia filmed and aired replacement adverts to appease negative online posts about their original ad.
Brands now have a responsibility to use social networks to listen, analyze and act.
In this post, we’ll present nine social media best practices for launching your brand into the upper echelons of social greatness.
Best Practice #1/ Make being social an enterprise-wide revolution
Brands should not mistake social media as just another channel for marketing your products. Social interactions should involve a variety of disciplines such as customer service, new product development and PR.
Take Monster who use social media engagement to help match those looking for jobs with the relevant Monster recruiters, whilst also carrying out customer service and marketing.
Best Practice #2/ Establish social media goals before jumping into the fray
Know your purpose and make sure your social media campaigns are all seeking to achieve an objective or goal.
For example, are you looking to gain mindshare for a specific product or service, build brand equity or find new leads?
Devise a way to categorize the types of social content you want to post and allocate necessary time to them. Follow a 70/20/10 principle: you should spend 70% of your time on the objective based content and only spend 10% of your time on high-risk, unrelated content.
Best Practice #3/ Listen well
You simply cannot succeed in social media without a comprehensive and structured listening process.
Just like with the Microsoft and Expedia examples mentioned previously, listening helps you understand what your audience thinks about you and lets you act on it.
Social listening tools enable you to know who is saying what about you, where, when and why they say it. From this, you can form a optimized strategy to reach your targeted communities with messages intended to win them over.
Best Practice #4/ Monitor broadly, but with focus
Conversations about your brand can take place almost anywhere online, so make no assumptions about where you will find the most crucial ones.
Make sure to make your listening as broad as possible – covering not just your own brand, but your competitors and your industry.
Think about what terminology people use when talking about your brand online, what names they have for your products, services, products, events and campaigns. Once you’re comfortable with your broad results, you can start refining your data set.
The Coca-Cola product range.
Best Practice #5/ Broaden your internal audience
Gone are the days when brands would monitor social media solely for marketing communications and PR purposes. The majority of brands now bring multiple departments into the fold. Social media teams can involve anyone from customer support, right the way up to VPs.
You should assign owners to each functional area of your organization to streamline your responses to different social situations.
This gives you a full armory of responses to any problem or opportunity you’re presented with.
Best Practice #6/ Engage and respond to add value
Many brands have found out the hard way that they are not always welcome participants to conversations online.
To make sure your contributions are welcome, you need to put your consumers at ease with a robust social engagement strategy.
Be transparent and honest, add value to the conversation, inform and educate without selling, and of course, never lie.
Best Practice #7/ Customize social media monitoring by discipline
Utilize the customization tools within your social media listening platform to create charts and metrics that relate to a specific users across your enterprise.
For example, categorize your social media performance by product:
Or group your social mentions by location:
Once your dataset is segmented in these ways, you can start to find patterns and glean insights about the social side of your company’s performance.
Best Practice #8/ Measure what you have heard
Social listening allows you to show and demonstrate clear progress or regress, whether that be in total reach or negative sentiment.
By drilling down to this level of data, you will be able to backup your activities with a host of social data, and significantly, the more data you collect, the more reliable it is.
Best Practice #9/ Continuously improve through measurement
The ability to measure allows for continuous improvement.
You will quickly see what is working and what is not, allowing you to optimize the right and get rid of the wrong.
The likely result will be one or more important discoveries in areas your social media teams never considered. By being “plugged in” you will naturally make your social team and the wider company more responsive and higher performing.
By following these social media best practices, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a successful social brand for you, your customers and your prospects.
Now you know.