Friday, 19 March 2010

Tune Up Your Social Media Talent

Last Year, 11.8 million people tuned in to watch “Britain’s Got Talent” when the now infamous 'SuBo' made her screen debut . But in just a few days, the video of that same show on YouTube had generated more than 80 million views. That’s TV 11.8 million, YouTube 80 million. Anyone who grew up with television as the quintessential mass medium may need to take a moment just to absorb that fundamental shift.

2009 was a banner year for social media. Fuelled in large part by the impressive growth of Twitter and LinkedIn and the adoption of both by major brands and recognisable individuals, it's safe to say that social media truly went 'mainstream'. And more and more people have a nagging suspicion that things like Susan’s YouTube video are stark examples that social media tools really are changing the way that we communicate.

Through social media tools, a business can stay connected to a larger number of contacts and the networks they belong to, have access to the information and opportunities in those networks, and do it better and faster. Social Media Marketing provides businesses with a powerful tool that doesn’t need an overwhelming amount of complexity to be useful.

Here are five tips for companies looking to take their social media efforts to the next level in 2010.

1. Start small. It is best to start your Social Media transformation slowly. Let the change take its course without forcing it. If your company has several brands and products, pick one and start from there. Use this as the stepping stone for the Social Media transformation in your company. You can only change so much inside your organisation, so choose your battles wisely.

2. Find the right people to handle the transformation. You need sufficient manpower to successfully prepare your organisation for embracing Social Media. You need to find the right people to handle this endeavor, otherwise it will inevitably fail; the people behind this effort should be passionate - passionate and enthusiastic about building a relationship with your customers and your target market. Do not delegate this task to the person with the least responsibilities. This job needs specialisation and passion, not just free time.

3. Sync the technology. Your marketing or PR people should have the right resources in order to turn your plans into reality. Otherwise, find a new agency. Your agency should be able to understand Social Media, because only then will your efforts become successful.

4. Set and follow goals. You should have set goals as soon as you signed up for your Twitter and other social media accounts. In fact you should have had goals before you even signed up for your first social network account. Having goals will allow you to use social media effectively because you have a guide.

5. Don’t obsessively count fans and followers. It’s not the quantity of followers you have, it is the quality of followers that really matter when using social media for business. Stop obsessing about the number of followers you have and instead focus on really developing a strong community around your brand.

6. Commit to the whole thing. Using social media for business requires time and commitment. Make sure you really commit to updating your social media accounts. Some individuals and companies start a Twitter account and then abandon it without full understanding how it can really help them. You might encounter some problems or troubles as you go along but just keep going. There is no perfect social network and you just have to keep working on what you started to get the best results.

7. Check out the competition. Social media will provide you with opportunities to learn more about your competitors as well as your industry.

8. Plan for the long term. Granted that your initial efforts worked, where will you take it? At the beginning, you should start small, but you should plan big in case your plans do work. Your plans should go beyond making Social Media part of your organisation; instead, your plans have to be long term—and everyone in your organisation should be prepared. Using Social Media means putting a premium on the role of the customers in your organisation. This can be daunting and unsettling, so proper planning is required.

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