Campaign Strategy: So You Have a Facebook Profile…Now What??

16Mar09

Campaign Strategy: So You Have a Facebook Profile…Now What??

One of the first things that a lot of companies will do in their social media strategy is to create a social network profile, via MySpace, Facebook, Ning, or other network, but knowing how to fully utilize that profile is another matter entirely. Many companies look at a social network profile as a way to plug their brand as often as possible, spamming anyone they can, by sending out mass messages. Others, will form a profile, gather friends, and then disappear completely, thinking that the “hard part” of their job is already complete. Both strategies would be wrong.

So, how do you effectively engage and interact with your new audience? Well, to help answer this question, I have compiled a short list of engagement ideas that you can use for your social media strategy. These ideas were pulled not only from my own experience with my social media clients, but there is also some great advice from industry leaders.

  • Create content that is relevant to users. Creating great content for your social network starts with preparation and knowing your audience. Get to know the community and the types of content they like before spending your time and energy on content development. Social Media expert Alexander Barbara adds, “With social media, the bottom line is that your campaigns will be more successful if you create content that speaks specifically to the community audience.
  • Ask for opinions, product advice or reviews. Social networks are filled with users who are screaming out to talk to companies and brands about their products/services. They all have opinions, and they can all help you objectively look at your products/services to discover room for improvement, changes that need to be made, or even offer up ides for new products…All you have to do is ask.
  • Ask for feedback on your competition. What does your user base think of their products/services in relation to your company? What ides do they have for you after looking at your competitors sites/products/services. By getting your customer base involved in your research, you are getting them invested in your company.
  • Take the time to become an active member of the community. Become a strong member of the community before you begin “selling” your services, or the social network users may write you off as being to spammy. Matt McGee expounds, “When getting involved in social media, enthusiasm is great — and you probably have it in spades at the start of any new venture. But contribute first by joining existing discussions on other content. You should be studying the types of content that get the most attention, whether it be in the form of votes, comments, or whatever the ‘hook’ is for that social community. Knowing the audience is key to creating content they’ll love.”
  • Engage users by telling stories. James Chartrand recently wrote about the power of storytelling on Copyblogger, “A good story grabs anyone’s attention. We love stories. We listen to the tale and imagine everything in our mind’s eye. We experience emotion and are compelled to take action because of the stories we hear.” Tell you users stories of your successes, failures, and struggles in between. Soon, you will see them start to root for you, wanting you to succeed, because they want to be a part of the story as well.
  • Don’t break the rules of the community. You must develop a keen understanding for the written and unwritten rules of the communities you join, and their tolerance for sales promotions, or you may be asked to leave. Social networks are developing an increasingly short fuse for companies who are overly sales-y or spam-y. Abide by the rule or you may be asked to leave.
  • Practice consistancy with your profiles. Mike Fruchter of MichaelFruchter.com writes, “All of your online profiles should share the same information. Make sure to use the same user names. If possible, use the same profile pictures (if applicable), logos and contact info.”
  • Build a strong army of followers. Mike Fruchter explains, “Choose your friends wisely. This is the army you will need for the battle you are about to embark on. While you have the option to friend people back, it’s all about your objectives using social media. If you want a mass audience, then friend everyone who friends you back, but if you have no intention of ever having any level or engagement, then you are just fooling yourself, and all your doing is list building. You need to be receptive with friends who are trying to engage you positively. It’s impossible to interact with hundreds or even thousands of friends, but the ones who reach out to you, by commenting on your blog posts, sharing your content, tweeting your content and so forth, you can not neglect.”

In conclusion, if you are expecting results from your social media strategy, you must be willing to put in a substantial ammount of effort following the guidelines above. If you have any suggestions or advice on effectively communicating with users online, please leave me a comment, I would love to include it in my next post.

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