Social media is effectively changing the outreach game today. Chris Dixon, a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz recently said that “I tend to think at least for the next five to 10 years that social is the thing.” – NewYork Times.
Social media networks offer useful platforms for finding, attracting, engaging and building a community of loyal audiences. The rise of social platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, G+ and LinkedIn, and with them tweets, shares, blogs and likes have effectively altered the rules of information exchange.
It’s not enough to have followers, the real trick is to build a network of evangelists (think Apple).
Twitter: How do you ensure that you are being heard among the hundreds of millions Twitter users? There are various tactics for engaging your audience through the use of Twitter. First, whenever you share a quote or article from another Twitter user be sure to include the handle of the user in your tweet. This tactic increases the chances of the user noticing your tweet and then retweeting it to their own Twitter audience. The result is that your message is shared more, thereby increasing your followers and general audience in the Twitter world. Be sure to also use photos while tweeting, as well as other effective Twitter features to increase engagement such as videos, quotes, numbers and hash tags.
Facebook: There are various tactics that you can employ for purposes of engaging your audience on Facebook. Keep your posts short to increase the odds of your audience reading and responding to your posts. Face it, time is
money and your audience will appreciate brief and relevant posts which inspire them to engage with your message. Ask open-ended questions or post surveys on Facebook as a way of better understanding the opinions of your audience with regards to your products or services.
LinkedIn: While it may not seem as sleek and shiny as Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn does command an audience of hundreds of millions of users and company pages; geared more for professionals that wish to collaborate and expand their networks by inclusion their friends networks. This makes it a powerful business-focused social networking platform that could serve as a great medium for driving your social media strategy. A good LinkedIn tactic to get you started engaging your audience involves promoting one main post, rather than constantly updating your page multiple times a day. Creating groups is another great way of maximizing LinkedIn’s power in engaging social media audiences. Use the Groups feature to drive marketing campaigns, which works well in genuinely engaging various segments of your audience in group discussions.
TALK TO THEM, Not At Them!
Rather than an audience that is passively waiting for information to come, the public is today actively engaged in defining, creating and sharing information. Social media can be a powerful tool for online communication when used to talk to existing audiences, build rapport with potential readers and advertisers, and then linking them together to increase a sense of community.
Businesses are in some cases effectively using social media as a 24/7 helpdesk. It is a social place where clients can ask questions, complain, or inquire about a service, and the business thereby responses for all the world to see; even a negative complaint by a client can be a positive if the company can effectively show the world how they address and respond to complaints.
You don’t have to join every social media platform out there. Experiment with some of the more popular sites to discover where your audience virtually resides, and then focus on aligning them with your social media strategy; and apply the tactics above to extend the outreach and effectiveness of your campaigns through social media.