Australians are spending a lot of their time online these days, and more time than ever is being spent on social media. Statistics compiled by The Public Relations Institute of Australia show that 13.4 million Australians spend an average of 18.8 hours a day online, and 3.75 of those hours are spent on social media. Marketers recognise this, with 86% stating that social media is important to their business.
Although marketers know how important social media is, only 37% think their marketing efforts in this area are effective. Effective social media strategy has the potential to reach far beyond simply gaining exposure and broadcasting messages about your brand. The following tips can help you expand your social media presence, drive traffic to your website, convert visitors and nurture customer relationships.
Research and Plan
Gather the information you need to understand the interests of your audience, and which platforms will be most successful in reaching them. Social media users do not want to read advertisements, so content must be informative, thoughtful and interesting. Use an editorial calendar to provide an even flow of content instead of posting large chunks at one time.
Organise your social media team and determine which roles each member will play. Establish procedures for smooth workflow and approval for creating and posting new content, and for monitoring interactions.
Social media team members need to be empowered to engage actively with social followers. They must be comfortable about responding and answering questions quickly. In fact, 42% of social media users posting a question or complaint expect a response within 60 minutes, 32% expect one within 30 minutes, and 57% want the same promptness at night and on weekends.
To maintain an effective social media presence, channels need to be monitored, and a first responder empowered to provide quick answers. The answer given may be that you care about their concerns but need time to escalate their concern to get a more complete answer. The most important point is to ensure that comments on your social channels are never ignored.
We are all human, and even the largest companies make embarrassing mistakes. If an employee makes an accidental or inappropriate post in the fast moving social media environment, it doesn’t have to be a tragedy. In fact, with an honest explanation and apology, many businesses have turned an embarrassing post into positive PR (or increased donations in the case of the Red Cross).
The most important thing to understand about social media is that it is here to stay. As social media matures and becomes more measurable and reliable, business opportunities will continue to expand.