Respond Quickly and Monitor Consistently
Social media users like to feel included through consistent exposure to your content. If you’re the type of company that thinks tweeting or adding a Google+ post once a week is more than enough, think again. Users need to know that your business is active across multiple platforms and that you can respond to them in a timely manner. The way to assess just how to provide an acceptable volume of content (without resorting to firehosing) is through the use of specific social networking monitoring tools like TweetDeck, Seesmic or HootSuite. These types of software keep track of your social media accounts and provide great activity overviews.
Content is King but Relevancy is Priceless
Regularly pumping out tweets or Facebook status updates is certainly a strong way to begin developing a robust social media business presence. But you will also need to include a "wow" factor in all future content you produce. The way to dress your updates up is to make them relevant, and the way to make them relevant is to make them personal: if you’re using Twitter, make it your aim to reply to as many of your direct tweets/messages as you can -- a simple “Great of you to Retweet that, @username” never goes astray. If you’re responding to a Friend or “Liker” via Facebook, make sure to address the user directly. Consider using an employee who embodies your core ideals to present as the “face” of your social media strategy. If you do go down this route, however, make sure this employee separates their own personal social networking streams from yours.
Appropriate Language Use is Mandatory
Ensure any social media account responses are concise without being terse. For instance, if you’re tweet-replying to a customer who’s querying your services, make sure to reply with a direct, polite response that includes their twitter nickname (don’t forget the “@”). Make sure to resist that itching temptation to be glib, legally contentious or socially inappropriate: you can never be sure which of your hard won visitors may be easily offended. It’s much better for you to play it safe in terms of any videos, tweets, updates, pictures, links or pin-worthy content associated with your business (your legal team will thank you for it). Never forget that any reputation can be easily tarnished -- and your business damaged -- by irresponsible language use on social networks. A decent rule of thumb is to think of your social media streams as extensions of your more traditional advertising channels -- would you make a joke about someone’s mother in your TV ads? No? Well don’t do it through your social media accounts, either.
Don’t Discount the Power of Humorous Content
While contentious jokes will turn social media streams into dried up riverbeds, humor, when used correctly, can entertain followers and lure new users. Developing the ability to entertain your users may make or break any continuous participation. Be as witty, quirky and genuinely funny as you like, but make sure the humor is relevant to your business services.
Mountains of content provided by your savvy PR team is one way to engage acquired social media users. But be aware that these users want to be active participants. Users should be encouraged to feel part of a community that shares the same interests and purchasing powers: by following the points outlined above, you’ll be well on your way to creating a cohesive and fulfilling social media presence for your business.