As many of you may already know, I am very active on social media. I use Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook to maximize my credibility as a Microsoft partner, as well as increase the visibility of my organization. I got my start with social in 2003, when most platforms were in their infancy. After starting my own small business and writing SharePoint for Project Management, I realized I didn’t have the budget to effectively spread messages in the traditional sense and didn’t have enough clout to obtain speaking engagements – this is where social came in. As I began to tweet and interact with the SharePoint community on various platforms, I was able to develop credibility – not only with customers, but also with Microsoft leaders.
Yes, the benefits of using social are apparent to some, but not fully embraced by all; and finding the time can weaken the desire to post even more. By following the steps below, you can see the power of social media presence without setting aside an abundance of time. Remember this is a long-term strategy, so your organization will not see change overnight.
Establish Social Media Purpose
The first mistake social media newbies make is hiring before establishing a purpose. Although training an intern to handle posts around each product launch may be cost effective, you will not get the most out of this presence without first identifying why you’re there. Are you interested in better customer engagement? Do you want to build your brand? Would you like to provide an alternative method for sales (e.g. provide customers discounts)? There are a plethora of reasons why an organization begins posting and tweeting. Find yours and build your messages around this overarching goal.
After identifying your social purpose, determine how much you want to invest. This includes hiring, software purchases, and social advertisement. Organizations with some budget can take advantage of promoted tweets and sponsored posts in order to ensure maximum visibility among platform users.
Leverage Management Tools
There are a number of tools available to help effectively manage social feeds. With the use of products such as TweetDeck and Hootsuite, you can easily create feeds based on who you want to follow and different hashtags, while also monitoring who mentions you or your company. Social interaction can be simplified even further with automation. Sites like IFTTT.com allow members to build rules based on potential events. For example, if it were to begin raining before a major event, I can create a rule that tells my followers to remember to pack an umbrella. This automation allows you to send out relevant posts without constant access to social platforms.
Scheduling posts may seem disingenuous at first glance, but provides another channel for thought leadership when done properly. In order to stay up to date on all industry information, I read articles and attend conferences every chance I get. When I find something interesting or hear something new, I use scheduled posts to push this information out to my followers. Applications such as Buffer can take this one step further by analyzing when a post or tweet will get shared the most and when followers are most active on certain platforms.
Remember to monitor comments on these scheduled posts and be cognizant of announcement timing. Followers do not want their questions left unanswered. And even more important, you do not want to release information under a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) prior to the appropriate time.
Maximize Mobile Devices
How often are you actually without your smartphone or tablet throughout the day? Use this consistent connection to your advantage. Mobile applications can integrate with your existing social channels to provide constant access to them. Apps such as Tweetymail create unique email addresses to send tweets. Other programs also allow you to share your numerous RSS feeds across multiple channels.
Integrate Existing Tools
The true power of social is most apparent when you mix it with already established tools within your organization. Social can be easily integrated into your speaking engagements at conferences. By embedding tweets into your PowerPoint presentations or using voting and polling during sessions, attendees are able to engage more and those who couldn’t attend are able to access your messages.
Strategies such as including shortened links in tweets, pushing published blog posts to social channels, and embedding sharing tools throughout your company website can also create an environment where social media users are more likely to share your content while also tying in other aspects of your business.
By identifying a goal, taking advantage of management tools, scheduling posts, integrating mobile, and making the most out of social with existing tools, you are setting yourself and your organization up for a fruitful social media experience. Employ these steps over time and see the power social has to offer!
For more information on how organizations can benefit from social media, please view this presentation by Gary Vaynerchuk.
About Dux Raymond Sy
Dux Raymond is Chief Technology Officer of AvePoint Public Sector. He is responsible for leading the development and delivery of strategic customer solutions that drive positive business transformation and enable organizations to achieve their overall mission.
With more than 15 years of business and technology management experience, he has successfully facilitated the implementation of various business transformation solutions for commercial, educational and public sector organizations.
Dux is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and a SharePoint Most Valuable Professional (MVP); he has authored various white papers, articles and the book "SharePoint for Project Management" published by O’Reilly Media.
A sought-after trusted adviser and renowned speaker, Dux has delivered interactive presentations in various events worldwide. Learn more about Dux at http://meetdux.com and connect with him on http://twitter.com/meetdux.
And don’t forget to check out Dux’s Social Media 101 presentation at WPC 2014!