Here’s How Your Business Wins at Social Media

This picture taken on January 27, 2010 in Paris shows the internet homepage of the YouTube website.   AFP PHOTO LOIC VENANCE (Photo credit should read LOIC VENANCE/AFP/Getty Images)

How’s your company doing at social media these days? Decent? Just okay? …Not present?

Look, it’s okay if tweeting, posting and sharing don’t come naturally. Not everyone is a great conversationalist IRL (in real life!), either. You and your team surely have plenty of innate talents that compensate for a so-so social media pedigree.

But here’s a little secret: social media actually isn’t that hard. It might not come naturally to you — but it’s a heck of alot easier to do well than other disciplines that also don’t come naturally.

Flying a plane is hard, and it’s not something you can (or should, please) fake. Social media, not so much. With a coherent social media marketing strategy and a willingness to try new things, your business can do better than “decent” or “just okay” at social media. It can win — big time. Here’s how to get started.

Have a Plan of Attack

Social media planning involves much more than “deciding” to retweet snarky messages as they scroll by in your Twitter feed. Like any other business initiative, it requires foresight, discipline, measurement, and self-reflectiveness. No less an authority than Harvard Business Review lays out the case for comprehensive social media planning in agonizing detail. Simply put, there’s no excuse for not gaming out a long-term vision for your company’s social media properties — and a step-by-step execution strategy for turning that vision into action.

Choose a Memorable Image

You can’t undo a first impression. Make yours count with an immediately memorable, brand-faithful background image that grabs eyeballs and doesn’t let go. You’ll attract more followers, and remain top-of-mind with them.

Keep Your Bio Short and Snappy

Your company bio should either answer the who-what-where-why — and maybe how, if you can do it quickly — or present a concise mission statement. (The latter works best when you’re character-limited, as on Twitter.) Leave the long-winded company history and values jargon for your website, where you can go on as long as you please.

Avoid Buying Followers & Fans

Everyone likes big numbers. No bones about it: companies with lots of followers, and lots of follower engagement, look like winners. But the appearance of legitimacy can come at a high cost, as many services that trade in fake Twitter and Facebook followers associate with unsavory people and companies that don’t have your company’s best interests at heart. The last thing you want is a Twitter hack traceable to the follower-buying service (or a crony thereof) you thought was taking you to the big time.

Don’t Drone on About Yourself

They’re just not that into you — your followers, that is. Even the real ones you don’t buy. People don’t follow you because they want to hear drivel about how awesome you are all the time. They follow you for news and insight into whatever it is you do. Take this example: a mortgage company that consistently shares great content about moving, decorating, home improvement and the real estate industry in general — not grating, self-promotional banter.

Save Time with a Scheduling & Management Tool

Even if you have a dedicated social media employee, manually generating and posting social content on the fly isn’t a good use of your company’s time or resources. Use a scheduling and management tool like Hootsuite to streamline this process and ensure you’re reaching the right people with the right messages.

How is your business winning at social media?