Social media is different, but should be utilized with the same thoughtfulness as traditional media
With Facebook topping 200 million active users, and traditional media outlets bombarding viewers with pleas to become fans, many marketers are feeling the pressure to jump on the bandwagon. While Facebook and other social media are new outlets to many, like more traditional media, they require a strategy to be utilized effectively.
Before setting up a Facebook page and expecting thousands of fans to act as your cheerleaders, it is important to answer many of the questions you would in approaching any other media:
- What are you are trying to accomplish? Facebook can be a great way to have an ongoing conversation with your core audience. It can also be a powerful tool to allow people to evangelize for you. And, it can be a powerful way to extend the reach of your brand message.
- What value are you going to deliver to keep fans engaged? Just like in old media, you are competing for people’s most valuable asset – their time. You must be useful, insightful and have entertaining information to keep people engaged.
- What do you want your fans to do? They can be your most powerful ambassadors, your instant focus group and your harshest critics. Be ready for them to be all three. Remember that social media is a conversation, which requires listening as well as talking. Be ready to engage.
- What do you expect to get from your social media initiative?
Once you establish a social media strategy, Facebook can be a powerful tool for several reasons:
- Many of your potential “fans” are already there. The size and growth of Facebook make it an ideal place to find existing fans and recruit new ones.
- People become fans with the click of a mouse. As a result, you won’t have the obstacle of getting potential fans (or followers) to go through a registration process to join a new network.
- Promotion is easy – Facebook news feeds facilitate viral sharing, allowing you to extend your message to a broader audience. In addition, Facebook ads can be highly targeted to reach a desired audience.
Whether you choose Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or another social media tool, a traditional communications strategy will improve your chances of success.