A few months ago I attended a Guardian Master Class on Data Visualisation hosted by Tobias Sturt, Head of creative at Guardian Digital Agency and Adam Frost, Data Visualisation Manager at Guardian Digital Agency. Both were incredibly friendly, down-to-earth and made the class very enjoyable. I highly recommend checking them (and their work) out. Data ...
So... you dabble with social media for your own personal enjoyment, and you're sold on the need for a social media strategy for your brand. Going about this however, can be more than a little daunting. (So many sites. Such differing functionality. Will I even get any sales?) I can reassure you that it is definitely possible to generate sales from social media, providing you start out with a few things all in place. Here we outline four simple foundation points to get you off to a flying start.
1. Set an objective
Set an objective for your social media strategy to help you focus your efforts efficiently. You can go the 'whole mnemonic hog' with a detailed SMART objective. (Your objective should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable and Realistic in a given Time,) or keep things a little more relaxed. As long as you have a specific, realistic goal and an awareness of the tracking tools and measurements of success that are out there, you have the right framework. An example social media objective could be... 'promote customer awareness and engagement with my brand by attracting a couple of hundred fans to my Facebook page in a month.'
2. Work the 80/20 rule
You know the 80/20 rule? You get 80% of your revenue from 20% of your clients? Well it's true for audience as well. It's extremely important with the huge volume of social media sites, products, tools and applications; that you focus the majority of your efforts where you have the biggest potential return on your (time) investment. Unless social media marketing is your full time job, you need to go where the greatest audience is. Facebook reached 22.7 million visitors in the UK in February (Comscore), which is over two thirds of the UK online population. Twitter grew 1689% year on year in the UK to almost 2 million users in March (NNR). It goes without saying that you do need to consider your audience demographic when compiling the short-list of sites for your social media campaign.
3. Create a consistent social media brand
Use and abuse all the customisation features and profile fields that you possibly can, to customise the look and feel of your profile page and deliver your message. It's important to make sure that you use the same photograph (or logo), same strap-line and profile data, and the same company name and format conventions to represent your brand. If you don't make and keep your profiles consistent, professional and recognisable you run the risk of being taken for an imposter profile (sometimes great for a laugh,) however users will be less likely to tune into and take notice of your message if they're not 100% convinced as to your authenticity.
4. Integrate your social media
So you're Digging and Tweeting and cultivating yourself an entourage big enough to push Paris out of the VIP area. Great. What about your company website? If you are generating awareness and interest in your brand and leading traffic back to your website, are users offered the same message and tone of voice as your social media? If your company website content is a little dry and lacking in social features this may put people off. Such mismatch in content positioning and tone of voice may come off as a little insincere. Additionally, for potential customers coming to your company website from search engines or type-ins, you may miss the opportunity to connect and interact if you fail to reference and promote your social media outlets. There are plenty of well designed, social media icons available freely on the web that you can use to easily drop onto the relevant space on your site, such as this lovely set from web design agency FHOKE.
Right... that's the easy bit. Now comes the most important part, which is all up to you! Make sure that you have some great content, advice, giveaways and information to share with your friends, followers and fans or they may not stick around for too long.