Social media has been constantly growing in importance over the past few years, with it rising from a small part of online marketing and optimization strategies to one of the cornerstones of any approach. In fact, due to the last two years of algorithm tweaking and content emphasis, social media is now more important than ever.
But social media should not be treated as an outlet for your PR blasts, a communiqué in 140 characters or less. Instead you should approach your company social media in much the same way as your personal page. Your followers and people who have liked or circled your page are your friends and you should treat them as such.
Starting from scratch, just making a twitter account and starting to add people left and right is, however, not the correct strategy. You should build your social media carefully and make sure that you are connecting with the right people and in the right way. Perhaps you should discuss your strategy with a social media agency before you start or, if you feel you are fully capable of doing it on your own you should definitely do some prior research. SEOmoz has a great Twitter tutorial and there are plenty of other resources available online.
However, if you already have an established social media presence your first course of action is to gussy it up a bit. A bland Twitter page with two tweets a week is hardly going to impress anyone and a dead or PR-infused twitter page isn’t going to help you out either. Your social media should be fresh and exciting and it should convey quality content in a timely manner. So create a unique and representative background for your Twitter page, or do something interesting with your company Facebook page. A good example is Grovo’s Facebook Timeline that was transformed into a History of the Internet dating back to 1536. A history teacher from the Netherlands also used Timeline to teach history by creating Facebook timelines of four major historic events.
Having an interesting page, however, will not help you if you don’t create a rapport with your customers and potential customers. Ask your followers questions, offer them insight into your products or activity, in short interact with them like they’re your old friends from college. They will be much more likely to share one of your updates, retweet or link back to your page if they feel like they ‘know’ you. Social media is like an avalanche; once you manage to get it going it will keep rolling downhill.
Social media should be one of the cornerstones of your marketing or SEO campaign. But you should be careful in how you implement your marketing strategies, or you might be doing more harm than good.