By adaptive - September 9th, 2014

Finding the best social media tactics to drive your corporation's business goals

Social media has become the currency of the digital economy. Research undertaken by CeBIT has shown that when it comes to making purchasing decisions, 74% of consumers are influenced by social media with 81% influenced by friends’ posts. And an impressive 71% of consumers are likely to recommend a brand if their response times are swift on social media. It’s the engine of the successful business and the tactics your corporation employs are the tools your business need to make it run smoothly and work efficiently.

“Consistency, humanity and relativity are all a major factor in the tactics employed by a brand on social media,” says Jason Perelson of Boomtown. “Tactics are the tools in the social toolbox – irrelevant and useless until they are used. Strategy is what truly employs tactics and it’s vital to formulate an overall plan before you take that first step.”

So, your brand needs a strategy before it can determine the social media tactics that will best suit its overall goals – that’s hardly a surprise. These tactics also needs an audience. Do you know who your corporation is talking to?

According to Heather Baker, CEO of TopLine Comms: “There is no single best social media network, tactic or approach. If you are running a social media marketing programme, your choice of channels, strategies and tactics should depend entirely on your audience.”

Social marketing budgets are set to rise over the next five years by almost double what they are today and yet around 80% of customer engagement opportunities are  failing according to the CeBIT report. This means that even though over 97% of customers look for a local business online, the majority of them could be sliding right past your corporation’s online door.

It’s time to get a handle on the best tactics for your brand and engage with your target market.

“What works for a business on social media depends largely on the objectives it needs to achieve,” says Juanita Vorster, Owner of At That Point. “The best social media tactics provide an insight into the personality of the business, and serve to tell the story of the brand, its people, its products and its service ethos. We live in an age of informed and selective buyers that no longer believe what a brand tells them, but rather what they experience of the brand on a regular basis.”

A look at the toolbox

Analysis of the social landscape shows that engagement is certainly a key factor when it comes to building a social strategy. Your corporation must engage with the consumer, tell them your brand story and speak to them directly. Individuals are reading your corporation’s social content not a target market or a prospect.

Engagement can be driven in a number of different ways:

Imagery: use images to attract customer interest and pull them towards your brand. Pinterest is a growing force and works just as well with infographics as it does with photographs of food and furniture.

Learn from: Benjamin Moore a paint manufacturer that has managed to make paint brilliant.

Talk: host events online that pull in your target market and get them engaged with your brand. These can be anything from a hashtag to a virtual networking bash that has everyone chatting about a particular topic. Podcasts, twitter chats and webinars are successful weapons in this arsenal.

Learn from: Ken Blanchard who host free webinars that offer up brilliant advice and position them as thought leaders in the industry.

Build your fan base: use clever tactics like ‘read more’ or ‘click here for the full story’ to pull people to your site.  Stay active and keep up the daily updates – those who regularly tweet on Twitter have higher followers than those who don’t, for example.

Learn from: MyVoucherCodes who do daily updates of around three Facebook posts and three tweets per day and boast over 300,000 Facebook fans with a reach of over 32 million, and in excess of 18,500 Twitter followers.

Social Media Fan Base

Speaking of prospects, there is always the concern that the tactics used by B2C are not relevant to those needed by B2B. The jury is out on this…

Vorster believes that it is irrelevant whether you are communicating to a consumer or a business as the tone remains the same and Perelson is in agreement: “I am of the belief that B2B and B2C messaging are one and the same – an immaterial distinction for a bygone concept. Everyone is a C and employing a tactic to appeal to a business or brand in the social space should be met with the exact same strategy as appealing to a consumer. A brand is not a floating head; it is a thriving hub of real people with real consumer instincts.”

Tanya de Sa Franco, Social Media Manager for Hello Conversations offers up an impressive list of suggested tactics for building up the brand, regardless of whether they are talking to a B or C:

  1. Bookmarking and aggregating: Social curation sites allow list generation, sharing and traffic growth which are very successful for the brands that get it right. Examples include: Digg, Delicious and Reddit.
  2. Content creation: using social channels such as YouTube, Wikipedia and Podcasts to create content and a brand identity.
  3. Social networks: Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Dopplr – these are both a tactic and a platform.
  4. Location: Foursquare, Gowalla and Facebook Places – let the people find you and where you are going.

Determining the tactics that work best for your business will depend on your corporate strategy and no small measure of trial and error. As you communicate with your customers you will become increasingly aware of what works best and how each tactic measures up against your objectives.

In the second part of this series we will be examining how to adapt social tactics to changing platforms and how to keep it fresh.

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