Starting (or Spurring) Your Social
If you already have a powerful brand, a social presence, and a lot of great content, it's a much easier job than if you're starting out on social for the first time, no one in your community or marketplace has ever heard of you, and you don't have the time or resources to develop much content.
So what do you do?
It's all about providing value. This can be done in different ways. If you have the resources, I recommend doing all of these things, but with less time and ability to generate new content, you have to prioritize. I break the functions of social media into these categories:
1. Brand recognition and reinforcement
2. Customer service
3. Content promotion
4. Dialogue and industry updates (microblogging)
5. Morale and internal recognition
Building Brand Relationships
I think great social media always starts with existing relationships. It's easy to get caught up in trying to get your messages in front of new people, but what's really important is how you use social to strengthen your relationships with the people that already know you and your brand.
Social is all about building and cultivating relationships between people and between brands. If you interact with other people, they are much more likely to be interested in what you have to say! It's called "social" media for a reason; you can't just post links to your blog articles all day and expect people to be interested. And when people see someone they know and trust interacting with you, they are far more likely to check out your website, your blog content, and your long-form content.
If you don't have time to blog, then microblog through Twitter. Use Twitter as a tool to have a dialogue, not as a place to dump content you've already created. You can provide value by offering your expertise 140 characters at a time. If there's something huge going on in your industry, comment on it! It's not always possible to write a full-length post.
Provide Basic Updates
I think it's also valuable to provide basic updates on what's going on at your office or with your clients. When one of our clients launches a new website or comes in for an important meeting, we like to acknowledge them on social. We also do that internally - we post birthday or anniversary pictures to Facebook.
It sounds silly, but not only is this great for internal morale, it's a way to get photos from our page into the News Feed of people who may not be familiar with Element Three. The people who see these photos are more likely to trust us as a source of marketing information if they know the people who work at our agency, so we want them to be familiar with us. We want them to be able to see what sets us apart and makes us unique.
It's important to always be thinking of ways to make your social media more, well, social. We get so caught up in the content we're creating or the things we're doing that we don't take the time to interact or build those personal relationships. And I think that's the most important lesson of all - be a part of your community and add value in a way that only you can. Inbound marketing isn't all about content, it's about helping other people and giving them value that no one else can. Figure out what you can do that no one else can and be great at that!