First, let’s begin with a question – is there a right way and a wrong way for brands to use social media? Here’s an answer – it’s a trick question because, in my opinion, there is no right and wrong way. Wait, so actually I guess the answer is no. Some prolific users of social media might argue differently, but every brand or person can do whatever they want with their online persona.
It really depends on the goals a brand sets out to achieve that will determine if there really is a right or wrong way. Is the goal to increase followers and engagement or simply to advertise coupons or deals? You’ve heard it before, social media is still pretty much like the wild west and there are no rules. As long as you’re not Tweeting to the corporate account by accident like that guy from Chrysler, you can Tweet, message or post whatever you want.
There are two basic approaches brands use when using social media:
1. Be all reaching and errwhere (everywhere)
2. Focus on a select few profiles and rock ‘em
1. Be all reaching and errwhere
This approach argues the most effective way for a brand to leverage the digital world is be everywhere, increasing brand exposure. This means a brand must have profiles on sites like Tumblr, StumbleUpon, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest. The more places your brand lives, the likelier someone is to come across a profile and, hopefully, make a mental bookmark.
2. Focus on specific profiles and rock ‘em
The second way to approach social media profiles is to focus less on quantity and more on quality. The translation here is to only have a profile on a couple of websites and engage by commenting, Tweeting, sharing, posting, etc. Plus, it’s easier to manage and engage with followers or fans if the conversations only exist on a couple of websites. We keep it pretty tight with profiles on LinkedIn, G+, Twitter and Facebook. We got a little weird with Tumblr.
Ultimately, your social media goals will determine if there’s a right and wrong way. Each brand handles social media a bit different. Some of them only post news, press releases or deals. Other brands engage with their customers or fans by responding to comments or Tweets quickly. The latter helps the brand become known a valuable resource which grows their street cred of the digital variety. Some good examples of brands kicking it is NASCAR on G+, Red Bull on Facebook and @TacoBell on Twitter.
When trying different strategies, Steve Williams, the e-Commerce Director at Gurley Leep Automotive said it best in a Dealer Magazine interview, “For us, social media is not where we sell cars, that’s not what people use social media for.” It’s good remember why people use Facebook or Twitter in the first place – to share stories, read news or talk to friends. Where do you want to fit in and what’s the right way for your brand?
Lastly, if you want advice on how to get more Facebook fans and keep them engaged, check out this blog post I wrote a few months back. Until next time, thanks for reading.