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5 Tips For Improving Your Social Media Strategy

August 5th, 2012
A social media strategy can never be flawless, but you can enhance user engagement with a few simple tweaks. Some brands might think it's enough to simply have an online presence on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. However, to capture the attention of online users, you need a more thoughtful online strategy, especially when today's consumers can't go a second without seeing a marketing message from a competitor or are consistently distracted by their own social network updates. Here are five easy ways your brand can improve your social media strategy:

1) Respond to Your Customers. This may seem like a no-brainer, but according to the research discovery site FactBrowser, companies respond, on average, to only 30 percent of the feedback they receive from social media fans. Yet, once a customer feels ignored, it's unlikely he or she will consider your brand in a positive light again. Thus, whether the customer feedback is positive or negative, always provide a timely response to let your customer know that you're paying attention and that you care.

2) Be Simple and Direct. Online consumers have shorter attention spans, which means that your marketing message must be easy to grasp. As Pew Research reported in a recent Internet-use survey, today's online users expect "instant gratification and quick fixes"; they are less patient overall. It is therefore essential to minimize the complexity of a marketing promotion, as well as the wait time required of a customer to access any marketing material, be it a link to your brand's website or the loading time of a social media-based game. (According to The Guardian, a one-second delay in page load time can result in a 16 percent decrease in customer satisfaction!) Create a message that is relevant, easily digestible and conveys your brand clearly.

3) Be Mindful of Over-Posting. Minimizing the number of updates and messages your brand posts makes sense -- you don't want to annoy your online fans with too much -- and studies have recently confirmed that yes, the more a company posts, the less online consumers will respond. A report by Track Social reveals that responses ('likes' and comments) to Facebook posts take a dive as more posts are made throughout the day. However, this is not to say that over-posting will always result in less engaged consumers; rather, it's a reminder that posts, regardless of frequency, should be relevant, interesting and done thoughtfully so as not to aggravate your online fan base.

4) Emanate Personality. Online readers don't want to see posts that look like they're coming from robots. An effective social media strategy focuses on engagement, not broadcasting, and to do that, a brand must be careful to ensure its personality shines through. Put people in social media-related positions who possess the right voice for the brand and are able to converse with online fans in a way that will garner response and attention. As writer David Murdico of AdAge says, "Pre-written, approved Facebook updates and tweets are necessary to maintain a flow of information, but there should be more emphasis placed on actual back and forth conversation."

5) Ask Your Customers What They Want. Social media provides a platform for business-to-consumer conversation like no other in marketing history. Use it to your advantage by asking your online fans what types of content and promotions they would like to see from you. As Marketing Science uncovered, less than 0.5 percent of Facebook users in any given week engage with brands they are fans of, meaning that currently, brands just aren't delivering social media content that is engaging enough to inspire action. Before launching a social media campaign, ask your fans what they want, and then do what you can to give them what they ask for.

Your social media strategy will inevitably change as you learn and understand more about what your online fans expect and what it takes to engage them. Find out how brands today are crafting creative and innovative social media campaigns to entice their online customers by accessing our PRO Trends database for trends like Customized Campaigning and Creative Engagement. Also download Trend Hunter's Social Media Trend Report to uncover more of the changes occurring in today's virtual world.