When social media sites like Orkut, Facebook and Twitter debuted, the paradigm of communication and public relations changed forever. These sites, and others that came after them, opened the floodgates to information-sharing.
But simply using a social media site for your product or service is not enough. It's all about using creative content in the right way, that is, what you say and how you say it makes all the difference. Countless businesses have made Internet history by using these Web-based tools, from global corporations to mom-and-pop outfits.
Remember, the key to making social media work for you is to engage, interact and keep it fresh and exciting.
Put yourselves in your audience's shoes
Find out what your audience wants. Ask yourself what you would want if you were at the receiving end. Doesn't it feel great to get what you have always wanted? "How you say the expected is important," says Samit Malkani, Creative Head, Jack In The Box World Wide.
It's never about hardsell
Never use the social media only for direct sales promotion; it bores people. Instead, engage users with visual content, contests and discussions. Use content that will hook your audience and make them want to visit your profile again and again, and even talk about it.
People want to discuss new products - not buy them
Social media users love talking about things and offering their views. They are not there to buy products online. Give them a platform that will allow them to do this. "For instance, Twitter is a portal for online social messaging and interacting with like-minded people," explains Suveer Bajaj, Co-Founder, Foxymoron. "Thus, it can be a great platform for discussion." So engage your audience and make them want to talk about your profile. Accept their advice and feedback, and conduct an online poll to capture their interest.
Remember, you're not the only brand in your category
Since you are bound to have competitors, you should do tons of research before you introduce your brand on social media. People are always excited to get information but it needs to be correct. This is sacrosanct. Make your brand stand out from the competition.
People search for products, not brands
After research, what next? It's simple - you have to be the best among the rest. Find out what is unique about you via-a-via your competitors and then highlight it. It's easy to get lost in a sea of similar products and/or services and for people to overlook you.
Why people are online
Never forget, people are online for entertainment, information and utility. So entertain your audience with attractive visuals, contests and discussions. Provide them with information, like using important days/dates to gel with your product on social media. There are many upgradations to social sites which are very useful. Suveer Bajaj, Co-Founder, Foxymoron, points out, "Facebook's shift from its old format to a timeline is an advantage as one can now dig back into history."
Surprise your audience - but leave them delighted too
The equation of social media is, "What you say + how you say it," reveals Samit Malkani, Creative Head, Jack In The Box World Wide. Always excite your audience by giving them the unexpected but not shocking them. Make them an offer or modify your product in a way that will delight them.
Reply to negative questions / comments as well and solve their problemNo one likes to be ignored. If someone does not like your product and posts a negative comment, you could always delete it but that will not solve the problem. Instead, talk to the user, find out exactly what they do not like or whether they had a bad experience with your product. Apologise, if necessary, and try and make amends instead of giving them a chance to bad-mouth you.
Your content should be topical and relatable
Stick to the topic and do not digress. Understand your brand thoroughly and speak in that voice. You could, for instance, amaze your audience or tell stories which connect with your audience.
It's an exciting world of social media out there. Get it right and it works! Another plus - instead of hiring an army of marketing execs, let social media do the talking. It's also a great way to save precious resources and money.