Building a Social Media Army
ar·my : noun
-a body of persons organized to advance a cause
When I decided to write this post I actually Google’d: ”how to start an Army”, and to be honest, was a little scared of some of the things I found.
In America, forming your own army or militia is a constitutional right (2nd amendment), and is also protected by Federal law. Treason, however, is illegal. As I researched this topic, I discovered one of the main characteristics of starting an Army/Militia is to get them vetted, trained, paid and readied for action.
Much like an assembly of troops, loyal followers ‘pledge allegiance’ to you; only they do it by retweeting, reposting, and sending you shoutouts. Having an army of loyalists helps grow your influence over the products, services and activities they chose. Having a strong Social Media optimization plan supersizes that influence, and even carries to the people that your influencees influence.
We all want loyalists, but here’s the harsh truth: Loyalty is difficult to achieve! Many people try to build it with clever marketing campaigns and promotions. The reality is one-hit-marketing-wonders or a free ipad/tablet will create short term relationships. Superficial efforts don’t dig deep enough into their minds to make a difference.
So how do you build your own Social Media Army?
1.) Define Your Cause
Take a minute and really define what you want to build. You might have read a book or two, worked with strategists, consultants or managers that helped you define your Marketing goals. Your Social Media goals should mirror and compliment your marketing plan, but they are different. I have yet to meet a client that doesn’t say, I need to be on (whatever platform) and when I say, “why or what are your goals?” I can almost hear the “deer in the headlights look’. It has to be clear in your mind what you are doing, that is how the mystery of Social Media is squashed. In addition, determining goals for any form of marketing and.or promotions will help you manage your expectations for any medium.
The most prevalent goals I have heard:
-Increase brand awareness
-Improve SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
-Increase relevant visitor traffic to a website
-Improve sales for a product or service (itunes, concert tickets, merch sales)
-Gain personal connections (*hint* this should be everyone’s goal!)
Written Goals = Success. Determine key metrics BEFORE you get started. You will want to pick solid metrics to track: Web or Blog Traffic, iTunes sales, creating traditional media awareness , SEO Ranking, mentions or amount of targeted fans/followers in certain time are common.
2.) Know Your Audience
Who are you trying to reach. Pinpoint the characteristics of the perfect listener or fan as it relates to your format or music genre. Understand how your target audience uses Social Media (gender, age, geography, etc.)
-Listen and then listen more.
-Ask yourself the following questions when you are designing Social Media campaigns/conversations:
What’s the point? What type of conversation is this? What’s the purpose? What does your audience know about you right now? When and where is your audience using Social Media?
-Who are you to this audience?
-Elevator pitch or 60 second commercials are obsolete how do you describe who you are or what you do in 140 characters or less?
3.) Know Your Battle Field
Before you get started think about the tools last, not first – a solid Media optimization plan and Socialality will translate across any platform. Listen to the conversations people are having about you and your brand. This is where publicists, PR companies and market research come in really handy.
-Set the foundation that takes your cause/brand across all platforms
-Get fans/followers emotional about your brand. (make laugh, cry, angry)
-Connect with them by talking TO them not at them.
-YOU are NOT that important. It is very important in the beginning when you are new to follow people back and respond to them when they talk to you. Not communicating with fans/followers is a spoiled chance to take someone from being engaged to being invested in your brand. I work with a few celebrity/artist/radio station Twitter accounts and never get tired of hearing a fan we follow back spread the word and brag to their Followers that ‘so and so’ is following them. It is a really powerful, and often under used tool of Social Media by brands, but dang does it sure work!
-Create personality behind the story. Show them you are more than a logo or a photo. Help followers find common ground that lets them relate to you, ie your Morning Show host is a Dog person so connect to your Dog Lover followers on Social Media. It only takes a few posts and tweets to identify these people.
-Content is King! Make it matter to your identified target audience.
-ALWAYS make account open to public-It’s ‘Social Networking,’ Not ‘Anti-Social Networking’!
-I will say this one again speak WITH people not AT them, Social Media is a dialogue not a monologue!
-Forget ‘What am I doing?’ and ask your followers, ‘what are they doing?’
4.) Promote Your Cause
Cross promote Social Media platforms: tweet to followers to join your Facebook Profile or Fan Page, Post your Twitter Account to Youtube account. Make sure that your Social Media icons are clear and easy to find on your website (BTW make sure these are opening into a new window. Have been noticing this mistake on a lot of sites lately even multi-million dollar franchises).
-Add to Business cards, letterhead, vehicle magnets other Broadcast and Print Media.
-Consistently talk about your participation on various platforms.
-Provide listener services through Social Media as long as you can follow up.
-Run Social Media-only promotional offers and place a deadline on it and be sure to track results.
-Invite followers to your events. Include links to where they can register.
-Let followers know where you’re going to be and invite them to join.
-Make bumper stickers for your Business that say “Follow Me” with your Social Media branding.
-Put “Follow Me” on the back of your T-Shirts along with your handle. HINT this handle should translate across all platforms!
-Create a network or community for your clients, loyalists to engage your brand, advertisers and each other!
-Use #Hashtags and custom shortened URLs when orchestrating contests.
“Discipline is the soul of an army. It makes small numbers formidable; procures success to the weak, and esteem to all. Nothing can be more hurtful to the service, than the neglect of discipline; for that discipline, more than numbers, gives one army the superiority over another.”
What do you consider to be the “payout” for your fans/followers, in other words what do you think they get from being part of your movement?
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