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Tue 26 Aug 2014 01:59 PM

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3 Ways to excel in social media

Fatima El Malki offers three ways to help you become recognised as a social media star

3 Ways to excel in social media

The reason why I am very fond of the communications industry is for the sole reason of its ongoing pace and pressure.

And by pressure, I don’t mean it as a bad thing, rather an element that makes it exciting for us in the industry to quickly react to changes and adapt to them swiftly. No day is like the one before and rest assured - you won’t ever feel bored.

Technology plays an imperative part as a major influencer in how we communicate nowadays. Social media platforms are continuously changing, finding ways to simplify their websites and services, making it easier for us, consumers, to spend more hours connecting with our peers on their platforms.

When social media platforms were introduced over a decade ago, consumers were slowly but surely making their way onto these websites such as Friendster (2002) and MySpace (2003). Shortly after, Twitter and Facebook made their way into the digital sphere - more like bulldozered their way over the smaller ones – redefining digital communications.

 Business models have been altered as means to adapt to the changes in communications. Social media has become part of the marketing mix and is one of the tools that cannot be overlooked in this day and age.

Being an SME, understandably so, you will find your challenges in keeping up with the constant updates, upgrades and introductions to new platforms. Worry not, this is normal SME-behaviour; keeping up with new developments in digital media is not your core business. Thus, there are a few points to keep in mind when trying to stay on top and excel as a leader in social media without putting too much effort in it as an SME.

A MARKETING AND PR COCKTAIL

Envision your efforts for generating new content to engage with your online community as the perfect mix of marketing and PR. Is there any new collaboration coming up or will you launch a new product or service soon and want your target audience to be aware of it? This is the type of content that is useful for your audience and a great source to generate new content. Keep them updated on all things in the pipeline (that is ready to be shared publicly, of course).

Bring your brand to life by keeping your marketing plans in mind when addressing your online audience. Are you having an event soon? Create a Facebook event page and promote it on your Facebook corporate page. Two easy steps to increase awareness and visibility of your brand to those you want to reach.

FUSING CUSTOMER SERVICE WITH COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT

Having a contact number for your customers to call you on for questions about your product or services is the norm. But what about helping out your customers via Twitter? There are plenty of people who use Twitter as a platform to refer to when they have questions to ask or, in some bad cases, complaints to share.

Having two individuals responsible for customers and service is fine, however both parties need to be aware of their activities and make sure to align their messaging in the way their tone of voice is towards the customer. It needs to be consistent on social media as well as on email and over the phone.

See it as having to raise a child, as a parent you will have to agree with your partner on what you will and will not communicate and in what tone. This usually will leave the child with the same answer from both parents and won’t be left confused on whether he is or isn’t allowed to jump on the sofa.

The same applies in this case to a customer having a question on a product or service. Whether they ask it on social media or over the phone, the answer remains the same and there will be no confusion.

MANAGE WHAT YOU CAN HANDLE

As mentioned previously, the digital media sphere is continuously changing and many new platforms or apps will be introduced in the future, so don’t get overwhelmed by it.

Stick to what works for your business. If being active on Facebook only works for your business, then stick to that. Don’t go and join every platform imaginable because you want to seem social media savvy or “ahead” of your game by being everywhere, only to find out that you will be struggling to manage all of the platforms.

Never change a winning team. Thus, stay active on platforms that work best for you to promote your brand and to attend to questions or comments coming from your customers.

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