To succeed with social media, you must be open-minded enough to embrace its many essential elements. Here are the 21 essential C’s of social media listed in alphabetical order:
The essence of social media is caring. Consumers want companies they do business with to show that they care enough to listen to their comments, complaints, opinions, ideas, etc. They want to feel important and appreciated. Customers know when you genuinely care, and they are willing and ready to reciprocate.
The rules of marketing, public relations, advertising, and communication tools are changing at the speed of light. In order to succeed with social media, you must be ready to embrace, adapt to, and influence change.
Character is your online identity or brand, which is an extremely important element. Consumers want to know who the human behind the brand is. Social media helps to humanize your brand. People want to do business with a person (YOU), not an object. Being authentic and letting your true personality shine through social media makes a huge difference to your audience. The more they know about your personality, the more they feel comfortable to do business with you. So, don’t think people can’t see that just because you are hiding behind a computer.
When you are trying to communicate your message online, clarity is number one. Confused consumers want someone that can clarify things for them. They do not buy if messages are ambiguous or complicated. They buy when you have simply and clearly solved their problem.
Social media enables us to tap into the collective wisdom of our audience (crowdsourcing, which is another “C” of social media). Many social media tools are designed to help us work jointly with our customers, employees, partners, investors as well as competitors.
Too many people are saying social media is free. Since when did true time commitment and dedication to our businesses become free? Social media is not rocket science, but you have only scratched the surface if you jumped on the social media bandwagon without a plan. To stay on track and have social media not be a time-waster for you, it takes a solid plan as well as serious commitment to stick to that plan and make adjustments as needed.
Communication has always been an essential element for enhancing relationships offline or online. You are now able to communicate with your audience across the globe faster than ever before due to social media. Remember, marketing on the social web is not about getting your stories out through one-way communication, but rather two-way communication.
Social media helps to foster and build community. People are gathering online to share information, knowledge and opinions. You must come up with creative and innovative approaches to engaging your online community.
Social media about building connections with your influencers or brand evangelists. Having a strong connection, opens the doors for influencers to potentially spread the word or create buzz about your products and/or services.
You don’t only need commitment, but you also need consistency to succeed with social media. You must be consistent with your message as well as the time you spend on social media. Again, having a solid strategy in place will keep you committed and consistent.
Social media is not about YOU. It is about listening and paying attention to what the consumer is saying about you, your products or services, and your competitors. You must understand their needs and wants first before you try to make them understand you and what you are trying to communicate to them. A quote from Stephen R. Covey from the “7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” explains it all: “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”
Without content to share, you simply cannot use social media. Content is the foundation of everything you do online. Be it a video, a podcast, blog post, an article, a status update or tweet– you must offer valuable content that solves a problem that educates and entertains your audience. Producing compelling content will set you apart as an expert in your industry.
What do you have to bring to the table? If you are going to participate in social media, you better have something valuable to contribute. You have to be ready to listen, comment, share, link to, and offer assistance and value as much as you possibly can. It takes a lot of contribution to become visible and get the exposure you want online.
What makes social media so important is that it permits businesses to have two-way dialogue with prospects and customers more efficiently and less expensively than ever before. Customers no longer want to be sold to. They want to be heard. Therefore, you must do more listening than talking. We have two ears and one mouth so we can listen more and talk less. You must find your authentic voice and converse in two-way conversation to build strong bonds with your customers.
It is not enough to connect with your audience through social networking sites. You must learn how to convert fans, followers, and friends into customers. It is paramount to connect with your audience and move them over to your HUB (blog or site) so they opt-in to receive something free, buy a product, or inquire about a service.
With social media, you must have the courage to authentically share your thoughts, opinions and ideas. It does take a lot of courage to be interesting, amusing, or even controversial. You must be confident and ready to stand by what you say. You also need courage to handle any negative feedback that comes your way online.
Being a copy-cat will not help you succeed with social media. Social media is about opening your mind to trial and error, thinking outside the box as well as using your creative juices to create unique and innovative content that engages your audience.
Whether online or offline, no one is going to want to do business with you unless you have built enough trust and rapport. Social media is about using valuable content to showcase your knowledge and expertise in order to build credibility with your audience.
Once you have built relationships with your tribe of influencers, you now have to nurture and cultivate those relationships. Of course, this needs to happen through all the other C’s I mention in this post.
The adoption of social media is cultural. Social media is influencing and redefining how we interact with each other. It is truly exposing us to diverse cultures and to more minds than we can possibly imagine. It has also fundamentally changing corporate and institutional culture.
Social media starts with curiosity about your online audience by asking questions: Who is my target audience? Where do they hang online? When do they hang out online? What are they interested in? What are they asking of me or my competitors? How can I engage them? Why should they listen to me? If you do not know the answer to these questions, then you have a lot of homework to do. This is where you are going to start even before you decide if social media is right for your business.
Was this a handful? These should all make sense and be very clear to you. If they don’t then you must jump online to listen more, make observations and take lots of notes BEFORE you take action.
Did I miss any social media C’s that you want to add to the list?Mirna Bard in Social Media, Social Networking With | 15 Comments