The concept of Social Media is immensely popular and its importance is becoming more and more important to the success of social business. If you are not using Social Media to your best advantage you are selling yourself and your social business short. Since it’s still difficult to find your way in the jungle that is Social Media, SENStation will provide some key points for you to consider when developing your social business project. We do so because SENStation’s aim is to help you as our members to gather the tools you need to make any project into a lasting success. We will discuss an integrated collection of our own experience, current literature and some key points that were put forward by Kaplan & Haenlein (Kaplan and Haenlein, 2010) all about using social media and about being social when doing so. This way we will give you everything you need for getting the most out of Social Media for your social business.
Tips about using media
There is a wide array of Social Media applications available to the social entrepreneur today. Being successful on any one of these requires constant interaction and contribution, which makes it crucial to not spread yourself too thin.
Remember to follow these three steps when you decide to maximize your social business success using Social Media. First determine how much time you really have to spend on social media. Not based on what you think you ‘ought to do’ judging from the potential upside, but the amount of time that you can invest while still taking care of the other many responsibilities you can find on your calendar each day. Remember that spreading your attention out too much means that you will be successful in none of your activities. Second, determine your goals for using social media. If you know what you want out of your activities you will make it that much easier for yourself reach your goals. Third, select the combination of channels that best fits your needs and stick to them. You will need some time of active interaction to make your efforts worthwhile, so once you start building your network or group of followers make sure you hold true to your choices for at least a good six months. Your persistence will pay off.
Ensure activity alignment
When you choose to communicate your message across a combination of platforms and applications, make sure your activities are aligned across the different channels. When you spread a consistent message you will exponentially grow the impact of your activities. Combine for instance the social networking power of SENStation, with Youtube viral clips that function as teasers to draw attention to your SENStation actitivies and allow your followers to Twitter your activities to their existent networks on Twitter and the integrated Facebook homepages of their friends to maximize the spread of your message. Your project will take of faster and grow larger using this multi-channel approach, than any single channel would have allowed you to.
Key points about being social
Be active and be a leader when it comes to interacting with your new online following. Social Media success is all about consistent, constant and active interaction. Remember that it’s not about defending yourself to the negative critics when the situation arises, but much more about building your social capital when things are going well. By building a personal relationship with your followers you allow yourself to fill that social stockpile for when future situations might call for it. Even when you only have positive interactions and never meet a downturn, your continuous activities will benefit you, even more so than in any other situation. Either way active interaction will bring you loyal followers, who believe in your philosophy and feel a real and lasting support for your ideas. These are the kind of followers that will stick by you no matter what and invest their energy, time and effort when you call for it. They are the people that will help you get what you want and achieve the goals that you have set for your social business.
When interacting with your followers and supporters give them a reason to keep coming back and to feel that you add something to their lives. Be interesting, be different, be new. An important way to do this is to start by focusing on what it is that your followers are interested in and what things they need and focus your message on that. All too often social and normal businesses think about their own message first and forget that there is nothing more interesting to people than genuine interest in their personal wants and needs. If you allow your followers to give you input on how they feel connected to your message, or on suggestions for improving your project and social business, you collect very valuable feedback, input that would otherwise have called for you to hire a professional market research firm and on top of that your followers will feel more engaged and connected to your activities than ever before. Listen to your people and use the gold that they leave on your online doorstep to bring your business to the next level.
Don´t choose too formal a tone when interacting on Social Media platforms. Social Media is about interaction and interaction is about building relationships. When you interact online think about your followers and your community as your friends and they will do the same. Try to be clear and maintain a focus on your strategies for using these applications, but understand that if your community likes you and trusts you, they will be much more likely to buy into your philosophy and way of thinking.
Too like you it helps if you maintain a style that can be described as ‘social business casual’. You are giving a professional appeal, but you do so in a down-to-earth and personal manner. This way people will feel that you are the kind of social business they can see themselves hanging out with in their online hours and your message will be received with a much more trusted feeling, which will help you build the loyalty you seek from your community.
Just like in any other part of life relationship require trust and trust requires honesty. Trust comes afoot, but goes by horse as a Dutch proverb goes, and honesty is the only way to have trust ease it’s way into your relationships with your followers. Be positive about your business, but don’t exaggerate. Be clear about your benefits, but acknowledge some points of improvement that your project still has. People will appreciate your honesty and trust will be your mutual reward. Nothing breeds loyalty like trust does, so be honest, be yourself and success will come your way faster than you thought possible.
Using these tips you will be able to bring your social business or social entrepreneurial project to the next level. From all of us at SENStation: Bring SENS to Life and be successful doing it!
See you on SENStation,
On behalf of your SENStation Core Team
Carnegie, D. (1937) How to win friends and influence people. New York: Simon and Schuster.
Covey, S.R. (2004) The Seven habits of highly effective people. 15th anniversary ed. New York: Free Press.
Kaplan, A.M. & Haenlein, M. (2010) ‘Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of social media’. Business horizons, 53(1), pp. 59-68.