The role of today’s media executive is dramatically different from what it was a decade ago. New skills are required, and new tools are available to help media executives make the most of their digital publications. Social media is a cornerstone of the new media experience, and if you’re ignoring social media, you’re shortchanging your publication.
Social media has extended everyone’s reach, and has turned what used to be a strictly one-way, media-to-consumer interaction into a multi-way interaction. It’s more complex, but more effective and rewarding when you know readers, listeners, or viewers consider themselves part of the process.
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Furthermore, social media has become a cornerstone of small and medium business marketing, allowing these enterprises to better serve existing customers and reach new ones. Media companies and digital publications in particular rely on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Vine, Google+ and more as valuable tools in their marketing toolkits. If you’re holding back on social media, it’s time to step out of your comfort zone.
Social Media Can Fuel Business Processes
Businesses can use social media to enable people to learn about, locate, and discover relevant information about your brand, and to draw on collective knowledge of your brand’s user community. Some companies take it further, crowdsourcing ideas, or using social media to launch promotions and contests that increase customer engagement. Social media can also be used internally to improve employee productivity, allowing employees to collaborate more easily at all stages of projects.
Social Intelligence Can Drive Positive Business Outcomes
When you use social media, you can attach human faces to the data you collect. When you regularly interact with customers, clients, and potential customers via social media, you learn more about their sentiments and behaviors in the real world – not in the sterilized environment of focus groups. This provides you with the unique opportunity to build stronger relationships with them while gathering powerful social media analytics that you can use to drive smarter business decisions.
Social Media Represents a Fundamental Cultural Change
The ascendance of social media represents a fundamental cultural change, and this can be intimidating for someone who earned his or her stripes in the world of one-way media. But the positives outweigh the negatives. Social media offers a tremendous opportunity to build your brand with greater authenticity and broader reach, and is fast becoming an essential component of how modern enterprises operate.
Deploy, Analyze, Re-Imagine
The only way to truly learn the possibilities of social media is to get out there and participate. If you’re not sure where to start, you might consider learning one social media platform at a time. Perhaps you could spend the next month learning about and using Twitter. Once you’re comfortable with that, you can spend a month using Facebook, then Google+, then Pinterest, and so on.
You’ll probably find that some social media networks represent a better fit than others. For example, if you’re in the news business, Twitter may be more valuable than, say, Pinterest. But exploring all your options is the best way to determine which social media platforms fit best with your overall brand and marketing strategy.
Consistency Is Important
Once you identify the social media platforms that fit best with your brand, making the most of them requires consistency and commitment. Developing a social media strategy is smart. You’ll want to identify how often your brand will interact on social media, perhaps assign appropriate personnel to monitor and interact on key social media platforms, and find ways to make social media mesh with your business strategies.
For example, you may want to coordinate specific social media campaigns with your editorial calendar or with upcoming promotions. But hitting social media only when it’s convenient, or only to serve direct commercial ends is not a good way to develop loyalty. The people you interact with on social media want to derive benefit and value from your social media participation, and they want to feel like you’re there for them whether or not you’re promoting a piece of content.
If you’ve been putting off learning about or participating in social media in a business context, it’s time to stop procrastinating. Social media and business become more intertwined by the day, and every day you wait allows your competition to establish stronger community ties and develop better customer loyalty.