Last week, I received an inquiry about the ingredients for a successful social media program. What, precisely, makes a Facebook page, a Twitter feed or a LinkedIn group a real homerun for a product or organization? How do you measure the value of your program?
A variety of elements contribute to a flourishing social media existence. Social media can be simple and yet truly quite complicated: no singular characteristic defines a program. A combination of values and attributes work in combination to build a dynamic and meaningful social media platform for your meeting attendees, association members, customers or prospects.
Following are some of the traits you should be on lookout for when measuring the success of your social media program:
- The Numbers Game:
In today’s ever-competitive society, size matters – but not all the time. Social media marketers, yours truly included, will readily spout off the number of followers, Likes or Group members they have. Is this statistic important? It can be, but only to a certain extent. Let me explain-Some well-known celebrities have thousands – even millions – of followers on Facebook and Twitter. Anyone can follow these folks and most do so in order to obtain inside information or to feel “close” to their favorite star. Numbers become trophies and are not necessarily characteristic of success. If you’re competitive in nature, especially vis-à-vis other companies or products in your field, then the number of followers you amass can be counted among your successes.
This has become a huge and almost over-used buzzword in social media circles. Despite the buzz, it really is a critical part of any successful social media program. Here’s why: social media is also known as social networking, with “networking” being the key word here. Networking is about people coming together and sharing ideas. If you’re posting and your followers aren’t responding – or engaging – your message or your approach isn’t on point. Successful social media is a conversation between the brand and the customer: not a dialog from the brand talking about and to itself.
At the heart of any social media program is a sense of community, support and belonging. Some of the most successful programs I’ve viewed and have been a part of foster this type of interaction. LinkedIn Groups are a terrific place to build community amongst your customers and members, particularly if you’re part of an association. If I need a resource or an answer to a question, I turn to my LinkedIn Groups. Comprised of my peers and like-minded individuals, chances are that my fellow social media, marketing and meeting planner colleagues are either facing or have already faced down the same challenge I’m encountering. Theirs is the advice I’m after!
Many marketers make the mistake of painting social media with a broad black and white paintbrush and define success by the numbers. I contend that a small, dedicated, actively engaged and participatory social media group can be wildly successful as well. When your social media program has reached the point where the content is regularly seeded and even monitored by its members, it’s time to congratulate yourself on a job well done – and to start thinking about how you’ll take your program to the next level.