Last year was big for social media: Twitter use more than doubled, Facebook continued its quest for world domination and many more new, exciting channels were born – go Instagram! And it wasn’t purely consumers fueling that growth. In 2010 it was reported that 73 percent of companies used social media for marketing purposes, a 15 percent increase from 2009.
The growth was most evident to me while attending several large conferences last year–PAX East, Comic-Con International: San Diego, PAX Prime and New York Comic Con–and witnessing the staggering increase in online conversation from event to event. At the first conference our client was one of the few brands using social media to engage attendees, but by New York Comic Con even the street performer outside the convention center was on Twitter.
Remember the analogy that social media is like a cocktail party? Well, now that party is a frat house rager and the key people you really want to talk to are surrounded by throngs of others vying for their attention.
But 2011 isn’t a time to be discouraged by these new challenges; it’s a time to embrace the opportunities and rise to the top! Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Make Your Content Searchable: One of the easiest ways to be found is to be searchable. We use SEO best practices in all of our writing, from blog posts and YouTube video descriptions to Tweets and Facebook updates. The first step to making your content searchable is understanding your audience. Put yourself in their shoes. How will they be searching for you and your content?
- Provide Value: The best way to ensure people keep coming back to your social channels is to give them a reason. Whether it’s fun promotions or compelling content, this should be the core of your focus. It seems obvious, but we see accounts every day wasting characters on shameless product plugs or inane updates. Select your content like you’re picking gems for a necklace –select only the best and most beautiful content to string together on your social stream.
- Know Your Influencers: It has been reported that 5 percent of Twitter users account for 75 percent of activity. Do you know who in that 5 percent is influencing your target audience? You better. Get to know your influencers and provide them with access to people, information or product that will interest them and, furthermore, their followers as well. Consider creating a brand ambassador program for a select few users – they will be paramount in breaking through the noise and amplifying your message.
- Be Proactive: You have a lot of friends and followers on your social channels, so what? Don’t be complacent with your current following and don’t expect everyone to come to you. Utilize paid (Radian 6) and free (Twitter search, Google Alerts) tools to monitor conversation and find opportunities to expand your network. Monitoring will also help with your SEO research; what terms does your audience consistently use?
So, how are you planning to break through the noise in 2011?