Lessons Learned

As a student coming to a close in the McMaster Social Media Research and Techniques course I want to link my ‘lessons learned’ assignment back to our first assignment about what I’ve hoped to learn from this course. 

Attracting ‘likes’ and ‘followers’ – Creativity and engagement are important, but having influencers is crucial.  It’s the influencers that can assist your business in its ROI.  They provide credibility toward your product/service and have the ability to spread information through their social media channels.

Audience engagement – As a reminder: keep it simple and edit your content down for clarity.  Social media is just that ‘social’ and conversations should be kept casual and brief, but remain professional.

Handling negative comments – Don’t freak out!  Be honest, transparent and timely your responses.  Get your facts straight and apologize if need be.

What else have I learned?

1.  Develop objectives before ‘jumping on the social media bandwagon’.   Throughout this course, I have researched many companies that have social media pages just because everyone’s doing it, but they fail to make an impact.  You have to identify the goals you are working toward and determine how you are going to measure your social media efforts toward your goals.

Social media is another element to your overall marketing plan and can be used as a vehicle to help achieve company goals such as:

  • Raise awareness of your business, brand, product or services
  • Build business relationships
  • Drive traffic to your website
  • Increase customer base
  • Keep a pulse on how others feel about your business

2.    Determine your metrics.  Once you have your social media strategy and goals, you have to determine how you will measure and monitor them.  Metrics can be done in many ways:

  • Engagement from the people who comment on your social media pages
  • Increased followers
  • Keyword tracking (http://tweetstats.com/)
  • Prospect leads and sales
  • Online influence (www.klout.com)
  • Website hits

3.    Social media is not free.  Well, the tools aretechnically free, however the time needed to effectively maintain and evaluate them are not.  There are many facets involved when using these vehicles such as:

  • Developing a social media policy
  • Strategy, goals, and measurements
  • How much time your resource should spend on it per week
  • What platform best suits your industry

What do I want to learn next in social media?

  • How to handle ‘information overload’.  Reading what your customers, prospects, competitors and industry experts are blogging about on Twitter and Facebook can almost be a full-time job, how do you stay on top of this when social media is about 5% of your job?
  • How to plan ahead with content for your social media sites.  It can get daunting trying to determine what to write on company social media pages.  I believe that developing an editorial calendar and acting proactive rather than reactive is critical in doing this, but you also have to get creative. Social media writing is very different than writing a story or a press release – it is more timely, brief and quite frequent.
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