by Jim May, Senior PR Associate

First of all, apologies to those of you that read these and have been wondering where my last entry on social media has been. As those serving our target industry can attest to, IMTS wreaks havoc on schedules in the pre-show months. That said, with the show starting Monday, there’s a slight (very slight) lull before the storm. Let’s see if we can wrap this up.

– First and foremost, know your audience. When you start building a group of followers, look at their profiles and see what other feeds they’ve subscribed to. Are they looking for a news stream? If so, what kind of news? Are they internal or external to your organization? Do they care about your company or your products? Are they just subscribing to everything they’ve ever heard of in the hopes of reciprocity building their own following? These questions are generic and just a start, but knowing what your followers want to hear will be vital to your success.

– Establish separate feeds for separate needs. Companies segment the market and offer different products to different targets. There’s no reason Twitter should be any different. Once you have a grasp on what people are looking for, set up separate channels so that people can get the info they care about without having you dominate their incoming Tweets. One group might only want info on upcoming seminars. Another might want your take on trends in your industry. Another might be looking for technical info on products. Maintaining separate feeds for people with diverse needs will pay off, even if there’s some overlap among groups.

– Remember to listen as much as you push. It’s entirely too easy to focus on what’s going out and ignore the true potential of Twitter. If your customers are there and they’re talking about your products, there’s no excuse for letting their comments float into the void unnoticed. In increasing numbers, large retailers are providing a great example of how Twitter can be used to identify customers with a negative experience and rectify their issues. Done properly, that’s a free tool for building customer loyalty that it would be foolish to ignore.

– Keep things interesting. This somewhat overlaps with the first two points, but seriously, keep your feed interesting. It’s better to post infrequent items that truly engage people than to spew out a stream of monotony with only the occasional island of interest appearing.

– Go young. As mentioned in a previous post, while Facebook has users of all ages, they still skew young. On top of that, younger users are much more likely to accept your presence on the site as natural, rather than feeling like your company’s intruding on their personal life. When you generate content and pursue fans, keep the twenty- and thirty-somethings at the forefront of your mind.

– Ask yourself if people care. A lot of companies think that their customers will automatically find anything they post to be of interest. That couldn’t be more wrong. A lot of users don’t like it when anyone shows up “too regularly” on the front page of their news feed. Start posting 3 or 4 items a day about topics people don’t care about and they’ll start abandoning your profile en masse.

– Pay attention to what people like. This goes somewhat with the previous point. When you post comments, watch what topics generate comments or ‘likes’. If every post about one of your products looks like it’s playing to an empty house, re-focus your efforts onto topics that actually engage people.

Alright, that wraps up this series. Obviously, all of these entries have been designed to provide some food for thought and are little more than a starting point. There is worlds of data on social media vehicles out there, so if the topic interests you, please don’t just rely on something you read here. Do a little in depth research and maximize your chance at success. And feel free to contact me at may@dgsmarketing if you have any questions, comments or insults. Thanks for reading.

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