We’ve been using social media in one way or another since early 2009 so in social media years, that’s a lifetime. Since we’ve been doing it for so long and people seem to think we do a nice job, we’re asked quite a bit what our strategy is. It’s a good question since you need to have a strategy if you’re going to be successful. If you don’t have a purpose you might as well not do it at all.
We started doing social media in 2009 after we announced that we were moving from our previous location to our current location. We saw it as a way to keep people informed about the move- why we were moving, what we were doing it, when things were happening. It helped for getting blogs, pictures and videos out there. We moved in April 2009 so by about June 2009 we were all moved in and settled so we really didn’t have any more move-related items to talk about. That was when we figured out we needed to find our new purpose for being on social media.
Since then we needed to figure out why we do it, where we were going to do it, what we were going to do, how we were going to do it and the metrics we were going to use to determine success or failure.
Why We Do It? For a business, in our opinion, you need to determine whether you’re doing social media for sales or marketing. Are you trying to get direct sales or are you trying to make people aware of you? We decided our purpose was marketing, making people aware. We didn’t expect people to see a post and immediately call us and book a job. For us, it’s more realistic to think people will read our posts and learn about us so when they do have a job they remember reading about us and thinking “I bet IDEAS can help me with this”. We want to peak people’s interest so they go to our website to learn more about us. We also do it to give people a sense of what happens “behind the curtain”. Behind the scenes things are some of our most popular posts.
Where We Do It? There are, literally, hundreds of social media outlets, with new ones popping up almost daily. It’s impossible to be on all of them, or even most of them. We decided that it was more important to be attentive and active on a few than spread ourselves too thin and be sub-par at a lot of them. We believe in quality over quantity. We focus on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn along with video outlets YouTube and Vimeo. There are reasons we have chosen those outlets but to get in to those reasons would take too long.
What We Do? We do pretty much everything on social media- pictures, video, links, plain text, etc. If it’s part of our everyday activities or more importantly if we think it’s adding value, we post it. Our overall philosophy is to add value. We might not be able to do that for everyone on every post, but if our audience feels like they are getting something out of our posts, we’ve succeeded. There are a lot of people posting a lot of information on social media. The last thing we want to do is add clutter or noise to someone’s timeline. The minute we start annoying people they unfollow or hide us and we’ve lost a potential client.
How Do We Do It? Believe it or not there’s a method to our madness. We work off a schedule so we’re not just chaos. We set a schedule at the beginning of the week with the things we know are happening, then we populate things from there as they come up. Each week has a schedule then each day has a schedule. We prioritize things based on what’s more popular, what the best days and times are to post, monitoring what people seem to like most, etc. We are not afraid to post things more than once but we’re very careful to post things days and times apart hoping to get a different audience for each time something is posted. We learn from what appears to be working for others and we spend money when it’s smart to, choosing when to promote tweets (Twitter) or posts (Facebook). We don’t spend money to buy friends/followers/likes, but we do spend money to make sure our message gets in from of people that do follow or like us.
Does It Work? In a word, yes. We know it works for two reasons. First, on an almost daily basis we get compliments from people about what we’re doing on social media. We also hear indirect positive feedback in conversations, when someone says “I read about X on Facebook” or “I saw a tweet about that” we know our message is being heard by the people we want it to be heard by. The other way we know it’s working is by our website traffic. Typically, days in which we’re silent on social media show a drop in website traffic by more than 50%. When we post a link to our website, we see a spike on that specific page. Our goal ultimately is for people to see us on social media, then learn more about us on our website and eventually hire us for a project. We have documented proof of that happening so we know our process is working. And just as important is that we’re having fun doing it.