Engaging audiences through social media

Yesterday I headed to the National Housing Federation Marketing Communications conference over in Russell Square to give a presentation on engaging audiences through social media. The conference was great and I really enjoyed running my session, so I thought I'd share some of the key issues that I identified as important to consider when looking to engage customers and prospects through social media:
  1. Do your research Before you start using a social media site, find our if your target audiences are using it and how they’re using it. Based on this you can decide which channels are appropriate for your business.
  2. Develop your own strategy What works for one company may not work for another so its important, based on your research, to work out how your company can best use these sites.
  3. Focus on the long-term Social media isn’t a tool to get a short-term sales lift. You need to be patient and focus on building relationships and your brand.
  4. Offer something interesting or useful This can be information and knowledge, exclusive discounts on products and services or even an alternative channel for queries and customer service.
  5. Understand that the power is with the consumer Social media should not be treated as any other sales channel and the focus should be on interaction on the terms of the target audiences.  If it’s not on their terms, at best they’ll ignore you, at worst there will be a backlash.
If you'd like to see a recording of the full presentation which focuses on generic social media strategies for business as well as specifically on housing associations, it will be available on our YouTube channel later this afternoon.

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