It’s no secret that in this truly modern age, social media (sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) are the absolute biggest players in getting important messages across to potentially millions (and gazillions) of people online. Let’s not kid ourselves any longer about the long-reaching arm of the internet.
Conversations are happening instantly, more often and between more people online. The very vehicles that facilitate these modern interactions also make it possible to communicate in a highly specific or personalised way, en masse. The days of catching up on the phone or having a chat in the bank line are slowing exiting stage left.
But how does a company coordinate, resource and track online communication across multiple websites and social media pages? How is a brand established and managed, and what to do with the wealth of information coming your way? It’s just such a mammoth task! We offer some practical tips.
According to an article on NielsenWire entitled “Social Media Dominates Asia Pacific Internet Usage” (July 9, 2010):
- Australia leads the world in social media engagement, with the highest global average for time spent per month engaging with social media, averaging over seven hours per month
- In contrast to many countries, Australians look to communities of interest such as parenting or sports sites as a key channel for social media discussion – 62 percent of Australian Internet users visited a message board or forum in 2009. Many companies are creating or reinventing their current websites to make discourse, not hard out marketing, the focus of their online presence
Creating a solid presence online allows an organisation to promote and build the culture of their brand. It’s also a great way to differentiate your brand in a highly competitive world by giving it an identity or persona.
This can be achieved by:
• Being Human: Remember, not everyone wants all politics and facts all the time. Using relevant current events and happenings can help to give your brand a face.
• Mixing It Up: Don’t be afraid to post content that’s not directly related to your industry, goal or message.
• Timing: This is very important. Play around with what time of day you post and test what results in better interaction. Depending on the demographics of your target audience, when is the best time to post? Early morning? Late night? For example: teenagers will often be up late at night on Facebook with their friends.
• Be a Resource: When you come across interesting or relevant content pertaining to your campaign or industry, you should post it. Your fans will also find it to be of interest.
• Ask For Tips and Advice: Asking questions encourages a back and forth discourse. Your audience can not only receive but offer advice on an issue, policy position or problem your campaign or organisation may be experiencing. People love to speak on topics they know about.
Recently, Citywide approached us to develop an online arborist recruitment site called Treescapers to help them solve a pressing employment issue. We put on our “high viz” vests, got the thinking helmets out and Treescapers was born. We realised that job satisfaction, camaraderie, the culture of an organisation and its ethical stance are other key factors that attract people to potential employers.
And so, Treescapers became not only a platform to announce job opportunities, but a vehicle for interesting blog articles, photos, stories from arborists, tips and tidbits – all of this helping Citywide’s Treescapers to establish its culture.
If the online persona of your brand engages and informs your audience through repeated, ongoing interaction and your response to feedback (good or bad), it creates a tangible bond between community members, customers and employees of the organisation. Your web presence is more important than your office signage, product brochures and shiny new uniforms. It is intrinsically ‘you’.
In the first month post launch, an immediately high engagement figure (over 700 visits from 13 countries) was recorded. Previously, Citywide would get one job application per quarter. Today with the help of Treescapers, they are gathering interest from qualified arborists up to three times monthly – more than you can poke a stick at.