The majority of small and medium-sized business have well established brands on social media networks, (Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook), however, expanding communication channels in social media can be easily incorporated with intensifying results.
Twitter chats are inherently viral and will bring your social community together to engage in valuable and insightful discussion. When someone participates in your chat, all their tweets appear in their stream with your hashtag, which brings in their followers. Creating regularly scheduled twitter chat can help add to brand awareness and position you as an expert. From a PR perspective, general topics covered about your brand should be the focus by asking specific and numbered questions throughout the chat. Each question should get roughly 15 minutes, and the chat last no more than one hour. A transcript of the chat should then be hosted on your blog or website for reference and there are many tools out there to help you with this.
Managing a LinkedIn Group will enable your online community to interact openly with you, and a forum for you to guide members with thought-provoking discussions. It‘s an opportunity to gain credibility with a new group of followers and a better understanding of what makes your customers tick. Creating and managing a LinkedIn Group allows you to build strong, more meaningful relationships beyond 140 characters.
Possibly the most overlooked tool of Facebook pages is the Discussion tab. While businesses immediately see the immediate advantages of using the more popular Facebook page tabs such as the Wall tab, the Discussion tab is often completely overlooked. Although it is actually created by default, many businesses simply remove it as they do not realize its potential. It’s a great way to interact with visitors as a mini forum to continue conversations from the wall and develop active discussions, further engaging with your fans.
One key thing to remember about online chats or discussions is that these forums are for your community, not for you as the host. Don’t be self promotional – this is not a place to push your products or services. Develop a plan for engagement around your brand and area of expertise, keep it conversational and just let the conversation unfold, naturally. You might be surprised what your community has to say.
Peoples’ opinion and perceptions are truly important to the future success of any brand and you can gain some valuable insight. By connecting, listening and incorporating feedback into your business, you are officially ‘engaging’ – which is what social media PR is all about!