#SoCon14 Mash Up: Lessons Learned from the Southeast’s Largest Social Media Un-Conference

SoCon

For the sixth year running, Carabiner was out in full force at SoCon, the Southeast’s largest social media “un-conference.” At this annual event, the best and brightest brands, businesses and social media practitioners congregate to explore social media – including what it is now and what it will be in the future.

In case you weren’t able to attend – no worries! You can enjoy the experience of having been a fly on the wall with this mash-up of our top takeaways that will impact your business and its use of social media:

1. Companies absolutely must be using social media to monitor and resolve customer satisfaction issues. It’s a top place consumers go to express dissatisfaction with a brand, and savvy businesses won’t delete posts but will respond courteously within social forums to address and resolve issues.

2. Brands can engage more meaningfully by being more personal. Strive for a genuine voice in your posts, and make personal responses to consumers who say good things about your brand. As noted above, it’s vital to respond personally to complaint posts, too. It’s also important to show genuine gratitude to your brand’s followers.

3. Social listening is still being greatly underutilized. It’s easy to pop off a promotional comment on Facebook or Twitter, but how many of us are using it to really listen to our desired audiences? Delve into exactly who is following you and pay attention to what they’re saying and doing to learn their interests and dislikes. Also, listen to what your competitors are saying on social platforms. What campaigns appear to be working for them (or not working)? There’s a wealth of information to be found.

4. Litmus test for interesting posts: Are you developing social media content that YOU would want to read? If not, you’ve identified a big problem. This seems like a no-brainer unless you’re caught on the hamster wheel of spinning out so much content it’s become more about quantity than quality. On that same topic, here’s a general formula: One-third of your content can be promotional in nature, but the rest of it should be engaging (one-third) and encouraging (one-third).

5. You don’t have to develop all the content yourself. If you’re out of ideas for social posts, look to aggregate news services such as Pulse, Zyte and News 360 for interesting fodder. Another idea is to develop a team of internal brand ambassadors to help with everything from providing timely content ideas to taking photos at events for sharing through social outlets.

6. On a related note, realize that social media experts don’t always have to come from the PR or marketing department. Conduct a casting call within your organization to determine who has skills and genuine interest with regard to social media – it could be a sales associate or even someone in HR. You’ll get more out of it for your brand if the person developing content truly embraces and enjoys the social experience.

7. You don’t have to be “always” on. It’s really okay if you don’t have the resources or manpower to be accessible via social media 24/7. Just be sure your audience knows when they can regularly reach you. For instance, try to be active during the same timeframe each day, such as an hour or so in the morning and then again late afternoon.

8. Did you know YouTube has become the largest search engine? Remarkably, it is, and this points back to our earlier communications about the increasing importance of engaging, web-based video for reaching target audiences online.

9. Have a plan in place before a crisis hits. We all know that increasingly, social media is exactly where a crisis might hit. Suddenly, a bad experience with your brand goes viral or some unfavorable news involving your company hits online. Be sure to have a communicated plan in place so that those who handle social media within your organization understand protocol – what to say and what not to say – and how to get approval on sensitive posts or replies before ever putting them out there.

Do you agree or disagree with any of these insights and recommendations? What social media platform or strategy do you find most significant for your business?

Don’t wait until SoCon15 to make your voice heard – comment here or Tweet us @carabinerpr with your feedback!

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