Using Social Media When Your Customers Don't - Is It a Waste of Time?

First thing I do each morning when I get to work is log into my Facebook account. Many upper-management types would frown upon this, but as a social media strategist this is my job. Therefore, Facebook is a requirement for me. Before I begin my daily rotation of monitoring client pages, I happen to glance at a few posts on my personal news feed. These days, it's not unusual to find a friend or relative complaining about alleged privacy breaches by Facebook.

What does this mean, exactly? Well, if you were to search the Internet for news stories about Facebook, you may find a number of articles outlining changes in privacy statements, and whether or not Facebook claims ownership of any pictures or videos you upload. Check your friend feed long enough, and somebody will have shared such a notice. Now, we're not going to detail here Facebook's terms of service and privacy policies, but for the sake of argument let's examine what you should do for your business when the people you want to reach decide to drop off the site. This means one less pair of eyes sees the sales announcement on your Facebook page, right? Perhaps, but does this mean you should put less effort into social media optimization if you feel people aren't getting the message?

One thing I have personally noticed is that people in my feed who do complain about Facebook don't necessarily leave it altogether. Indeed, the site have proven useful in terms of finding information and keeping in touch with family and friends. There are measures one can take to protect identity and privacy, it's just a matter of simply doing it. As a business, you will want to maintain an active presence on Facebook because it remains one of the most visited networks online. Facebook URLs also come up in relevant search results, so be generous with your content.

Don't forget, too, you can also devote time to Twitter and YouTube, which also boast impressive unique visitations. What you don't catch through Facebook can be filtered into tweets. The upstart Google Plus network is also helpful, and now that businesses can set up pages you may wish to make room in your social media schedule for updating a page there.

Some ideas you may consider to boost awareness of your social media:

Devise a Twitter hashtag unique to your business, and use it often. Advertise the hashtag in your print and broadcast marketing endeavors.Utilize a Facebook-authorized contest application to draw traffic to your page. Be careful in how you use Facebook for such promotions, because they are known to penalize you.Concentrate on YouTube and encourage customer feedback videos, offering incentives to people who record testimonials.

Social media may change in the next several years, but it won't go away entirely. Adjust to general preferences and think outside the box as you use social networks to advertise.

Kathryn Lively is a freelance writer specializing in articles on social media writing and Virginia web design.

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