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Ten top tips for social media engagement

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By Katie McQuater | Magazine Editor

March 28, 2012 | 6 min read

With research suggesting people are starting to get bored of social media, it’s more important than ever that brands ensure they are engaging correctly, in the right places, and at the right time. But how can social media be integrated into the traditional marketing mix so brands maintain their reputation and achieve increased engagement along the way?

The Drum hears from social voices in the marketing communications industry to find out their top tips for social engagement.
  1. Have a clear social media strategy“The key is to have a strategy: think carefully about the resources you have and how you can keep control of any conversations you begin. Anyone can set up a Twitter or LinkedIn account, but you need a strategy to make it a success. If you treat social media as a key part of your PR and wider business strategy you can achieve real business results.” Nigel Ferrier, director, Optimise PR and executive chairman, FPCG
  2. Think about integration with search“One benefit that isn’t fully exploited by many advertisers is social’s positive effect on SEO. We use social to support search marketing strategies because of its potential to generate links at the same time as driving brand awareness. The viral nature of social sharing means that as a brand, or a campaign, becomes more visible through social media the chances of websites noticing (and therefore linking) also increases.” Andy Heaps, operations director, Epiphany
  3. Identify your target audience and choose your platforms accordingly“Quora works well as a platform for higher-tier workers to answer intelligent and in-depth questions in a more academically rigorous environment than say, Facebook. However, Facebook offers brands an opportunity to engage with hundreds of millions of consumers across the globe interested in the latest trends. YouTube can work extremely as a platform for product demonstrations and ‘how to’ guides, whereas Twitter can give you effective and speedy dispute resolution should any complaints be raised about your products/services.” Jon Priestley, account manager, Umpf
  4. Get a Timeline strategy“Facebook Timeline for brands is part of a new, more commercially focused Facebook, offering brands more opportunities, but also applying pressure for companies to get up to speed – and quickly. It will be the businesses that embrace the change and become truly social businesses that will prosper as a result.” Robin Grant, managing director, We Are Social
  5. …But consider looking outside of the big two in social networks“If you are in fashion, design or travel you should be on Pinterest. If you are a restaurant, hotel or brands that have to be locale or have events then you need to be on Foursquare. I also think Tumblr has a lot of value to smaller and more local kinds of business.” Dylan Fuller, co-founder, Local Social Summit
  6. Social media shouldn’t be a bolt-on“Integration is a two way exercise and social media has already matured to a point that it shouldn't be perceived as a bolt-on to other disciplines. As a channel, social media undoubtedly works best when it is truly integrated, both in terms of consistency of message and through ensuring that the consumer journey is genuinely true to an overall brand marketing strategy.” Pete Goold, managing director, Punch Communications
  7. Establish what will be offered to consumers“Assuming the need for a presence across all social media platforms is one of the biggest mistakes a brand or retailer can make. Brands need to know if their target audience is using a social network and also understand what content they can offer them. The, ‘build it and they will come’ mantra does not apply to social media communities and brands need to establish what they are going to offer consumers before they set up a social media community.” Tom Malcolm, head of consumer, Diffusion
  8. The role of TV in publishing content“You would expect that the social behaviour we're seeing now, such as liking or sharing content, would naturally evolve into the area of TV spots - especially by the time we reach 2014 and all new TV sets are internet enabled. What I think we'll actually see is brands shifting into a content publishing role, using TV to drive consumers into high volume social channels and then delivering specific content to them based upon how they interact and what that particular community wants. With brands building up social channels of several million there has to be fundamental shift in how that channel is used to drive advocacy and engagement.” Jim Coleman, managing partner, We Are Social
  9. Don’t use social media as a push channel“All brands and retailers, regardless of their size, sector and target audience, must recognise that social media is about interaction and not just pushing sales messages to increasingly cynical consumers. Quality social media content that interests an audience does not depend on your brand/sector but more on the social media and wider communications strategy of your business. Get these steps right and there is ample space in the social media sphere for any brand or sector.” Jon Priestley, account manager, Umpf
  10. Bad publicity needn’t be the end of the world“Domino’s Pizza showed bad news needn’t be catastrophic if you seize the initiative. They were faced with the PR disaster of an employee shown on YouTube tampering with pizzas in a distinctly unappetising way. The stunt forced the company to respond and ultimately to engage with social media more proactively. They went on to invite customers to post feedback on their pizzas, good and often bad, then pledged to change the recipe in response. The publicity campaign around that led to a double-digit sales boost.” Nigel Ferrier, director, Optimise PR and executive chairman, FPCG
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Content created with:

Optimise PR

Optimise PR was set up in 2010 as part of the Ferrier Pearce Creative Group. As an integrated PR & Social Media Agency we help clients use traditional and social media channels to achieve the results they want.

With offices in London and Cambridgeshire we have a strong team of journalists, press officers and social media whizzes with experience across a range of media platforms, agency and client-side.

We attribute our success to the fact that we are strategic, committed, pay close attention to detail and never miss a deadline.

We don't do off-the-peg solutions. We like to take the time to understand your business, your customers, your world. It's only by doing this that that we can identify the challenges you face and understand how communications can help.

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Epiphany

Building brand recognition is what we do. By combining organic search strategies, paid campaigns, engaging social and rich content we get our clients in front of the right audience in the moments that matter.

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Umpf

It's like PR, but with a bit more Umpf. We deliver clever, creative campaigns across traditional, digital and social media channels

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we are social

We are a global socially-led creative agency with unrivaled social media expertise.

With 1,300 people in 19 offices spanning four continents, we deliver a global perspective to our clients in a time when social media is shaping culture.

We make ideas worth talking about.

We understand social behaviours within online communities, cultures and subcultures.

We help our clients reach the right people in a strategic, relevant and effective way.

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Punch Communications

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Diffusion

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