Companies, organizations and governments of all shapes and sizes are all atwitter about social media and determining the best way to get engaged. The social media platforms are many and continue to expand. Gone are the days when most people were on Facebook, a few on Twitter, the professionals on LinkedIn and the soccer moms on Pinterest. Now each platform has millions of users around the world and we have Google+, Instagram, Snapchat and Foursquare in the mix.
With all these networks, and still only 24 hours in the day, it’s hard for any organization, but especially smaller organizations to determine where to spend their time, effort and dollars, since each platform has their own ad networks and opportunities for advertisers. Because of this scarcity of time but perceived requirement to have their name published and network expanded, some organizations are determining how and if they can outsource a social presence to buy themselves recognition. The tough part is, buying love isn’t easy, as we learned from The Beatles.
Below are three methods companies are using to build their social media presence when they can’t find a way to do it themselves:
- Outsource – This past summer Constant Contact surveyed 1,305 small business owners to determine how they engage with social media. The result was that 19% of respondents said they would like to outsource social media, but only 3% are currently using a third-party to expand their social reach. The reason: money. The Constant Contact survey found that 36% of those who said they’d like to outsource social media but can’t are keeping it in-house because they can’t afford it. Another 12% responded that they don’t have the internal bandwidth for social media and 6% stated an inability to find “effective external resources.”
- Create viral content – Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: How do we create the next Gangnam Style?
Who knew Grumpy Cats or Ermahgerd would take off? I’ll tell you who: nobody. You can’t exactly predict how things are going to get shared, but you can keep trying until you find something that gets passed on. One way is to submit your ideas or content to ‘Seed Groups,’ to get the sharing process started. The idea goes like this: share your content with a targeted list who would be susceptible first to your message, and second to sharing it. Once they share it, assuming they have enough interconnectedness among them, the rest of the group will hear the message and then pass it along. It’s like the telephone game, except the misinterpretation of information hopefully isn’t as bad. What the study from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point’s Network Science Center also found was that it doesn’t matter as much who shares the message (i.e., famous people or celebrities), it’s more about how many, which shouldn’t come as a huge surprise.
- Hire the masses – MediaPost reported last week that the Turkish Government, who had previously called social media a ‘menace’ and a ‘curse,’ has since changed its tune. The majority party in the country has ‘hired’ “6,000 social media activists to help influence the public opinion in the digital arena.” While technically these Turkish social media representatives are volunteers, Israel has taken a bit of a different route. The Israeli government announced a plan to hire college students to counter anti-Semitic sentiment and share pro-Israel messages. In return for their efforts, students will be granted partial or even full scholarships, which isn’t a bad deal for a few 140 character messages a day, especially when they probably don’t even have to write them.
What it comes to is that engaging in social media comes in many different forms, so it depends on your goals and what you hope to get out of it. If you’re looking to get in touch with local audiences, there are plenty of options for that. We have even written blog posts about that specifically and you can take a look at those through the links below. If digital advertising and engagement on a higher level is more of what you’re looking for, we have an eBook for you. Check out ‘The Smart Marketer’s Guide to Local Digital Advertising’ now and let us know when you’re ready to reach local audiences.
Scott Olson is the director of marketing at Mediaspace Solutions. His career has spanned marketing positions in the non-profit, software and utility sectors providing various marketing experiences. You can connect with Scott on Facebook, Google+, Twitter or LinkedIn.