More people are using sites like facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Wikipedia for business. But how could it work for you and your business?

Before you start
Your company’s target audience requires a focused approach to reach the right groups with highly relevant content. Running a social media campaign requires a commitment of time, effort and resources. Results are not likely to happen overnight and for this reason you should be selective about which activities best fit your business objectives.

A quick assessment of the following is a good place to start:

How much time and money can be invested?
What are your goals?
Which social media channels should you use?
Who in the company should participate?
Who will take a primary role in leading social media campaigns?
How will you measure success?

Your goals might include:

Better engagement with prospects, customers and others.
Finding additional avenues to market your views, products and culture.
Establishing a thought leadership position on a subject.

Targeting your approach
Use social networking as one of several communications tools to enhance the way you do business.

Research and identify where your audience “lives” online, and only engage in activities directly related to those communities.
Take a look at how your competitors use social media and see if it’s working for them.

Make sure you have a purpose
Just because you can create a twitter page for your company doesn’t mean you should.

Are you undecided about blogging?
Well, if your company has the resources to sustain its own blog with educational, non-promotional content on a regular basis, and it’s proven that your audience subscribes to industry information via that platform, you should invest in authoring a blog. If resources are tight, you can still participate in blogging by guest-posting content on other industry bloggers’ sites or making a concerted effort to post thought-provoking comments to others’ posts. Such blogs may be authored by industry analysts, the leading journalists in your market, or other thought leaders in your industry. When posting comments, always be sure to include your name, title and company URL to “stamp” your signature in the blogosphere.

What isn’t the competition doing?
Look at what your competitors aren’t doing in social media and experiment with new avenues. For example, are all of your competitors’ websites purely Web 1.0 and text-based? Cater to the preferred route of how prospects like to receive information by offering multimedia content with videos and podcasts. Video specifically is a highly effective tool for online marketing. YouTube gets twice as many hits as Google; and posting videos to your website also helps with search engine optimisation.

Remember, social media is not about selling and talking at your audience. It is about sharing and engaging with them.

How to measure success
Measuring the value of social media is not an exact science.
Here’s a few suggestions:

Did your company’s website see a boost in traffic from active commenting on industry blogs?
Did the company receive more word-of-mouth referrals through social networks?
Where are your online visitors coming from and how are they interacting with your site?
What is the volume, tone and type of customer comments your social media campaigns are generating?

If it all seems a little daunting, not to worry as Peek is here to help. We can support a wide range of social media initiatives, from strategic planning and consulting to professional content production.