Seven ways to improve your use of social media

Social media - pointless fad or essential business tool? Well, it depends how you choose to employ it...

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Social media can divide opinions, as our editor proved recently when he outlined his distaste for Twitter. But if you use it properly, as the recent case of singer Susan Boyle proved, it can be an incredibly powerful tool for spreading your message. Here are seven crucial steps if you want to get it right.

Make it appropriate.
We can't all be Obama, so don't use social media in every campaign. Think about what you want to say and who you are trying to reach. Traditional approaches can be effective too.

Use the best channels. Know your audience inside-out before having a frenzied splurge on every social medium out there. Bebo is a good way to access a younger group, but blogs and Twitter feeds are more sophisticated.

Get the tone right. A formal style works for corporate blogs, but if it's a podcast or a snappy one-liner for a Twitter entry, make your style accessible.

Don't advertise, communicate. The point of corporate social media is to inspire loyalty to your brand. So don't alienate your audience with blatant sales-pitching. Tell people what they want to hear and they'll want more.

Involve the team. It's worth involving as many employees as possible, not only to keep the content lively but because it's a fun way to raise commitment and boost morale in sober times.

Keep it fresh. The most uninspiring websites are those whose last blog entry was in 2004 and there was only ever one person writing on it. Someone should be in charge to keep things ticking over.

Be creative. You are building an online community, so entertain and inform. Social media is good for talking to customers or creating a buzz around a new product. People don't use it to read the annual finance report.

Did we miss anything? Let us know below if you have anything to add...

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Seven ways to improve your use of social media

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