Social media can be a real driver for your business. If you've taken the time to set up your accounts, share content and make connections, you've probably experienced this firsthand. Still, managing all of these social networks can become a bit overwhelming if you're not connecting with the right people and keeping your contacts organized. The more you grow your network of connections, the more content and messaging will be made available to you. With this stream of new information, it can be easy to miss important posts. Luckily, you can continue to grow your following and influence without losing key content. In this post, I'll explain who to connect with and how to stay organized by segmenting contacts across the various social channels you're now active on.
Before you start to segment your contacts into groups or lists, start by first connecting with the right people.
Who Should You Connect With?
The answer to this question largely depends on what you're looking to get out of your social media efforts. In the meantime, here are a few categories of potential connections that you should explore:
You might be thinking, "Why would I need to connect with my clients? I already have their business!" This is true, but the key to retaining your current clients is to build strong relationships. Of course, new business is great, but you also want to make your current clients feel valued. Make new friends but keep the old! By connecting with your current clients on social media, you'll be able to see, in real time, what they're interested in and talking about. What if they're talking about you? Perhaps employees in their office can't connect to the Wi-Fi and are reaching out for assistance via Twitter. You can leverage your social presence to field these requests, troubleshoot the issues and deliver superior customer service. By following the client who's having trouble, you'll see this tweet in your feed. Instead of waiting for them to call you, proactively reply to their message and let them know that you're sorry for the service disruption, but are looking into it!
Additionally, following clients expands your reach to their own individual networks. if you're having discussions with your current clients on social media, their connections are going to see these threads. Who knows, maybe the owner of one of the companies they are connected with will appreciate your accessibility and immediate response so much that they become a future client of yours!
In our "Step-by-Step Guide to Targeting Your Verticals on Social Media," we discussed the importance of targeting the companies in your area that fit your buyer personas. Evaluate your current clients and determine which verticals you're serving. Additionally, identify which geographic areas you are servicing. Once you have broken your business down into verticals (it might be just one) and location, you should do an audit of all businesses that fit these two qualifiers. These are the companies that you should be connecting with. As you make connections, the content that you share will be made available to these potential clients. At the same time, you'll be able to see what they think is worth sharing and can learn of new trends and stories you may have otherwise missed. This way, you'll position yourself as a thought leader and problem solver in the industry, and your company name and logo will gain more visibility in your area.
Relevant Publications & Thought Leaders
We've mentioned "sharing content" a couple of times in this post. Where is this content coming from? Hopefully, your company has a blog that you and your employees are consistently contributing to. However, blogs take time to create and maintain and sometimes, you just don't have that time. When this is the case, connect with and follow relevant publications, those that create the exact kind of content that will be interesting and helpful to your clients and prospects. This way, you'll see the content that these publications are sharing and can pass it along to your own connections.
Even if you do have your own blog, it never hurts to connect with these publications and thought leaders. If you share one of their posts, they may reciprocate and share something that you have published. Now, you will increase your exposure and get in front of a larger collection of strategic accounts.
How to Stay Organized
Once you have built out a solid network of connections, you might notice that monitoring and managing social media can get a bit hectic. Messages from your prospects are mixed with your clients are mixed with the publications. If only there were a way to keep everything nice and organized...
There is! You can utilize social media lists or tags to segment contacts and connections. Some of you may choose to do this to separate personal and professional content. The methods vary a bit on each of the platforms, so let's take a brief look at how to stay organized on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
Twitter lists are probably the most effective and easiest to use out of these three methods. Essentially, you can assign your contacts to specific lists and monitor those lists to see the activity from only the members included. Let's say you build a Twitter list called "Current Clients." Go through your contacts and add any current clients you're following to that list. That way, the activity from your current clients will be segmented out and much easier for you to track and interact with. You can then set a time during the day to only consult Twitter for customer complaints or praise, for instance.
WARNING: Be sure to set your lists to "private" if you do not want others to access them. You likely don't want your competition to have a list of your current clients and how to reach them.
For more on Twitter lists, click here!
Lists on Facebook work similarly to those on Twitter. You add friends to custom lists that you name and configure privacy settings for. With Facebook friends lists, you can monitor the activity of those in a specific list and can also share content with that list specifically.
For more on Facebook friends lists, click here!
The LinkedIn capabilities aren't as useful as those of Twitter and Facebook, but there are still ways to organize your connections. You can "tag" specific contacts with keywords that you can then sort by. Think of our previous example of the "Current Clients" Twitter list. You could similarly internally tag each of your current clients that you are connected with on LinkedIn with the search term "Current Clients." This will allow you to easily filter only those connections out of your contacts list.
For more on LinkedIn tagging, click here!
Finding time to commit to social media is hard enough. Make it easier on yourself by staying organized and connecting with the right people so you can get the most out of your social media marketing efforts.
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By Courtney Swift
By Scott Wittstock