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The Four Tís of a Successful
Social Media Strategy:

Training, Team, Technique, and Take-Away

Social Media is serious business! Tap into the power of social media by developing a strategy that will give your small business the biggest benefit. Understanding what customers expect from social interactions, leveraging social tools for team training, and using effective techniques can help fuel more than just your bottom line.

T is for Training
Many companies rely on agencies to supply them with research and develop a social media strategy, but some also depend on them to manage their social content. However, most consumers want to interact with the company directly, not with an agency. Therefore, companies should strongly consider handling their own social media content in-house. This is especially critical for smaller businesses so as to not diminish any pre-existing visions or the solid reputation that the business owner has built. A social media training program is vital to success as it will ensure that the content is consistent with the overall strategy and with the goals of the company. It will also help educate all employees on the benefits of social media and how they can participate.

T is for Team
Social learning, in which teams share information informally, allows co-workers to tap into their collective skills and knowledge. This type of learning often happens at the proverbial water cooler but as geographically dispersed work teams become more common, informal social learning has become more difficult.

Businesses can compensate for this by using social media to connect people and facilitate the exchange of knowledge. Social tools can be formalized through internal blogs or wikis, or they can be informal, such as the case with screen sharing. Video sharing is an excellent way for people in different locations to get to know each other as they demonstrate a technique or process. Video recordings can allow multiple persons to benefit from a single interaction. By moderating some of these social tools, the training process then reflects shared knowledge and company best practices.

T is for Technique
The best social media techniques are based upon the understanding that itís about building relationships Ė by listening to consumers and engaging in conversation with them. Building authentic relationships means that you should interact with people on a personal level and not speak to them as a brand. You should recognize that building relationships takes time. Start small by targeting your strongest supporters who are the most passionate about your business or cause. Be prepared to adjust your approach if needed based on the feedback you receive.

T is for Take-Away
When implemented properly, social media can have a positive impact on the bottom line, but it can do more than just boost your profits. Social media can help increase brand visibility, which will attract new customers. This sets the stage for incoming leads and closing sales. Once youíve landed the sale, social media can also improve customer loyalty by establishing a personal connection between the customer and your business. As you build a community, youíll find that you may spend more time interacting and less time selling. Perhaps one of the most important benefits of social media is the insight it gives you into the mind of the consumer. Itís one of the best ways to know what people think about your company, your brand, and its products or services.

Building Your Brand Socially
With the ever-increasing number of social media users, social media gives you the opportunity to tap into a large audience and give your brand a personality that customers can relate to. Social networks bring your business to life Ė they represent powerful tools that can connect you directly with customers. When used properly, your social media efforts can create brand evangelists and powerful advocates for your company. An effective social media strategy can provide the T.L.C. that your small business needs to grow and flourish.

The University of Notre Dame, in partnership with University Alliance, has provided this article. The University of Notre Dame offers online business classes and a variety of executive certificates, including leadership and management, business administration, and negotiations. To find out additional information about the courses offered please visit University of Notre Dame Online Education