By Beth Wond, Commercial Director at Aigua Media, a publishing company which look after a group of 11 blogs including Catwalk Queen, Shoewawa, OSOYOU and OSOGLAM.

Working in online media, Wond has breadth of experience in dealing with Social Media, and seeing the effects of effective campaigning. Here she gives her thoughts on the basics of how to implement social media campaigning and the benefits that a well planned and well implicated social media campaign can have:

Generating leads with social media

The great benefit of social media is that it’s easy to see how much direct traffic is being sent to your site and it also provides a great tool with which to build brand equity and repeat business. Integrating your site with Facebook Connect for easy login’s and “like” buttons for products is great way to engage new potential purchasers.

Offers and promotions that work offline are just as likely to work within a social media environment but you can do it with a twist. Making offers more instant and time sensitive can be enticing and easily executed. However do ensure you’re transparent and genuine as anything that comes across too “salesy” will drive a community to despair, they’ll switch off instantly.

Monitoring the conversations people are having on your products, brands or services using tools such as Google Alerts, Facebook and downloads such as TweetDeck and HootSuite is also always important as it gives instant insight into what’s being said about you. Managing your social media channels is then one way of creating a very positive brand image; responding quickly in a helpful and polite manner to any customer enquiry promotes the perception of your brand as aware and caring – the last thing that you want is customer’s comments and questions being left unanswered because nobody has been paying attention to the social media channels for a few days.

How to spot bad a SEO service/consultant

I always check how well the company or SEO consultancy actually appears in search. It’s amazing how many agencies profess to be experts in the field yet don’t actually keep their own sites in order with current best practices.

Social media fixes

Social Media needs to be integral in every campaign and not a separate extension. According to e-consultancies Social Media & Online PR report (2010), 40% of companies say they “have experimented with social media but not done anything with it”. There is no point setting up a Facebook Fan Page simply because everyone else has one. If you really want social media to work for you and create engaging and active leads, you must spend time and resources managing it.

However, social media management need not be placed solely in the realm of a third party agency or new department. Ideally this would be an area of responsibility for your existing teams, be it sales, marketing, press or customer services. A good approach could be to bring an experienced social media strategist in to assess areas of opportunity within your company and train the existing personnel.

Twitter mistakes

Many companies still consider Twitter as a low priority and therefore it may not be suitably placed within company policies, procedures or boundaries; – for some budget managers, the Twitter phenomenon may not be something they currently understand! Lack of appropriate procedures can lead to a cross-over between work and personal accounts and grey areas between whether communication stems from the user or the company. This can lead to personal comments that do necessarily fit the company objectives.

Social media engagement on platforms such as Twitter can become very personal, and the placement and management of a suitable brand representative is a vital part of any social media strategy; be aware if procedures are not in place when a known social media representative leaves the company, followers which have been carefully built up and maintained over time may leave with them. A recent example of the importance of managing the tie in between company representation and personal social media, and how not to do it can be seen with the recent movement of Laura Kuenssberg from as her role as BBC’s Chief Political Correspondent to Business Editor at ITV. As a BBC correspondent her profile had approximately 59,000 followers, with her movement these followers will ‘fall of the radar’ for the BBC, although they might be following other BBC profiles. Take a look at this blog for more insight – http://wallblog.co.uk/2011/07/25/how-the-bbc-lost-60000-twitter-followers/

How much time should you spend on social media?

Many companies consider social media to be a free tool and often leave it to be maintained by interns or less experienced employees. It can be perceived to be something a company needs to do to simply because everyone else is. However social media only really offers an effective platform or tool when a lot of time and investment is given to establishing, fully engaging and then maintaining your community. Your social media campaigns will only ever be as good as the people and amount of time you allocate to them.

If managed properly they can provide excellent interest in your product or services and important feedback on your company. In turn this can save a lot of money in the long run on customer acquisition, focus group studies and even product development.

Because of the specific nature of social media there is no right answer to the question ‘how long should I commit to social media?’ Brands need to be aware of the social media arena and the discussions that it is appropriate and important for them to engage in, and plan their strategies accordingly. Trying to commit to a social media strategy without being aware of the forum within which the discussions take place is like trying to plan a journey route without a map.

About The Author

Aigua Media Group is a network of the UKs top fashion blogs and retail sites including sites such as CATWALK QUEEN, SHOEWAWA, THE BAG LADY, OSOYOU and OSOGLAM.
For more information regarding Aigua Media please contact Heather Swaine – Tel: 020 7467 9405 Email: heather.swaine@edencancan.com or James McNicholas – Tel: 020 7467 9417 Email: james.mcnicholas@edencancan.com