Remember back in the day when you were in need of a product or service, what did you do?  If you were like me, you got out that nasty smelling phonebook or searched online for a phone number. No ratings or photos.  You just went on the strength of the name.  Once in awhile, you’d call a couple places and actually have to talk to people –  on the phone!

In past few years with the avalanche of social media, customers have changed the way they do business, with millennials leading the charge.  No longer do they have to pull out those dusty old phone books or make awkward phone calls.  Now they just go straight to Google and social media.

When Pew Research Center began tracking social media adoption in 2005, just 5% of American adults used at least one of these platforms. By 2011 that share had risen to half of all Americans, and today 69% of the public uses some type of social media.

More and more, customers don’t even go off the name.  Instead, they browse social media.  Here is what they are asking:  Did they complete their Facebook Page?  Do they have photos, hours & reviews?  Do they post or just repost on Twitter and are they following more people than are following them? How many photos do they share a week?  Do they have SnapChat or Instagram?  What are people saying about this company?

Not only do you need an awesome product/service & customer experience, but now you need to have a great social media presence to share your story.  As an executive, you’re probably feeling a little overwhelmed.  How do I have time to stay on top of social media and remain relevant? Remember, social media is part of your overall marketing communications strategy and requires full-time attention.

Here are a few tips for running a social media channel for your organization.

#1.  Complete your profile. A lot of companies just signup for social media and forget to fill out the profile.  Yes, you need more than just a name.  All social media platforms ask for a short description of your company; make it short and to the point.  Remember a key description can properly position your company and attract the right audience.  Proofread and pay attention to details.

#2.  Add ways to connect with your business.  This should be self-explanatory, but a lot of companies forget to add a phone number and an email.  Don’t expect your customers will search again.  They’ll just go on with their day.  Also, double check the phone number and email!  Don’t assume they work.  Make sure all the numbers and letters are there and click for yourself.  Lastly, remember to check your email.  Customers will be emailing you.

#3.  Share interesting photos. Customers want to see what you’re about – Your culture, your people, your product/service in action and customer stories.  Snap a photo or two or twenty!  When sharing on Facebook remember to add the photos to an album and a clear description of what’s in the photo.  Adding to Instagram, #hashtags are key. Research hashtags & what’s trending.  Don’t share pixelated or oddly cropped photos.  And keep it relevant.

#4.  Post relevant content.  Keep your audience engaged. Share your company’s opinions on what is going on in your industry & how it is affecting your company.  Give a little insight on your own company; how you are giving back, your story or even employee events.  Gary Vaynerchuk, the author of “Jab Jab Right Hook,” discusses how companies should continually give before asking for anything. Make sure when posting or sharing on any social media to use relevant content targeted to your sweet spot audience(s) and specific personas.  Don’t overshare to the point that people get turned off!

#5.  Engage your audience.  You did all of the above and now you are starting getting to get followers, likes & comments.  What do you do?  You engage your customers!  Receive a follow on Twitter; thank them for the follow.  Receive a comment on a post and/or photo;  like it and comment back.  Have a conversation with your followers.   Thank your followers every couple months for helping support company.  People love being thanked.  Remember to stay up to date and make sure you’re monitoring with analytics.

Social media is growing, evolving and changing at an ever-increasing pace.  It can be a great tool to help your company grow when used properly.  Good luck!