I predict companies who don’t have social media management platforms will be like companies today who don’t have a telephone system.
Yesterday we talked about how HootSuite has acquired Seesmic to reach even more business customers. We also got a chance to talk with Ryan Holmes, CEO of HootSuite, about his thoughts about where social media is going, how its going to impact businesses, and what small business owners can do to be prepared.
1. What tips can you give small business owners looking to build their social following?
Dave Olson, HootSuite’s VP of Community, put together the following social media tips for small business users looking to build their social following:
· When it comes to social media strategy, amplification is key. Make sure you tap the right channels during an optimal time of day. For example, restaurants may benefit from Tweeting daily specials at lunch time. Timing is crucial! The best time to send messages is on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Monday is a catch up day and Friday is too close to the weekend, so try your best to avoid those days. Also, you will get the most traffic by scheduling your messaging according to Eastern Standard Time.
· Social messaging should be tailored to each audience: short, succinct and catchy messages are appropriate for Twitter, longer, more detailed posts work for Facebook and Google+.
· Target based on geo-target locations. If you have have customers in different regions of the world, geo-target your messages so they’re only available to users in a specific location. You can also target and filter searches by language, connecting you to the international and multilingual communities.
Crafting the perfect social media message:
· Track everything. Everything should be trackable, allowing you to determine best networks and best messaging practices.
· Messages should have a gentle call to action.
· Treat your audience with intelligence, before you start sending out messages, research the industry you’re targeting. Come up with a vocabulary sheet to find the hashtags and calls to action that are going to appeal to them.
2. The world of social marketing is constantly changing. How do you stay on top of it all? What should business owners read and do?
I’ve always been a hands-on learner, encouraging me to stay hands on with what’s going on around me. Whether I’m reading about the social media and tech industry or not – it’s all important in keeping up to speed in this fast-paced environment. One of the most effective ways I’ve been able to do this is by eating your own dog food, meaning I use our HootSuite dashboard to listen and engage with the world’s social media users around news, trends, stats and more. I’ve found this the best way to keep on top of emerging technology. I wouldn’t say there’s necessarily a requirement of industry reading needed to stay up to date – but find that for me, daily reading is most effective.
3. There’s been a lot of change over at Twitter lately. Any predictions about how we’ll be using Twitter in the future? What role do you envision for HootSuite in that ecosystem?
5 years from now, who knows. Social media will be everywhere. Today, it’s emerged as the go-to communication channel for many – disrupting traditional communication methods like email or the telephone, and modernizing technology investments in areas such as CRM and cloud-based platforms. 1 year from now, I predict companies who don’t have social media management platforms will be like companies today who don’t have a telephone system. We’ll use the next 5 years helping spread HootSuite across the globe, and are busy working with a variety of partners, agencies, and brands to make this happen.
The industry is constantly on the move. Its been a really exciting year for us, having reached close to 5 million global user signups to date. We’ve spent this year focusing on how we can make social media easier and more collaborative in a team setting across businesses, and have launched HootSuite Teams functionality to meet these needs. We’re also bullish on analytics, and have implemented a variety of measurement tools like Adobe Genesis, Google Analytics, and Facebook Insights, to help our users understand the ROI and demographics surrounding their efforts.