TRENDS: Social Media – still a great way to engage your audience

Canadian precious metals mining company (and SSC client) NovaGold Resources, Inc is challenging many people’s negative preconceived notions of what the mining industry is all about.  In an industry that is marred by a long history of environmental and human rights atrocities, NovaGold is a great example of a firm that has embraced a triple bottom line ethos on its way to becoming a $2 billion company. 

We’re giving NovaGold a shoutout today not only because we think Canadians are awesome (and they just released a really impressive sustainability report!), but also because the company maintains a fantastic social media presence.

We know…social media is so 2003.  Everyone from Dan Brown to the RNC to Noam Chomsky to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to SSC uses the multifarious networking sites to communicate with their stakeholders.  Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Bebo, Flickr, Foursquare…the list goes on and on, and frankly it’s no longer news when someone declares themselves “the next MySpace.” 

There are still opportunities, however, for growing companies to reach out to potential clients, networks, suppliers, and communities through these sites.  And you don’t need an MBA student to draw up a 25-page social networking business plan to be good at it. 

As part of our June education month, here are a few quick tips to keep your social networking endeavors from drowning in a sea of over-stimulated, media weary, bleary eyed consumers:  

  • Make sure you know what you’re trying to get out of your media presence.   Are you trying to build your brand?  Establish a personality?  Develop and expand your network?  Defining your objectives will enable you to cater Facebook/Twitter/Whatever to your target audience.  Try to see things from their perspective – marketing 101 I know, but it can be easy to get so bogged down in your message that you forget to shape it for its recipients. 
  • Value your network – if they’re over the age of 16, chances are they want more out of you than just increasing their number of “friends.”  Keep them involved, and they’ll want to return the favor.  Links, references, compliments, and commentary all will enhance your network value.
  • Be active – know your message and think critically about pertinent issues relating to it.  The primary goal of any social media program should always be to drive revenue and broaden your client base, but don’t forget to use these outlets as a means of differentiation.  If you effectively demonstrate your strengths, whether they are cost, product quality, social awareness, or customer service, business will follow.
  • Finally, be consistent!  We try to have the same voice throughout our social networking outlets, website, and publications.  Your image is more than your product and CRM; a steady, reliable communication style is just as, if not more important!

By the way, if you want to see some more examples of corporate Facebook pages that make our inner teenager want to get out of bed before noon, check out this awesome top 10 list.