The formula of integration, interest, and interaction.
Let's be honest, if you're in business the only reason you really want to use social media networking is to increase your sales. I'm pretty sure you don't care about your wife's fifth cousin removed who just went to Disney World and posted 500 pictures of her vacation, which are now populating your business page. There is a simple formula you can implement to better utilize your various socialmedia networks and see results immediately.
I call it my 3 I Formula for Social Business Networking.
The first I stands for Integration. Your primary goal should be integrating all of your social networks with your corporate website. Obviously, this is where all your products or services are presented in a professional business manner.
The second I stands for interest. You need to use an interest targeting strategy and create content or promotions that speak specifically to segments of your fan base and followers.
For instance, the government promotes specific health concerns each month (http://www.healthfinder.gov/nho/nho.asp). February is American Heart Month sponsored by the American Heart Association as well as National Children's Dental Health Month sponsored by the American Dental Association. If you're a hospital or doctor you could piggy back off their marketing efforts and create posts specific to these issues and have them link to that specific page on your website. If you manufacture any type of product you can create a contest on your socials that link back to your website for fulfillment. This is where you can utilize your traditional marketing skill sets and become a bit more creative.
Interest builds the bridge to my third I which stands for interaction.
Once you have integrated your social networks with your website, your goal is to obtain the name and contact information of your friends and followers. For this you'll need to give them an incentive. It could be to register for a seminar, enter a contest or sweepstakes, receive a promotional item or anything that will be relevant and support their interest.
You know, I'm really confused why so many communication managers are mystified by the power of social media networking. In fact, many corporations are creating new social media specialist jobs everyday. They seem to be under the misconception that they need to hire people with specialized social media talents or skill sets.
This of course, is ridiculous. It's all about the content, which public relations professionals have been creating for their clients since the beginning of marketing.
Social media networking is just another communication channel for distributing content. Don't over-think this sub-tactic. Trust your own marketing knowledge and implement my basic 3 I social business networking formula of integration, interest and interactive. If you do, I guarantee you'll demystify this newest marketing phenomenon and immediately begin seeing measurable results.