“Social media is not a trend — it’s the way your customers are communicating,” said Ford Saeks, president and CEO of Prime Concepts Group, to IFA 2011 Annual Convention attendees at his standing-room-only presentation “IFA Technology Summit: Social Media — Ignore it at Your Own Peril.”
“Even if you haven’t embraced social media yet, your brand has a social media presence,” he said, because franchisees, customers and more are talking about you online.
Don’t be afraid or intimidated by the technological aspects of social media, Saeks explained, and remember that it’s all about communicating, which is something nontechnical and familiar.
The communications that a brand has with the world begin with the website, said Saeks. “Your website equals social proof … it has to be congruent with your message and the flavor of your business,” as it’s where your social media efforts begin.
In other words, you don’t want to have a strictly serious website representing a light and fun brand. You will stop engagement there because it won’t seem genuine and will put people off. Your website, said Saeks, needs a few key elements:
- A strong and appealing visual design
- Good, solid sales copy
- Design and copy that lead to solid SEO
- Usability for visitors
- A call to action
When you make that call to action, don’t just make it something generic such as “click here for more information.” Make it interesting and interactive. Be creative.
If you have a blog — and at this point, you certainly should — said Saeks, you need to have it on your website, not housed on another site. You also need to be updating your blog on a regular basis: ideally at least once a week, and no less than once a month.
Don’t just let one person control the blog and its content; franchiser blogs will have better content if they solicit ideas from others at headquarters as well as from franchisees.
Image credit: asiseeit, via iStockphoto