Every Day Is National Social Media Day: What’s in Your Digital Tattoo?

by Anne Deeter Gallaher

July 12, 2017

I remember my first tweets in February 2009. As a professional communicator, I thought confining my ideas to 140 characters was absurd. “This is ridiculous. I don’t get it,” I said in our office. About a week later, I had an ‘a-ha’ moment. Communicating with such immediacy, targeting business messages to specific “friends” and “fans,” bypassing gatekeepers to reach reporters and CEOs, and making social media part of our business goals was a game-changer.

Finding the right social media marketing mix for small business to invest in, as well as understanding what your messages should be on disparate channels can be daunting—to the point of paralyzing for some businesses. But, the opportunities to tell your story, reach new audiences, and attract the attention of the media offers a competitive advantage with bottom-line impact.

To strengthen your business’s digital tattoo and your marketing investment, here are five insights to guide you:

1. Google processes over 3.5 billion searches daily. Whether we ask Alexa, Siri, or enter our own search query, our Page 1 results can win the day and gain a new client. After your website—arguably the most important Director of First Impressions in your marketing quiver—your social media profiles will also appear on Page 1 of Google Search.  Make sure your content is readable, recent, memorable, and moves your customer along in the informing and buying journey.

2. Twitter is your friend. My brother and his friend Ty stopped in my office after visiting a client in Harrisburg. Ty works with a non-profit that was looking for a motivational speaker and role model for disadvantaged teens in Philadelphia. He saw a photo in my office of Colonel Douglas Wheelock, commander of the International Space Station, and was so impressed when I shared all his accomplishments. A Twitter friend since 2010, I was privileged to arrange for Doug to speak at our Salvation Army Civic Event last May. His space walks, contagious enthusiasm for young people and STEM, and positive spirit are inspiring and compelling. “Are you on Twitter?” I asked Ty. “I’ll introduce you right now if you are.” That’s the power of digital immediacy. Although Colonel Wheelock is currently serving as Director for NASA in Star City, Russia, I could immediately make the introduction so they could continue their conversations. Twitter is a source for news, competitive intelligence, trends, and even for emergency preparedness intel.

3. Collect the data. The real power in Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Snapchat are the analytics behind the interactions. Don’t think you have to be IBM or McKinsey to start collecting the data behind your social content. And you don’t need complicated software to spot trends. Define your target audiences and get started. Start small with LinkedIn and see how many people are reacting to your posts, what geography they represent, and what their titles are.

4. Add narrative to the numbers. Data is powerful but it doesn’t tell the whole story. Mark Schaefer wrote a recent blog post on why measuring engagement is wrong. What? Don’t CFOs want to know how many likes, comments, RTs, and shares? Yes, but often individuals come up to me in a store or restaurant and say, “I saw your picture about Nashville. I love watching your son’s career and can’t wait to buy his album when it’s released.” The interesting thing is that this person never “engaged” with my content. They didn’t like my post, or leave a comment on Instagram or Facebook, or share it on LinkedIn. There was no digital engagement to measure, but they read the content and were eagerly awaiting a link to iTunes. Buying something from my post is the ultimate engagement.

5. Reimagine your content to maximize audience reach. It’s creatively and financially expensive to produce organic content. The time to bring ideas to market, set the marketing and digital strategy, and then execute the event or campaign can be very expensive. How can you make the most of your article, op-ed, blog post, event, interview, or new product? In the world of PR now, it’s not enough to broker media and have our clients featured in the news. We prepare them for the interview, accompany them to the station, and create a continuous stream of social content.

To say that social media has transformed our lives is an understatement, but with clear business and communication goals, you can focus on relevant social media platforms and strengthen your digital tattoo.