Traditional marketing uses one-way communication to reach customers. Print advertising, media and radio are just a few fundamental old school methods that simply cannot stand on their own today effectively. The beauty of online social media is that businesses can create a one-to-one relationship giving the customer an immediate voice with real time communication. Yet, how do you communicate with fans or followers in a strategic way that will ignite this two-way communication? After much trial and error, social media influencers have found the best way to communicate is to follow the Three E’s of social media:

Educate, Entertain and Engage….

If your social media posts/tweets/photos are NOT doing at least one of the three E’s then you could risk loosing your fans as they turn the channel to someone who does capture their interest. Or even worse, unlike or delete your communication all together. To be honest, you may be wasting your time. Building a social fan base is a long-term plan. You will have short-term success but if you are not committed long-term than you will be swimming up stream in your social media efforts.

Social is about building relationships. Whether on or off-line most relationships take time to develop. How many friends won you over the first time you met them, or vice-versa? One of the biggest mistakes made by brands is that they are not patient when using Social Media, and walk-away from the medium before they have time to reap the rewards of their labor.

When posting daily try to find interesting facts, information about your products or service that will educate them on how they can better use your product, shortcuts to getting better results or simply some interesting facts about your company they didn’t know. Make it interesting, funny and try to ask questions of your viewers to incent them to respond? Open-ended questions get fans invested in your business and connected to other fans.

Here’s a sample educational post from one of our restaurant clients: Did you know that best restaurant buys only local, organic ingredients? And that means your family is eating the healthiest food with the most nutrition available all while supporting local businesses.

Let me Entertain you… using video, photos, sayings or quotes, give your page a personality and keep viewers on their toes. Sometimes the most unexpected posts get the most feedback. Let them know you want to communicate and establish a relationship with each and every one of them. You’ll know soon enough who your brand ambassadors are by how many shares, likes or comments about you are made on their individual pages. And when a fan posts something positive make sure to respond directly and like their comment.

And most importantly, Engage your audience. Hold contests regarding facts and info about your products. Get everyone involved with catchy trivia contests. Ask them for new product ideas, hold a recipe contest, boost your fans numbers by calling out to everyone to tell family and friends with a random prize for hitting 1000 likes, etc.

One of our clients was able to draw a lot of attention by hosting a “Come up with a new gelato flavor” contest. Fans posted immediately and shared the contest with their friends and family. The number of people talking about this spiked dramatically. Be creative, think outside the box.

The best way to balance traditional media and social media is first and foremost by having a strategic plan where you set goals and outcomes. Track your activity and monitor your success and failures. Navigating online is part using successful tactics and part trial and error. You can always refine your strategy mid-stream.
But whatever you do, stay the course and be committed to long-term success.