Keep your eyes on the prize
Martina Dalla Vecchia, you offer a Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS) in Social Media, Conversion Management and Web Analysis. What skills do your students gain from the course?
MDV: They can perform all the duties carried out by social media managers and are capable of measuring the effectiveness of social media campaigns. They use a social media framework to establish a strategy, guidelines and a concept, which they then implement and monitor. Their area of responsibility includes the preparation of a fundamental strategic direction for the company's social media presence, which managers can then use to make informed decisions. There are several important questions that need to be taken into account: How is the company perceived by customers? How does the company rate compared to its competitors? Which campaigns were successful? And how can campaigns be fine-tuned?
The social media world is constantly changing. New networks and platforms are being set up; some have what it takes to survive, while others disappear or are replaced by newcomers. It's not easy to determine what will last and which platforms are worth investing in. As a professional, how do you stay on top of things? And how do prospective social media managers stay up to date these days?
MDV: The best way to stay up to date is via Twitter and newsletters. I also recommend following the experts of the respective platforms. You can learn a lot from their posts and recommended links. I think it's incredibly important that my CAS students know from the outset where they can access information about the latest trends and developments.
Most companies – particularly SMEs – end up stretching their resources to the limit when they try to maintain a presence on too many social media networks. What would you suggest in such instances?
MDV: Companies need to carefully consider what they want to achieve with social media. Who are they trying to reach via Facebook, Twitter or XING? If the aim is to increase brand recognition, you have to spread the company name more widely. If you want to interact with your customers, you need to go deeper. To test your theories and gain some sense of clarity, you should test one platform for half a year and then check whether it is helping you reach your goals. This doesn't require a great deal of investment, but it will enable you to gather data and make more informed decisions. It takes a while for a company to be noticed on social media networks. The most important thing is to keep your eyes on the prize! Don't spread yourself too thin.
What is the bare minimum when it comes to social media?
- A customer-oriented website with a clear call to action. You should always keep in mind what the customer wants and think about whether the homepage clearly enables them to find what they're looking for quickly. The website should be easy to find and accessible on all mobile devices. Visibility is vital.
- On Facebook, you should have a company profile with contact details, basic information and a link to the website.
- Thirdly, it's worth creating a company page on XING (also with the most important information and a link to the website), and
- finally, you should set up your own YouTube channel. Video content has a bright future and can substantially boost your search machine ranking.
Interview: Nathalie Baumann