What does social media mean to you?

For me it means creating effective interactive campaigns between businesses and consumers. To accomplish such conversations in a self-driven market, you must be innovative. So what exactly does innovation mean and how is it applied in social media marketing? Let’s find out!

First let’s define innovation: “Innovation is the application of new solutions that meet new requirements, inarticulate needs, or existing market needs. This is accomplished through more effective products, processes, services, technologies, or ideas that are readily available to markets, governments and society.” (Wikipedia’s definition of innovation)

If you’re not thinking about this term in regard to social media, then something is wrong. Why would innovation be important to your social campaign? First and foremost, because change happens so fast in the social world. If you’re not keeping up with the curve and trying new ideas or services, you’re missing the point. There is no room to be less than innovative, and the time to jump in is RIGHT NOW.

Stop doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results. I’m sure we have all heard this before, but seriously, STOP! It’s worth it to step back from the day-to-day posting and shouting at people to find new ways of interacting and engaging. With all that is possible on social platforms it’s easy to get involved and get people excited. People are marketing for themselves and it’s important to listen to what they are saying and sharing.

As a marketer, I listen to what my friends and family are interested in, how they use social networks, and how they engage. Also as a marketer, I listen to the client and what they want. First I have to find out who the client is, what they are about, and why they are doing what they are doing. I follow their audience, and then steer them in the correct direction. This takes time, and patience is an obvious virtue in this process. No client, regardless of whether you’re working with the same industry over and over again, is alike, and each social campaign needs to be strategically planned.

Social media is something every company can use to their benefit. I realize it’s a full-time job (hence the reason I’m a Social Media Manager), but if you stick to a few appropriate platforms that make the most sense for your audience, you can reach more people than you ever thought possible–as long as you have the patience, of course.

4 Ways to be Innovative in Social Media

Follow these tips to inject a little innovation into your social strategies:

1. Forget the social media handbook.

What you thought worked yesterday won’t always work tomorrow. Think outside the box. I went away to visit my family for one week last month and when I came back #hashtags were relevant on Facebook. All of the content I had already written and had scheduled to go out was irrelevant to the trending conversations that were happening in real time. Once you think you have it figured out, you haven’t. It’s not a cut-and-dry industry.

2. Hold regular team discussions.

Since the above is true, regular team meetings for new collaboration and strategizing are a must. Get together with your social media team and brainstorm ideas. Creativity happens in groups and the best way to have success with a campaign is putting the building blocks together with other people.

3. Don’t be afraid of brainstorming sessions.

Some people view brainstorming and think-tank style meetings as a waste of time because the don’t necessarily produce something “tangible.” But brainstorming sessions bring out the best ideas that can change the course of your campaigns from something mediocre or just “regular” to something new, exciting, and effective. If you come up with 10 ideas and only use 3 of them, pocket the others. You may be able to use them to build bigger and better campaigns in the future. I like to call it the “Documentation Station.”

4. Use some time for internal team-building activities.

It’s great to get together and discuss what’s good for the client, but what about what’s good for your internal team that works together? Team members should get the opportunity to learn more about one another and how they can work together. Innovative ideas might start sparking after a great team-building exercise. These activities bring people closer together, especially when it’s done in a happy and exciting atmosphere.

This is all pretty much social media 101, so in conclusion, social media isn’t about being complacent; it’s an extremely stimulating field–at times overwhelming with all the new gidgets and gadgets that are ever changing and brand new.

That’s where innovation comes in. Play around with new applications and platforms, find out what works and what doesn’t. Your clients will be happy that your team is, at the least, diving into their business and being innovative.

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