The majority of companies simply cannot keep up with the growth of social media. Many scratch their heads and just don’t “get” what it’s all about. They have no strategy, they post ads the same as they do offline, and are not consistent in their online marketing efforts.
And, *gasp*, some don’t even use this form of marketing at all! I hope this isn’t YOU! Time to stomp your foot on the gas pedal and slap it into high gear if you are lagging behind in this area.
Because social media marketing is not optional.
A website alone won’t bring in enough traffic. Build it and they will come doesn’t necessarily work on the internet. You must get involved on social sites, too, where your target audience is found and reach out to them.
There are over 7 million small, medium and large-sized companies in the U.S. alone dealing with major changes in how they need to bring attention to their products and services on the internet. You, or someone representing you and/or your company, must make authentic connections with potential customers. Build trusting relationships… share useful, interesting, or entertaining information. It really is imperative to the online sales process.
The problem is that most of these companies are doing it all wrong. They quickly whip up a Facebook page or Twitter account and proceed to pump out advertising. BAD!
If you want social media marketing to actually work, it needs to be… (drumroll, please) SOCIAL.
That means communicating with people on the internet. Sharing knowledge. Asking a question to followers and commenting on their responses. Giving helpful tips. Making a statement related to your product/service (but NOT using in-the-face advertising!) and watching for comments to roll in. Then reply.
When most companies hear this is how to do successful social media marketing, they throw up their hands in despair. To have real conversations with customers and prospects that is NOT all about their own business and is NOT all about their own products or services sounds plain crazy to most companies.
Sales talk is what businesses are familiar with. And people will run screaming through the night (and day) AWAY from you if it’s obvious you’re trying to sell them something through social media channels. They are there to SOCIALIZE. Not have a stream of ads staring them in their faces.
How do you benefit the most from using social media marketing? First, figure out what your goals are for your business. You can choose several, but it’s best to have one primary goal and not more than 3 secondary goals. Here are some ideas:
- Reach a larger audience of readers, prospects, and customers.
- Build your brand.
- Engage your readers.
- Engage influencers and connectors.
- Increase customer loyalty.
- Drive people to places and events.
- Improve customer service.
- Generate direct sales.
- Show a specific “cause” you support.
Once you have chosen your goals, it’s time to develop a strategy. Decide which social media sites are the best to connect with your target audience. Don’t try to be everywhere because each social media account will then suffer from your lack of participation. You can’t be everywhere all the time.
Try to develop individual campaigns, driven by the business goals. If there are no single campaigns to focus on, that’s fine, but still create a structure – map out an editorial calendar for a month. This will keep your eyes set on the end goal.
And with a glance, you can see ideas about WHAT to post… what to SHARE on the social media sites you’ll concentrate on. It’s easy to waste time online… if you create a list of useful, interesting and entertaining information to share with people, you’ll be more productive.
Here is a tidy way to view the sales funnel with social media marketing:
- Create Useful, Interesting, or Entertaining Content (only 20% promotional though)
- Distribute Your Content on Chosen Social Media Sites (2-3 suggested)
- Interact with Followers (ask, respond, comment, SOCIALIZE)
- Instill Confidence and Trust Grows (“Know, Like, Trust Factor!”)
- Acquire New Subscribers or Customers (sales happen here-woohoo!)
- Keep Your Customers Happy (repeat customers are GOLD!)
Properly handled social media marketing can play a huge part (and should!) in every business’s sales cycle. Sharing quality content and making genuine connections with people can dramatically increase a company’s bottom line.
Do you need help with your social media marketing? Is your stomach twisting into knots just thinking of what the heck to post on Facebook or Twitter? Do you even have a Facebook Page? Do you or someone in your company even have TIME to work the social media aspect for your business?
Let me help you improve your online status. Quality content seriously drives everything towards your final reward: SALES. That would be nice, right?
Gina Marie Long
Web Copywriter, Content Marketer
“Authentic connections equal profits.”