What Is Social Media Marketing?
It’s a form of internet marketing that involves sharing
content on social media networks.
Social media marketing consists reaching out to prospects and customers that you might not come in contact with in other marketing formats. It involves posting text, images, and videos that catch the audience’s attention and lead them to becoming customers/clients.
Why do social media marketing?
Social media is crucial to any company’s digital marketing strategy, since your customers are already involved in social media and that’s the place for you to find them.
Social platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter can drive leads and sales, in addition to creating customers who look forward to following you and your brand. These customers spend a huge amount of time each day on social media, and the marketing approaches that appeal to them are not the same as twenty years ago.
Here are some questions and answers that will help you in getting into social media marketing:
Do some research and discover what it is you hope to accomplish in social media. Don’t just happen into social media marketing without considering your goals, your budget, or where your customers are likely to be found—on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram or Twitter? You need to know what you want them to do—to buy your product/services, give you a recommendation, or just be a potential customer. You need to know how and where you are going to get the message to them and how to get them to come your way.
Create a budget.
Decide on the media you want to use to achieve your business goals and objectives, and make a list of the tools you need—social media monitoring, email marketing, and CRM. Include the services you are going to outsource—copy writing, graphic design, or video production and advertising. Then project an annual budget of what you expect to spend. Since social media platforms are one of the most important forms of marketing and it can be costly, you need to budget accurately. That takes research, too.
How Do I Decide What Content to Use?
Quality is the key!
High quality content will help you find the right customers and it’s relatively inexpensive to implement. Social media marketing provides the perfect places for sharing your site and blog content with readers. Blogs and articles need to have depth and breadth to the material they cover. Really good content will build followers. Blogs and articles, as a general rule, need to run to about 2,000 words.
Fun and exciting is a key!
People tend to respond to fun videos, excellent imagery, and interesting podcasts. If all you share is text, your media pages won’t be too exciting and won’t attract as well as when you add images, graphics, and videos.
Context is another key!
Social media adds personality to your brand. Take into account the context of the situation and how it fits with your company voice. Should your voice be serious, educational, highly detailed, funny, or something else? What will your ideal customer want and expect?
Share links for greater leverage.
Another way to build followers is to share links to great blogs and articles other than those written by you—something of great interest to your audience. It’s a way to add trust and reliability to your relationships.
Frequent and timely posting makes for success.
In addition to having great content, it has to be presented effectively—at the right time and with new, updated material presented often. This keeps the relationship a working one.
Your goals will reflect what your business/service needs to accomplish at this point in time. What are you hoping social media advertising will do for you? Are you simply trying to increase brand awareness, or reduce marketing costs? Are you trying to contact current customers, make new customers, or both? You can’t move forward effectively without defining your goals
Next, set your marketing objectives.
You need parameters that define whether your goals are being achieved. You need objectives to help you determine how to get from the goal to the successful achievement of that goal. Measurement is the key to knowing whether or not you succeed. Setting an objective of increasing leads by 30% is measurable and specific, but then you need to set a time limit for achieving this objective as well. Adding a timeframe to your objective is imperative.
Create a community for your audience.
Social media is all about being social. Be friendly, add humor, and emotion. Be human and let your audience see that you relate to them and that they can relate to you. You can also make your communications interactive by asking questions and sharing important information about other subjects—not just about your product/service. Be sure to get their opinions. Try liking and sharing some of your audience’s posts. All of this will help build a loyal fan base.
How Do I Choose Which Channels to Use?
Do your research!
Again, research is the key. While many business people create accounts on every popular social network, they are often wasting their time and money on at least some of their choices.
Use your ideal customer analysis to determine which platforms will work best for you. If your customers spend most of their time on one specific network, that’s where you need to be.
Each Social Media Site Calls for a Different Approach to Marketing.
Here is a brief summary of some of the most popular ones:
Facebook has a casual, friendly atmosphere calling for an approach that reflects this attitude. The visual component is a key aspect, so pay attention to the layout. Keep the tone light and friendly, since people go there to visit with friends and relax.
Google originally was a competitor with Facebook, but it now has more of a niche audience. You can share photos, videos, and links. You can also segment your followers into smaller groups with Google+ circles, enabling you to share information with some followers and not with others. You can also host video conferences with Hangouts—for instance if you have a bakery, you could demonstrate how to bake an unusual type of bread for your audience. And, Google+ Communities will let you listen to you follower’s feedback, making social media a truly social experience.
Twitter lets you broadcast updates across the web, and followers can check out their own fields of interest. You can mix up your official tweets with discounts, specials, and news. You need to be sure to answer any tweets you receive when a customer says something nice about you. And, be sure to answer any customer questions. You build your following by dialoging with people.
LinkedIn is considered to be one of the more professional social media sites, and it’s a great place for a professional dialogue with people in similar professions and industries. Be sure to checkout the Questions section of LinkedIn where you can answer the questions and establish yourself as a thought leader in the industry.
LinkedIn is also noted for being a great place to post jobs and networking. It specializes in recommendations, so encourage your customers to give you a recommendation on your profile.
YouTube, the number one place for sharing videos, can also be a great social media marketing site. One popular goal is to create instructive “how-to” videos that appeal to your ideal customers when they go searching for help. These videos are also ranked on the video search results of Google, and can be great ways of getting new customers.
Pinterest has become one of the fastest growing sites for social media marketing to women. Its image-centered platform is ideal for retail, allowing businesses to showcase their product and at the same time create brand personality with its pinboards.