As social networking has soared to become the largest voluntary behaviour this side of teeth brushing, the money guys have shown up on the scene – right on cue. By all accounts, social media is a gold rush, with companies and consultants of all sizes and descriptions jockeying for a piece of a pie estimated to be at over R30 billion.
Using social media for marketing can enable businesses looking to further their reach to more customers. Your customers are interacting with brands through social media. Therefore, having a strong social media presence on the web is the key to tap into their interest. If implemented correctly, marketing with social media can bring remarkable success to your business. Traditional marketing strategies are usually very general. They work on the assumption that if you cast a big enough net, you will land at least a few fish. While there is some logic to this, it is also not very cost effective. You end up spending lots of money on broad, sweeping advertising campaigns that only manage to reach a handful of your targeted audience. One of the great things about social media is that you are able to focus the bulk of your efforts on those who actually have an interest in your company.
SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING 101 GUIDE
Start With a Plan
Before you begin consider your business’ goals. Starting a social media marketing campaign without a plan in mind is like wandering through a forest without a map. It’s a daft move, and you’ll only end up lost. Create a social media marketing plan and brainstorm about your goals: what are you hoping to achieve? Who is your target audience? Where would your target audience hang out and how would they use social media? What message do you want to send to your audience with social media marketing?
Content is King
If you spend all your time on social media directly promoting your products and services, people will stop listening. You need to add value to the conversation. Focus less on conversions and more on creating amazing content and developing relationships. In time, those people will become a powerful catalyst for word-of-mouth marketing for your business. Create a variety of content by implementing social media images, videos, and infographics in addition to classic text based content.
Measure Success with Analytics
You can’t determine the success of your social media marketing strategies without tracking data. Google Analytics can be used as a great social media marketing tool that will help you measure your triumphant social media marketing techniques, as well as determine which strategies are better off
abandoned. Attach tracking tags to your social media marketing campaigns so that you can properly monitor them. With social media, everything is trackable. When your marketing budget is being spent on more traditional strategies (like print or billboards) you really have no idea what that’s doing for your business. But with social media, you know what every cent has been able to generate.
KNOW YOUR PLATFORM
Facebook’s casual, friendly environment requires an active social media marketing strategy that begins with creating a Facebook Business Fan Page. You will want to pay careful attention to layout, as the visual component is a key aspect of the Facebook experience. Social media marketing for business pages revolves around furthering your conversation with audiences by posting industry-related articles, images, videos, etc.
Facebook is a place people go to relax and chat with friends, so keep your tone light and friendly. At Expand a Sign, we’ve just held a competition for someone to win CanvEx wall canvas worth R5000. People love the opportunity to win, and it’s a fun and fairly effortless way to encourage people to like the page and share content, without spending much of the Marketing budget.
Twitter is the social media marketing tool that lets you broadcast your updates across the web. Follow tweeters in your industry or related fields, and you should gain a steady stream of followers in return. Be sure to retweet when a customer has something nice to say about you, and don’t forget answer people’s questions when possible. Expand a Sign loves reading positive feedback from customers about our service and products, and are always sure to retweet these words of affirmation.
LinkedIn is one of the more professional social media marketing sites. LinkedIn Groups is a great venue for entering into a professional dialogue with people in similar industries and provides a place to share content with like-minded individuals. Encourage customers or clients to give your business a recommendation on your LinkedIn profile. Recommendations makes your business appear more credible and reliable for new customers. Also browse the Questions section of LinkedIn; providing answers helps you get established and earns trust.
YouTube is the number one place for creating video content, which can be an incredibly powerful social media marketing tool. Many businesses try to create video content with the aim of having their video go viral, but in reality those chances are pretty slim. Instead, focus on creating useful, instructive “how-to” videos. At Expand a Sign, we have filmed and uploaded set up videos for all of our branding products, and encourage our customers to view these videos if they are unsure how to install their branding.
Blogging is a great social media marketing tool that lets you share a wide array of information and content with readers. Your company blog can also serve as your social media marketing blog, in which you blog about your recent social media efforts, promotions, competitions, and events.
The longer you wait, the more you have to lose. Social media marketing, when done correctly, can lead to more customers, more traffic, and more conversions. And it’s here to stay.