Social media marketing is a form of marketing that businesses can use to establish, maintain and expand an online presence and reputation.
The key to social media marketing is to build a relationship with your target audience.
This is where many businesses get confused and make the mistake in thinking that social media is a place to sell their product or service. Social media marketing is a process and the very first step in social media marketing is creating engaging and informative content that readers will want to share with their circle of friends i.e. their social network.
The content that you create (your message) will spread as your target audience shares it. That content needs to present you as an authority in your field so that it establishes trust with your audience. A reader will share the content you create if it is informative, well written and gives them something of value. That one reader will then share it with everyone that they know and those people will share it with their friends and on and on. This is what’s meant when you hear that something’s gone ‘viral’.
In the old days before the Internet, this was known as word-of-mouth marketing. Word-of-mouth marketing is still one of, if not the, most powerful forms of marketing out there and it is what social marketing is geared around and what makes it tick.
This is because people always trust their family and friends more than they trust an organisation or business. After all, if your best friend recommends that you go and see a specific movie, you are more likely to go watch it because your friend gains nothing out of referring you and they know what you like and enjoy.
The weight of their word and knowledge of you is greater than a paid actor in an advertisement.
As with most things, there is a right way and a wrong way to use social media marketing. There are a few very common mistakes that marketers make in the social media world, and there are a few best practises that you need to know about.
How to do social media marketing the RIGHT way
1. Make the right first impression:
It is far easier to take your time and make the right first impression than to spend lots of time fixing the wrong one. Remember the basis of this type of marketing is word of mouth. It only takes one dissatisfied or unimpressed customer to ruin an entire marketing plan. For example, one blogger was able to shut down an entire new product line for lingerie store Victoria’s Secret when she expressed her opinion that a certain new piece on sale was ‘overt racism masked behind claims off inspired fashion…. that makes my skin crawl.’ Within the days, the item was withdrawn from sale.
2. Have a unified marketing message:
Social media marketing should not be seen as something separate from the rest of your marketing. It is an integral part of your marketing plan. Every marketing tool you use should drive your business towards the same goal. Yes, you can use social media marketing for branding, but don’t stop there. Don’t let that be all you are using social media for.
3. Social media marketing strategy:
Don’t make the mistake in thinking that you have to use every social media-marketing platform out there. Likewise, don’t use the tools without having a strategy to what you are doing. If you are creating a Facebook group, are you also engaging people in forums and are you creating informative content for sites like YouTube? What is the aim of the social media tools you are using? Are you just trying to get out there? Do you want to introduce a new product? Know exactly why you’re doing social media marketing.
4. Know where your audience is:
There are hundreds and thousands of social media sites out there, all of which have a different audience and serve a different purpose. Go to the sites that your target audience populate. Take the time to do the research to find out where they are. Facebook isn’t the only answer and it is not the right answer for every business.
5. Engage your audience:
Do not sell through social media. Social media marketing is about building your reputation, building relationships with your customers and giving them information they can use and find helpful. If you have a Facebook page, that is not where you sell your services. You post content that provides value and directs them to another source of good content that will direct them to a landing page where you get their name and email address…and then you can start selling to them. Selling is never the first part of any effective social media marketing plan.
6. Sharing too often:
Just as there is email spam, there is social media spam. When you post too often on social networking sites people tend to stop paying attention to what you are saying. It is better to schedule your posts so that your customers look forward and pay attention to what you have to say, not roll their eyes and click right past your post.
7. Reputation management:
Building a strong, well-liked brand using social media marketing can do much more than help sell your products or services. Strong brands with a loyal following cultivated by engaging your followers can help you bounce back from any negative comments or reviews your company has received. It is one of the reasons why global brands like Toyota and US brands like Martha Stewart have bounced back from some really awful press.
If you are new to social media marketing, it is best to start out with just one outlet used by most of your customers. You need to make sure the outlet is appropriate for your business as well. If you offer a service for professionals, social networking sites like LinkedIn are better suited for business, Once you become familiar with how social media works, you can start repurposing your content to other outlets.
Building a strong brand founded on deep-seated relationships is the name of the game. Listen to your customers needs, wants and concerns, and respond to them accordingly. They have to trust you and be willing to back you up should something arise that challenges your good standing. The thing is, people are ten times more likely to buy what you have to offer if they have faith and trust in you. They will also be the first ones to have your back covered when any negativity comes around.
After you get the hang of using social media marketing, it becomes easier and easier to manage your reputation. Not only that, but it gets easier and more fun.
If you are new to social media marketing, have had limited success or simply don’t have the time to run a successful social media campaign, then let us help you.
We have run many successful social media campaigns for local businesses just like yours.
Don’t get left behind. Contact us today to find out how we can help promote your business.