In the last few years, social marketing has created a fundamental shift in the way we do business. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google + allow organizations to easily compete in a global market and reach out to an audience that would otherwise have been inaccessible. Whether you’ve already been utilizing social media for your business or if you’ve just decided to take the plunge, here are 10 things you absolutely must know:
Connecting. Social marketing begins with making targeted connections. Get started by finding potential new clients or research businesses that offer complementary services. The search function on social media sites will allow you to use targeted keywords to locate the right connections for your business.
Conversing. Once you’ve found targeted connections, it’s time to start a conversation! Show a genuine interest in their activities, retweet their posts, share their content or ask questions. However you choose to get started, your next big step will be engaging them in conversation.
Sharing. Now it’s time to showcase your expertise by offering quality content, helpful tips and bits of information designed to show your target audience just how knowledgeable you really are!
Engaging. Sharing and engaging in conversations alone aren’t enough. Your goal is to be so interesting that people will naturally want to interact with what you’re posting. Try asking a question or posting something that requires a reply. Make sure you’re responding to any questions that might come your way.
Listening. Social media offers a prime opportunity for you to really find out what your target audience wants. Discover their pains, be the solution and reap the rewards.
Networking. Networking is the process of developing and using contacts made in business for purposes beyond the reason of the initial contact. When you attend a networking event, do you anticipate getting a client that night? Of course not! You are there to network! Social marketing is not differently than traditional networking. It’s a process that must be followed consistently and with a firm strategy in order to be successful.
Finding your place. A good social media strategist will be able to help you compare the demographics of your target market as they pertain to each networking site. A general rule is to network on the sites that resonate the most with you. Twitter is a 140-character wonder that offers tremendous opportunities for introductions and traffic. Facebook offers the opportunity for more personal interaction and social sharing. LinkedIn is strictly professional and the new Google+ offers an array of possibilities in the form of extended posts, genuine sharing and more. Test them all out and go with what works for you!
Promoting. Social marketing is a great way to syndicate your valuable content and reach audiences you may never have found otherwise. Promote your webinars, communicate product launches and create content around your services so valuable that your audience can’t wait to share it with their networks!
Playing by the rules. As with any other tool you use, it’s important that you understand the “Do’s and Don’ts” when it comes to social networking sites. Each site has different rules pertaining to how you connect with others, what you can post and how to use the site in general. Follow the rules and you can’t go wrong.
Monitoring your reputation. Take precautions to keep your online reputation spotless. Set up your Google account to alert you when your name or brand comes up in an online conversation. If anything negative should arise, you can address it immediately.
If you’ve ever attended a networking event then you know just how important it is to put your best foot forward. The more appealing you are to others, the better your chances of achieving your desired results. Social marketing is no different. Showcase yourself as an expert, listen to what others have to say, be interesting, be informative and always be positive. Follow these simple rules and your audience will happily comply when you’re ready for them to take action.
What do you think? What social marketing strategies have you found most effective? Share your experience in the comment box below.