For small businesses and international corporations alike, social media platforms have become an essential part of marketing strategies. It’s relatively inexpensive, and a great way to reach out to new customers, and give existing customers a platform to discuss your business. But it’s not easy. Millions of users are posting information on a daily basis, and social media sites exist primarily as an avenue for community interaction. To attract attention to your business, you’ll have to utilize plenty of creativity, prepare a precise plan, maintain consistency in your interactions, and find a way to gauge success.
Get Your House in Order
Before you begin a social media campaign, you’ll want to ensure your website and blog are set up for easy navigation and search engine optimized. The last thing you want is to drive a bunch of people to your blog or landing page and not deliver the goods. Create an online environment that informs, entertains and offers something unique to users. Then, register on all the social media sites you feel are relevant. You want to secure your brand and build and maintain a presence as many places as possible, within reason. Make sure your website and blog communicate with the same voice and expertise as your social content. If you start to attract fans in the social sphere, they’ll expect consistency.
Select a Platform and Set Clear Goals
What are you hoping to gain from your social media campaign? Are you trying to reinforce your brand identity to consumers with short bursts of advertising? A Twitter campaign may be best. Do you want to offer promotional competitions or organize sponsored events? Facebook may be your answer. Are you going to focus on business to business transactions? Linkedin may be the way to go. Identify your target audience and formulate a plan that addresses their interests and desires specifically.
Be Creative and Stand Out
How does your audience interact with social media? Try to formulate a strong campaign theme that will stand out amongst the rest of the chatter. Effective social media campaigns require a large dose of imagination and should include clear calls to action. They are also all about timing. Keep a keen eye on what’s trending in Google, attempt to forecast fan activity, and implement your campaign at the right time. In addition to knowing when to launch, you’ll want to know when to bring an end to your campaign. Even if users genuinely enjoy participating, there is always the matter of fatigue to consider. You don’t want to alienate your fans by overwhelming them. And whatever you do, don’t spam. Everything you say should be entertaining or offer a creative solution to a problem.
Social media marketing is not about speaking at potential consumers or clients. It’s about speaking with them. It’s fairly easy to get users to “like” your post, or even repost it. But you should be seeking more than that. Try to initiate a conversation. If people are acknowledging your posts, acknowledge them right back. Ask open-ended questions and don’t be afraid to be provocative. Remember, the more people actively engage with you and your business, the more they become invested in what it is you have to offer. Make it easy for users to participate and reward them for doing so. Additionally, don’t be afraid to address negative comments. If you simply ignore negative feedback, other readers and viewers will notice and wonder why you’re being evasive. Address concerns and supply answers with a human voice. If someone is obviously trolling and purposefully trying to damage your business without good reason, keep a positive attitude and remain polite. Don’t get dragged down to their level. Other users will notice that you took the high road.
Do you best to analyze which social marketing methods are working best. Track actions that users are taking. Which posts and on which platforms are they responding? Experiment with different versions of Tweets or posts to determine what is generating discussion and action. Once you begin to understand how users are discovering your social outlets and how they are interacting with your brand, you can begin to tweak and make adjustments until your social media rewards are worth your investment of time.
Adam Toren is an Award Winning Author, Serial Entrepreneur, and Investor. He Co-Founded YoungEntrepreneur.com along with his brother Matthew. Adam is co-author of the newly released book: Small Business, Big Vision: “Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right” and also co-author of Kidpreneurs.