Social Media Marketing is a Moving Target
A lot of the original social sites like MySpace have fallen out of favor, while Facebook continues to lead the charge of what’s rapidly becoming a much larger list of useful and viable social media sites, i.e. Twitter, YouTube, Google+, LinkedIn, FourSquare, Pinterest, Instagram, etc.. As business owners, managers and marketers…useful to us means they’re good places to dialogue with existing and potential new customers. Additionally, there are a number of blogging, article directory, picture sharing and video sharing sites that are often loosely categorized as social sites because they’re still focused around a growing community, common interests, linking to each other, etc. As these sites grow, adapt and sometimes fail, it creates a social media landscape that’s confusing to say the least and often flat out overwhelming.
Some Social Media Observations:
1). Different social media sites will work better for different businesses, market demographics, types of customers, geographic locations, etc. so it’s important to explore them before investing time and money.
2). Each social media site has very different rules, guidelines, methods, themes, appetites, sub-cultures, demographics and results…then, just when you thought you had it figured out…an up-date.
3). Although running traffic to your page or gathering traffic there is important, only engagement and repeat visits will cause your marketing campaigns to go viral and help convert the traffic to your best repeat customers, reviewers and referral sources.
4). If you can’t move your social media traffic to an email list, text list, gather reviews or get them to share, comment or refer, then it’s probably not worth the cost and effort of getting them to your social media site.
5). Like a review, the general dialogue or complaint on an active social media site can in fact be the most valuable piece of information you’ll ever receive about your business. It’s this kind of “hard to stomach” feedback that can save your business and often turn it into a massive success over time if applied. You can also enter into dialogue on the social media site or privately to ask your customer for clarification, apologize or make repair. The net effect of this can be a clients who believe in you, your management and business more than if things not gone wrong.
Branding, Conversation and Tell Your Story…
Most people who see your social media page will notice if it matches your other branding, looks respectably well done and is more of a dialogue than a monologue. To put a social media page out there implies your intent to have worthwhile conversation with those who frequent your page. Your visitors will likely judge you based on what they see or don’t see on your social media pages, so make sure that your pages and what’s said reflects well on you and your business.
When you tell your story and your business’s story, it will brand your business at a deeper level, engage your customers and create the best foundation for going viral. If your story isn’t so hot or your very private, then pick some partners, employees or regular customers that are unique and willing to be a part of your business’s story. Most businesses either don’t tell there story at all, and the few that do rarely tell it well or consistently.
People love the story format because it makes them feel alive, engaged, authentic and by default, they’ll feel some of that about you, your business, your chief chef, most loyal employee, etc. Ultimately everyone wants to belong, to be a part of community, to be heard, to be respected, to know and be known. So give that to them and most will start to care about you, your business and whoever else is in your story…how cool is that! And when people feel that way about your business, they come more often, stay longer, spend more and bring other people.
Add Coupons, Surveys and Contests to Go Viral
Once you have the right social media site(s) identified for your business and you’ve gotten your business’s story put together, then you’ll start growing a fan base or following quickly and you’ll see good engagement, lots of activity. It may take a month, a few months, perhaps 6 months…but at some point you’ll be ready to build on that foundation of relationships by adding yet another level of excitement and engagement. During this initial launch, you can start interconnecting your other social sites, website, reviews, etc. Then you can start posting more coupons, doing surveys, asking open questions and running contests mixed in with your story line and characters as a starting point or context.
By utilizing the engagement strategies listed above combined with connecting your other sites and pages, you can quickly reach your customer base and their friends. Social media marketing done right results in a growing customer base with more repeat and referral business. You’ll have your fingers on the very heart beat of your business…your customers, so you can make adjustments and improve your business.
We Don’t Want to See Social Marketing get a Bad Rap…
Social Media Marketing can really take your business to another level and multiply everything else you’re doing in strategically and intentionally marketing your business. But, it can also be one of the most fruitless and frustrating experiences you’ll have in marketing or in business, a total waste of time and money…then worse, the experience can bleed over into your feelings about business or marketing in general which is not a good place to be operating from.
We would love to help you zero in on the right social media sites for your business and the right timing to add it to your existing marketing efforts, so please call us at 404-994-2949 to ask any questions or to schedule a time we meet with you to discuss this part of your marketing plan.