To Help You Understand Social Media Marketing

social iconsAt times you can become confused with all there is to do when it comes to social media marketing, but remember none of your efforts should be in vein.

It may be tempting to simply flood your sites with useless content, but it is far better to take the time necessary to establish a credible brand.

Social media can be a powerful marketing tool but the responsibility rest on your shoulders to use it effectively and appropriately.

In order to keep your company name in front of your Twitter followers, you need to tweet regularly. The more content you post on Twitter, the better off you’re going to be. You need to post a lot if you want to make an impact. Divide your message about a specific event into multiple tweets in order to get the most mileage out of it.

It takes time and patience to construct a social media network. It is not likely that you will develop a long list of followers quickly. Since it takes time to build a profile, you should create a reasonable timeframe for success.

If you exercise patience, your audience will gradually grow to be the size you want.

Ensure you are regularly updating and posting content on your site. Give contacts and readers information they can depend on and look forward to. Hold yourself to a strict timeline, posting at certain times or days of the week. You can also get linked up with a service that will put up your posts when you ask it to. This ensures your readers always see your posts.

Make sure your profile is about more than you just posting very frequently. You need to learn how to communicate with your audience as effectively as you can.

Look at other popular social media pages related to your field. Notice what these successful business people are doing on their pages. Do they all have a common type of update? What does their page look like? With a good grasp of what is already out on the market, you can set up your own page in a way that will be distinctive and unique.

To be make social media work for you, you want to be able to speak with your customer person to person. Customers do not enjoy communicating with a large, anonymous entity. It’s all about trust here.

People on social sites are there to be social. Give them a real person to speak to, and trust grows tremendously.

If you’re familiar with all the various kinds of ads on most social media sites, they usually have eye catching images. Using this kind of imagery in your own ads is a great way to make them more notable and draw potential customers’ attention.

If your ad succeeds in grabbing them, they are much more likely to be converted into a customer.

Social Media Savvy

Having a social media presence is important when it comes to marketing as well as brand recognition. This will help customers recognize your company, and give it a long lasting reputation.

Are you a successful social media farmer?

1. Pick Your Crops
You don’t just cultivate whatever grows naturally on your land. That’s called weeding, not farming. Farmers determine what to grow based on expertise, market conditions, and topography.

In social media, it’s important to interact with customers and prospects in real-time when relevant, but if you’re going to create brand communities to facilitate those exchanges, you can’t be everywhere. What’s right for your organization? Facebook? Linkedin? Twitter? A corporate blog? YouTube? Ning? You have to make a clear-headed decision about where you’re going to deploy your social media resources, and that decision is best made with a heavy dose of strategic thinking, and a “tools last, not first” mentality.

2. Plant Seeds
Those crops don’t just spring up magically, you know.

Unlike traditional marketing and advertising, one of the huge advantages of social media is that the content you create pays dividends over time. Every blog post, photo, video, Webinar and other content seed made by your organization and/or your fans will continue to generate page views and awareness into the future.

The immediate impact of most social media campaigns isn’t nearly as high as a major print ad, TV commercial, or PR hit in a daily newspaper. But over time, the seeds of social media continue to grow, while the one-shot-deal of traditional marketing is forgotten.

3. Give it Time
The growing cycle is measured in months, not days.

Those expecting instant social media success will be disappointed in nearly every instance. First, you have to listen to your community to determine norms, best practices, and current attitudes. Then, you have to pick your crops and plant your seeds. And only then do you begin to see incremental results.

The good news is that social media results are typically compounding. What you did well yesterday makes today more successful.

4. It Takes a Village
At harvest, the community comes together to help the farmer during his time of acute need.

The Golden Rule of Social Media = Be Helpful. Help your customers. Help your fans. Help your competitors. Help everyone that asks, and even those that don’t ask.

Social media (both personally and corporately) rewards those that give more than they take. (which of course is a philosophical sea change for many companies that are accustomed to a more linear and inward-facing approach)

5. Go to Market
The farmer’s life is ruled by the market, and planting decisions are usually governed by how the farmer believes he can sell the successful crop.

The same should be true in social media, but often isn’t. Not to put an entirely capitalist spin on this, but at some level social media engagement needs to save companies money, make them money, or both. Yes, it’s terrific that social media rewards (if not requires) a customer-centric mindset that can be transformative for companies. But that transformation is not going to happen if it doesn’t pay off at the end. Comcast provides killer Twitter customer support because it works and it’s cost-effective, not because it feels good.

Companies – with help from their agencies – need to start developing a much better sense of why they are engaging in social media before jumping into the middle of the fray. What’s the go to market strategy?

6. Rotate Your Crops
Farmers don’t grow the same crops on the same parcel of land every season. The land can’t support it, so crops are rotated around the farm.

Smart social media practitioners are beginning to recognize the same phenomenon. The crops you’re growing today may not even exist tomorrow. How many corporate Twitter accounts were there WAAAAAY back in 2007? Pre-2006 you had to be in college to be on Facebook.

Further, if your social media efforts are TOO concentrated in one area, you can end up preaching to the choir, reducing your overall impact. I advocate companies participating in ~ 3 social media outposts in earnest, but emphasizing a different one every quarter. The varying levels of effort will keep it fresh for fans and your internal team.

7. Don’t Count on Control
Is there a more frustrating business than farming? You do everything right and WHAM – freak hailstorm wipes out your whole crop. No wonder farmers are religious.

Social media has many of the same risks. It’s unlikely that you’ll get burned in a Domino’s-style imbroglio, fueled by social media. But you might.

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