Do you have a Facebook page, but don’t see much activity or benefit from it? Do you find Twitter to be a big time suck and don’t see any new leads? Is LinkedIn just where you go to find out what your competitors are doing? If any of this sounds familiar, you are definitely not harnessing the power of these tools for your business.
While marketing is essential to growing your business, social media marketing is essential for connecting with your customers. If you are passionate about your product or service, social media is the best way to create a greater relationship with the market, partners and clients you serve. By definition, social media is a technology platform where we can be “social.” It inherently allows you to share, interact and engage with the information that is provided. The “social” part of social media means you have to think about how you are going to create a relationship with your audience. How will you give them something valuable that makes them WANT to be a part of your community? If you build a relationship and a valuable experience with your community, they will support you, buy from you, refer friends to you and remain loyal.
The first five steps to be GREAT at social media.
In concert with your business objectives, you must establish a plan, with specific goals for leveraging social media. To get started, finish this question:
“We will use social media to…”
If you don’t put a number to it, you will not be able to measure your efforts. Set business metrics for what you want to achieve with your social media efforts. Using the examples above, your goal for social media could be to:
From here, you can even take it one step further. One example:
Take the time to build a project plan for everything that needs to be done to launch your platforms and hire great people (can be full or part-time depending on the position). Depending on your strategy you will need a:
The time and money you invest in these platforms will directly correlate to your results. Just posting to post will not get you the value you are looking for. Develop great content, create promotions to generate activity, and build the experience you want your current and potential customers to have.
Social media is an annuity, the more you invest in it, the more return it will give you over time. Consumers buy products and services from businesses they like. Social media is your chance to remind your market why they like you so much. Think like your customer, why do they come to you? Talk about that.
There are a plethora of tools available to monitor and measure social media marketing. Invest in great tools, train your team on how to use them and ensure you have analytics running on your website. We suggest you have someone monitoring all platforms daily (at a minimum) and more often for Facebook and Twitter.
More Facebook “Likes” or Twitter “Followers” does not mean you are succeeding at social media marketing. It’s what happens after that that tells you if you are doing it right. The reality is that because social channels now produce so much content and interaction, consumers are getting very picky about who they are willing to listen to. Be engaging, create an experience and invest in the growth that will come from doing this right.
While this is just the start, it helps set your epxectations for creating and executing a successful social media strategy. Be smart, remember to think like your customers and have fun – this is the start of a very rewarding effort!
Photo credit: Flickr user Harco Rutgers. Used with permission through Creative Commons.