Social media can be a rewarding experience for a business, but it can seem like a daunting task or a waste of time if you don’t know how to approach it efficiently. Social media sites give you the opportunity to connect with your target customers, engage them in conversation, ask for their feedback, incentivize them to purchase , and create a great opportunity for generating virtual word-of-mouth (which is still be best form of marketing).
Here are six tips for setting up a social media strategy that rocks.
1. Do your research.
It’s amazing what information you can find that will help you create a more effective marketing strategy with better targeted messages if you do a little research. This is especially true if you are a social media novice. There are a wide variety of social media sites for you to use, but where do your customers hang out? Which sites are your competitors using and seeing positive results? What kind of posts are their customers responding to?
2. Start simply.
You’ve probably heard you should set up a Facebook fan page. And a Twitter account. Don’t forget LinkedIn. You need to post videos to YouTube, too. Have you set up your Google+ business profile yet? Don’t forget to Digg. AAaaarrrgghh … it gets overwhelming very quickly, especially if you’re doing it all on your own. You need to simplify your strategy. First, only focus on those social media sites that will have an impact for your business. If you do the research mentioned above, you’ll know which sites offer you the best potential for ROI. Generate success with one or two sites first before you move on to any others.
3. Have a plan.
It’s amazing how many small and medium sized businesses want to get started with social media without a plan. They get anxious because they know other businesses are having success using social media and they feel that they’re showing up late to the party. So they rush in, start chatting away, and then wonder why no one is showing any interest. If you don’t think you have time for planning, you might as well run out of your front door and start talking to everyone on the street to see if they want to buy from you. It will have the same lack of impact, but at least you’ll get some exercise.
4. Vary your types of posts.
Don’t be a boring conversationalist. Just as you don’t want to hear your friends tell you the same story every time they see you, your customers don’t want you to say the same thing every time they connect with you on a social media site. Mix things up. You can use famous quotes as posts, link to interesting stories, posts video, questions and polls, and share posts from other sites you follow. The key is to make sure all of your posts are of interest to your target audience.
5. Track your success.
One of the benefits of marketing on the Internet is the various tracking mechanism available for assessing your success. You can use Google Analytics, QR codes, URL shortening services, and more. These all offer tracking options. Plus, some of the social media sites provide their own tracking reports. Don’t sell your marketing short by only tracking sales. Yes, the ultimate goal is to sell more, but part of your success with social media is to build your visibility and credibility. These are important goals for creating an effective marketing funnel. Are you seeing people join your social media circle of friends? Are they responding to your posts? Are you getting their feedback? Are they sharing your posts with their circle of friends? When you post other profiles’ content, are they responding and doing the same for you? These are valuable aspects to social media that are indirectly tied to sales.
6. Make time. Be consistent. Be patient.
You can’t expect to be a fair-weathered friend on social media and establish strong relationships with prospects and customers. You need to create a schedule whereby you can participate in conversations on your social media profiles on a regular basis. How much socializing is enough … or too much? It will vary on each site, but three to four posts a day is best. If you post less, you’re likely to lack any mind awareness with your target audience. If you post more, you may start turning people off for dominating their feeds.
And above all, you need to patient. Yes, social media can help you gain some quick visibility, but it doesn’t produce sales overnight. The average person is presented with 4,000 marketing messages a day. While social media helps you create visibility, it helps your competition, too. Prospects need to get to know, like and trust you before they buy from you. You need to show them that they should invest the time in this process by creating conversations that benefit them and by proving that you aren’t another pop-up business that posts today, but is gone tomorrow.
If you find it hard to keep up with the recommendations in this post, but you want to be able to take advantage of the benefits of social media, contact SmallBizMedia.tv for a review of their Internet marketing services.
All the Best,
The Solopreneur’s Guide