There was a time when the likes of Facebook and Twitter were seen as peripheral platforms for businesses.
However, times have changed dramatically, and now the social media is all pervasive. Every business is now acutely aware that it needs to market itself on these channels if it wants to build up networks of loyal customers and interact with those who are interested in the products and services it promotes. If there’s a problem, it’s that a considerable number of these businesses don’t really understand or appreciate what sort of strategy would suit their business best. They might know which area of the market they want to target, but have often given too little thought to how they are going to achieve their goals. In short they don’t have a coherent social media plan.
So, how can your business use social media to market itself effectively?
Which social media strategies are likely to appeal to the widest possible audience?
Keep your social content current and relevant.
Does your business have a Facebook or Twitter account? The answer is probably yes. Do you do anything with these accounts and add new and relevant content regularly? The chances are the answer to that is no. Too many businesses set up social media accounts then expect them to take care of themselves. Well, they won’t: you have to work at them and provide interesting and worthwhile content that will attract users to your site and keep them coming back for more. What a business needs is quality content in all its social media updates and posts. It doesn’t matter what you include as long as it’s relevant. So post a mixture of videos, pictures, news stories and any special offers that you might be running regularly.
Updates: sometimes you can have too much of a good thing.
Businesses need to update their social media sites regularly or they will simply wither and eventually die. The tricky issue is deciding how often you should update your status? Too few updates will cause damage, but too many can be just as harmful. If you regularly post reams of updates on a daily basis, you’ll find that people will just tune out and start to ignore what you’re saying, even when the specific thing you might be offering that day is a bargain: it effectively like crying wolf a little too often – nobody takes you seriously in the end. Get a sense of balance and remember that less is more, well most of the time anyway.
Interaction’s what you need.
If Roy Castle was still with us that’s the new tune he’d be singing. Social media platforms thrive on interaction. It’s this that makes them tick. The whole point of social media groups is to feel that we are part of something; we want to interact and feel that we belong. A businesses job is to encourage this interaction by stimulating debate and engaging its fans and followers. The more engaged a community feels, the more likely it is to buy into the whole brand identity and spread the good word to others.
Focus on what you do best, not your competitors.
Unless you work in a niche market, you’ll always face competition. It’s a simple fact of life. Well, the same applies on social networks: you’ll face competitors who will be trying to target the same customers you are. Should you criticise them and try to undermine what they do? Definitely not: focus on what you do best. If you resort to underhand tactics, your competitors will respond, and the chances are both of you may well loose some of the audience you’ve been fighting over. It’s much better to play nicely.
Analyse the effectiveness of your social media performance.
Do you know how effective your social media marketing campaigns are? How many of your SMM updates result in clicks to your website? How many of those result in converted sales? How are your SMM updates being discussed and shared? No? Well you should do really. These are the type of questions you should be asking. If you analyse the metrics you’ll know what works and what doesn’t. If it’s working then do it more often: if it’s not, then change it.