Social media marketing offers many opportunities for companies and advertisers to increase the visibility of a brand. However, social media has its own set of rules. A marketer or business owner should know what to expect when embarking on a social media marketing campaign.
Social media platforms offer new ways to attract and interact with potential customers.
However, connecting with potential customers is more about developing relationships and less about blatant promotion.
In fact, blatant promotion is generally not well received on social networks. Users quickly spot blatant brand promotion and tend to resist the marketer’s efforts.
Another consideration when embarking on a social media marketing campaign is that ROI of marketing efforts on social networks is not measured as a traditional advertising campaign would be.
Social media marketing may raise a brand’s visibility, generate interest in the product and “create a buzz.”
However, ROI is generally not immediately realized in increased revenue.
This, of course, does not mean that there is no return on the time and effort invested in the social media marketing campaign. This simply means that the concept of ROI must be redefined to encompass other metrics, such as page views, number of “Likes” or number of “followers.”
The Top 5 Tips for Social Media Marketing include:
1≠ Formulate a Strategy and Allocate the Time to Spend on a Social Media Marketing Campaign
Formulate a strategy for an internet marketing campaign prior to initiating the effort. Start with one social network. For example, take the first step into social media marketing by creating a Facebook business page. Invite visitors from a business contacts list.
Offer content or special promotions to the users who become “Fans” of the page.
Additionally, decide going in how much time will be allocated to social media marketing efforts. Many individuals who begin a campaign on a social network find that a great deal of time may be spent on such efforts.
Determine a priority list and a time limit for the campaign. For example, set aside two hours to set up the Facebook business page and follow up with an hour per day to generate new content and interact with users.
2≠ Research and Find the Target Demographic for the Brand
The target demographic for the brand likely congregates around other brands and organizations.
Join such communities and begin to develop relationships with individuals within those communities. Social media thrives on relationships and interactions.
Refrain from “in-your-face” promotion of the brand and spend time developing and nurturing relationships with potential customers.
3≠ Develop the Skill of Listening
One of the most powerful ways to develop relationships through social networks is to intently listen to what others say.
Resist the urge to promote the brand at first and spend time listening to users’ concerns and accolades about other products. Learn the language of the internet and social networks.
Every community has a certain “tone.”
Become familiar with the tone of the conversation for the community. Listen to what users are saying about competitors’ brands. One advantage of social media marketing is that the flow of conversation provides insight into how customers perceive certain brands.
4≠ Socialize in an Authentic and Human Way
After spending some time listening and understanding the target demographic, engage in conversation with users. Make sure to be “real” during interactions.
The internet is one of the best ways to connect with your customers. Respond to what others are saying and provide useful input into conversations.
Respond quickly to direct questions and comments. Introduce the brand in a way that is perceived as helpful and insightful, rather than promotional.
5≠ Offer Exclusive Promotions and Deals to Fans and Followers
Incentives go a long way for brand promotion. Offer exclusive specials to social media users who are fans of the business page or to Twitter followers. Special promotions provide an instant call to action.
Monitor social media marketing effort with any number of tools that are available, many free of charge. DreamGrow (www.dreamgrow.com/48-free-social-media-monitoring-tools/) provides a list of 54 free social media monitoring tools to assess social network campaigns.
Photo credit: ralphpaglia