Make Social Media Work for You

    Can social media help you grow your business? The obvious, short answer is yes. There’s no denying that shaping a social media marketing (SMM) presence can build awareness for your brand and drive leads to sales. How to be a voice above the crowd in a noisy social world, however, is the toughest challenge for many people. When you’re faced with zero comments on your blog posts, or too few likes on your Facebook page, it can lead to questioning if SMM is all it’s cracked up to be.

    With so many opinions and social media marketing tips available, yet so little time to read or implement them, it’s no wonder you might want to raise up the white flag in defeat. But if you do make the effort to read enough of the advice out there, some common themes start to emerge.

    It Takes a Village

    No surprises here – social media alone will not work. The epic fail with SMM for so many people is the lack of an integrated marketing approach. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are exciting tools for communicating with your audience, but the old standards like email cannot be ignored. In fact, surveys have shown that SMM actually makes consumers engage more with their email inbox.

    Start with a few social media platforms and consistently check to see what is or is not working. Don’t get caught up in “musts” and “shoulds” dictated by others; find out what works for you. The takeaway here:

    • Don’t abandon your email list; it’s still your most valuable asset when it comes to SMM.
    • Facebook is a great place for content sharing, but not necessarily ideal for gathering new followers.
    • The Twittersphere is ideal for engaging with followers. Create a bio that attracts new followers and regularly interact with experts in your field.
    • Experiment with other platforms such as Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram to see where your audience lies. Did you know there are over 50 social media platforms? If your business is highly specialized, don’t ignore the opportunities that might exist on one of these lesser-known outlets.

    A Mad Men Strategy

    Mastering SMM need not be mysterious or complicated if you keep in mind that not much has changed since the days of radio. Substitute “ad” for “content” and things suddenly start making sense. The biggest change social media has brought is your customer’s ability to directly interact with you.

    • Before putting yourself out there, learn how to create a SMM plan. Doing so allows you to keep SMM missteps to a minimum and helps you up your inbound game.
    • Engage, engage and engage some more. SMM requires you to be proactive, be a good listener, and be a great storyteller.
    • Use your SMS strategy to increase traffic to more traditional platforms like your website. Be sure to create a landing page that is simple, creative and, most importantly, effective in growing your email list.

    Everyone Has a Story

    Perhaps the most important social media marketing tip out there is this one: tell your story, and tell it authentically. Simply setting up social media pages and accounts and then sitting back to wait for the customer onslaught is a sure path to frustration and discouragement.

    • One of the best ways to tell your story is through your blog. The challenge here is to generate consistent, terrific content that your viewers will want to engage with and return to time and again. If you lack the time and/or writing talent yourself, it is well worth it to hire someone who can capture and reflect your authentic voice.
    • Remember to tell, not sell. Inbound marketing is all about drawing your customers in, not bashing them over the head with buy, buy, buy messages. Give them a reason to want to do business with you and the rest will follow.
    • Don’t be the party bore. Earn people’s attention by listening first and then giving them what they want. Building emotional connections with your followers motivates them to take action. Tell them a story that not only engages them, but inspires them to share it with others.

    Your SMM strategy is just that – yours – and it isn’t written in stone. As you move forward, hold on to the tactics that work, move on from those that don’t, and perfect the art of adapting. You’ll find at the end of the day you’ve created an effective SMM campaign that brings exceptional results to your business.

    Topics: social media

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