When considering how to use Social Media, forget about everything you have ever read about Social Media, and just think conversation.
Social Media is one of the fastest growing marketing tools on Earth and it is changing the way people connect with their friends, family, customers, and the world around them. It’s made up of text, photos, images, video and other sorts of information that people create, and post on the Internet through social networks, blogs, and websites. These sites allow users a place to share content publicly, or with a specific list/group of people.
Not all businesses are on all platforms, nor should they be. The top social networking platforms today are Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn. Every business has different needs, and a specific target audience. The first step when getting started is figuring out where your target audience is.
Social Media Marketing Goals
What are your goals?
Building brand awareness
Giving credibility to your brand
Increasing website traffic
Improving customer service
When I first begin my relationship with a new client, we immediately discuss goals, ideal new customer profiles, and expectations. This helps pinpoint the audience to be engaged, and also allows me to bring to the forefront what social media is for, and what it is not for.
It is about being present and genuine.
It is about (really) listening and staying connected to your audience.
Social Media is not the place for hard sales.
It is not about being EVERYWHERE.
You’re going to “Go It Alone” – How?
If you’re going to be brave (which I applaud – I promise you, you can do it, no one will laugh if you falter, this medium hasn’t been around all that long, we all started with it somewhat recently) here are my recommendations:
Set aside time for research. Begin with the basics. Make it a part of your daily work plan, and schedule it, like a meeting, with a beginning and end time. Begin educating yourself with the multitude of resources available online, for free. TechCrunch, Mashable, and the Social Media Examiner are great places to get started.
#2: Make it your routine to listen, listen, listen then engage.
How does listening via social media differ from listening to your friend, your boss, your spouse? It doesn’t. Or at least it shouldn’t, unless of course, you’re that guy who’s always just waiting for the other guy to finish so he can speak. If you are going to enter in to a “conversation” you need to first take the time to listen to what’s being said. Listen to what your customers, competitors and other voices in the industry have to say. This can help you see where your place would be to enter the conversation.
Ok, Social Media newbies, our new word of the day: Infographic. An infographic is what we all used to call a picture or image, but it’s a new kind of picture crammed full of information that is easier to see than explain via text. It’s one of many social media elements you will start to become familiar with as you continue to dive in to the industry. Please check out the infographic below to get more clued in on Social Media listening.
#3: Remember that customers don’t want to only hear about promotions.
Don’t tweet: “Buy my product.” Your customers (and potential customers) want to be talked with and cared about. Your content should make consumers feel valued and involved in the company’s culture. Engage with your target audience as a friend.
Overwhelming? It can be at first, but that’s no different that anything else you would try, learn, study, practice, and master.
“The difference between PR and Social Media is that PR is about positioning, and Social Media is about becoming, being and improving.” – Chris Brogan, author of “Trust Agents”