Social Media Are You
Social media, which rely on written and visual content disseminated via social communications networks such as Facebook and Twitter, are all about talking with, not at, potential customers. The innovation of social media is the fact that, unlike a single-sourced press release or a magazine ad, it relies on many-to-many interactions among interested parties. These parties have the choice of whether to participate or not, through channels such as tweets, blog postings, or YouTube videos.
The army of social media participants is composed of every-day people expressing a point of view or some interesting news, and highly-trained marketing personnel trying to maximize the reach of the media for commercial reasons. Social medial marketers use a grab-bag of tactics to penetrate the social media universe, including:
- reaching customers through medial forums and tools
- holding online conversations
- monitoring word-of-mouth about your product or service
- touting their offerings
- leaving effective comments on blog posts
- supplying answers to questions
- replying to comments from others, whether positive or negative
Benefits of Social Media Marketing
Let’s explore some ways social media marketers pursue benefits from their activity:
1) Go Viral — one of the best ways to create buzz for a client is to post a video, blog or photograph that is so compelling that it spreads from consumer to consumer like wildfire. A YouTube video that goes viral can get tens of thousands of hits in a single day. If the video in some way benefits your offering, you stand to benefit greatly.
2) Drive Traffic – if you offer something interesting, you are more likely to see it passed along via links to other websites. These links can spread exponentially, giving your offering new and valuable web exposure.
3) Influence the Influencers – provide samples of your offering to people who are prominent within your industry and have a commanding Internet presence, such as a widely-read website. If you can win these people over, they may help spread positive news through various social media.
4) Correct Bad Press – sites such as Yelp offer consumers a forum to evaluate your offering. You need to vigilantly answer negative commentary with thoughtful responses. By doing so, you can help to mitigate unfair comments and establish your willingness to engage with consumers.
5) Satisfy the Customer – use social media to publicize any remedial actions you take to fix a real problem tied to your offering. Show the public you are listening and taking them seriously. You can create a lot of good will by quickly responding to complaints.
6) Relentlessly Build Your Reputation – use all of the various social media outlets to create content that is positive to your reputation. A carefully composed blog or a winning video can do much to burnish your company’s image.
Planning your Social Marketing Campaign
Of course, before you can influence others, you need to listen to and engage with them. You can do so via a number of different venues, including your website, social media networks such as Facebook, and within the social sphere (Linkedin groups, other blogs, etc.).
Here are the activities you need to perform to plan your marketing campaign:
- Goal Definition and Quantification – there can be several different goals, and they can overlap with each other. Building brand awareness, driving traffic, and obtaining/converting leads are all important goals. Pick your primary goal, but do not limit yourself to just this one goal. Then, select a measurement that tells you how well you are succeeding with your goal. Commonly used metrics include impressions, tweets, leads, etc.
- Audience – who are they? Figure out who you want to target, perhaps by limiting your aim to one vertical industry. You will craft your content based on your chosen audience.
- Message – select your key message points, such as a call to action or a direct product placement. Try to lure consumers with something of interest that compels them to take action.
- Channels – you need to decide whether you will diversify your campaign over a number of channels, such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc., or rather concentrate on just one.
- Timeline – decide the length of your campaign, then construct an editorial calendar to map out the messages you’ll use and when you’ll use them.
- Feedback – you’ve already decided on what metrics you will use to measure the success of your campaign. Now figure out how you plan to collect and report these metrics.
Don’t forget to develop contingency plans in case your campaign goes awry. You want to know that you can recover from an inadvertent gaffe that otherwise could lead to negative results. Most likely, this won’t ever be a worry, but it’s a good idea to plan for it anyway.
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Copyright 2014 Eric Bank, Freelance Writer