Posts Tagged ‘Social Marketing’
The key to successfully marketing your business through social media is to make it seem like you’re not. Which is to say, social-media marketing requires a little slight of hand, a lot of patience, and some faith. You can’t expect to put up some pages, upload a bunch of sales material, and wait for new clients to come knocking down your door. You’ll have to build a community of followers, fans, contacts, and customers the old-fashioned way.
Here are some tips to marketing your business without seeming to …
Think About Your Approach: So you registered for some social-media pages and are eager to start selling your services online? Well, unfortunately, that’s not how it works. In fact, there’s no quicker way to turn off potential online leads than to hammer away with sales talk and solicitations. Social-media marketing requires a little finesse. That means, rather than posting everyday about your business and services, you should be offering information and help. Approach your online contacts as though you’re doing it out of the kindness of your heart and the familiarity and goodwill you generate will lead to word-of-mouth and business.
The Content Conundrum: What do you post when you’d really rather beg for business? Well, there are a number of things. The quickest and easiest way to generate some good content is to share interesting info you’ve found that may help someone in need of your particular services. Pass along some industry news that a consumer might not know but should. Explain and add context to any numbers, stats, or trends that a potential customer would benefit from knowing. Approach your updates and posts as though you’re a good friend hoping to assist someone with an important decision. Answer questions and ask for feedback. All of these things will generate a back-and-forth with your online contacts that can only benefit your business.
Turning Contacts Into Clients: Of course, to some people, the process of luring in business through social-media may seem like a wasted effort. After all, who has the time to be posting to Facebook or LinkedIn when they need to generate real money in the real world? With time and consistency, however, social-media can – and will – lead to business. It’s just a matter of targeting the right audience and keeping up with your contacts. Social-media is a word-of-mouth machine. Give it time and you’ll soon see that your contacts are not only turning into clients, but are also recommending you to their contacts and online communities.
Despite what they say, you can argue with numbers. You can also argue with chickens. Neither of these activities, however, is likely to produce a positive outcome. That’s why, though it may be easier and more convenient to ignore reality, you’ll always do better if you acknowledge the facts.
To that end, here are some facts about social-media marketing …
Nielsen estimates that social media and blogs reach 80 percent of active Internet users in the U.S.: Not only that, Nielsen also found that nearly a quarter of all Internet usage is spent on blogs or social-media sites – double the amount spent on gaming. That means, almost half of all Internet usage is split between people playing games online and those perusing social-media pages, profiles, and blogs. And since you likely won’t be able to effectively market your business through online games, you should probably take a look at registering a Facebook page or setting up a blog. The potential upside is huge and there is little to lose. Having a shot at a new audience of potential customers and clients is ultimately what marketing is meant to accomplish. Social media provides an excellent platform to reach new people and generate business.
60 percent of consumers say they are willing to post about products or services if they get a deal: In other words, social media is a viable avenue for promoting and marketing your business. By interacting with your clients and customers over social-media, you are able to appeal to them directly, while offering them exclusive deals and bonuses. It takes a little creativity, but finding a way to get your Facebook or Twitter followers to spread the word for you is worth the effort. Offering Internet-only promos is a great way to boost interest in your business among current and potential clients. Just don’t overwhelm your connections with sales pieces and drive them away.
91 percent of experienced social marketers see increased traffic to their website and 79 percent say they’re generating more quality leads: Doubt all you want but more and more businesses are finding success marketing their services through social-media channels. The key word here, though, is “experienced.” In other words, you’re not going to see boosted traffic to your website and a bag full of quality leads during your first week online. It takes time, effort, and a bit of practice to learn what works for you and put it into action. Those who have had success with social media, have had patience with social media. Give it time and pay attention. After all, the stats say your efforts will ultimately be rewarded.
Social media can be like a Sunday morning crossword puzzle, both simple and enraging. The only difference is the answers to your social-media questions aren’t published in the next day’s newspaper. In order to help demystify social media for you, we’ve developed the following easy-to-remember keys to online success.
Here are the Four Cs of social-media marketing:
Communication: The first and most important thing to remember when pursuing a social-media strategy is communication. It is, after all, what social media is all about. It exists to provide an online platform for people to converse, share, and keep in touch with one another. For business, that means your social-media pages exist as a platform to communicate with past and future clients, referral partners, and potential business. If you aren’t communicating with your contacts, posting content, and participating in groups and forums, you are doing it wrong. You’re a wallflower and an observer. In order to change this, start sharing information, links to interesting articles, questions, thoughts, and offers on your social-media pages. Engage with your contact list and try and entice a response.
Consistency: Once you’ve begun participating, keep it up. Delivering quality content on a consistent schedule is a great way to encourage your contacts to interact with your page. You’re bettering your chances of capturing someone’s attention every time you post something to your page. That means, if you’re posting once a month, you likely won’t see results for awhile. If, however, you’re posting on a weekly or daily schedule, you’ll see more activity. In other words, activity begets activity. Participate and you’ll see more participation. You get the idea.
Content: The most difficult thing about achieving success with social media is producing quality content. What and when is important and makes a difference in the results. There are, however, some simple rules. Stay away from direct advertising or promotion. It’s a fast way to lose visitors. Try to imagine what someone in need of your particular service would find interesting and informative and go with that. Keep it professional. Share news and opinions relevant to your industry or region. Present yourself as an expert and field the questions and comments that come along with your posts. Keep on top of things and find a rhythm. Ultimately, if you’re posting consistently, offering quality information, and staying on top of any comments and questions that come your way, you’ll see results.
Commitment: You have to stick with it. Among the top mistakes people make online is giving up. If you’re expecting something immediate, you’re going to be disappointed. You can’t approach it like an advertisement. Show some enthusiasm for the medium and you’ll find an enthusiastic audience. Treat your social-media pages like a chore you have little interest in completing and your response will mimic your effort. You’ll get out of it what you put into it. Give it some time and effort before throwing in the virtual towel.
Everyone’s searching for an easy way out. And Internet-based marketing campaigns are no exception. In fact, some of the draw of marketing your business online is that, at first, it seems easy, inexpensive, and relatively labor free. That, however, is not the case. Like anything else, it requires some effort, time, and attention to truly pay off. In other words, it ain’t a get rich quick scheme but it is a viable and valuable tool for any business hoping to capitalize on the popularity of social media.
Here’s a short list of simple do’s and don’ts to help you accelerate your online opportunities …
Do Adjust Your Attitude: If you’ve registered for a social-media page or two and are now lounging poolside waiting for the business to start rolling in, this is the easiest and quickest way to change your fortune. Stop expecting something for nothing and start using the resources available to you. Social media is a tool but it won’t work itself. And expecting it to is no better than buying a hammer and expecting it to build you a house.
Don’t Give Up Immediately: A social-media campaign won’t succeed in the first three days. Probably not even within the first month. It’s gonna take some time to build up some content, fans, followers, and strategies. Time, consistency, and communication are the keys to success. Keep at it and stay engaged.
Do Import Your Contacts: All of the major social-media sites make it as easy as possible to transfer your email contacts to your page. Now you may not want to invite your mother to join you on LinkedIn but you’ve got to start somewhere. And inviting the contacts and connections from your address book will provide you with a foundation to build on. Announce your new page and ask people to connect with you. It’s far more effective than waiting for them to stumble upon your site on their own.
Don’t Skip The Photo: It’s 2012 and, if you haven’t yet figured out how to upload a photo, ask someone. ‘Cause chances are you know someone that can help you achieve this relatively easy and ultimately important task. Having a Facebook or Twitter page without a photo or logo or something that makes it seem as though you care at all about your presentation is a surefire way to make it look like you can’t be bothered. This is your business and wherever it is represented online should look professional.
Do Think About Content: Sure, you can have a presence on LinkedIn without having any content to share. You can do the same on Facebook. But, in the end, content is what gets people on your page and returning in the future. It’s also a way to further brand your business and help potential customers familiarize themselves with what you do, who you are, and why they should choose you over your competition.
Don’t Worry About Numbers: It’s easy to get discouraged if you’re trying to compete with Oprah for followers and fans. You can’t win that game. You can, however, approach your social-media campaign as a vehicle for spreading your message locally. In other words, you don’t have to have 1,000,000 friends and connections online to build business. You should concentrate your efforts on linking with people in your region and industry. Having five followers on your Twitter page that are in your area and looking for your services is better than having five million in China. It takes quality online connections, not quantity.
Do Explore The Possibilities: Nobody can tell you the best way to market your business. It is, after all, your business. But spending some time exploring what your social-media page of choice can do may result in new and exciting ideas. There are an endless number of applications, tools, and resources available on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, WordPress or any other social-media page you choose to use. Learn what they are and how to use them. Chances are, if there’s something you’d like to use your page for, there’s a tool to make that easier for you. Take some time and fool around. You may be surprised at the functionality available to you.
Nobody likes a poorly timed call from a telemarketer. Answering a call about having your carpet cleaned when your house has wall-to-wall hardwood floors is never welcome, least of all during the dinner hour. But, what if that telemarketer, rather than trying to sell you something you didn’t need, gave you some information you could use? What if every time you answered a call from a telemarketer they didn’t try to sell you anything but, instead, told you something fascinating and then left you alone. You may be more opened to future calls. This is the theory behind social-media and content marketing.
Here are some tips on content creation and building a presence and reputation online …
Know Your Audience: You’ll find articles suggesting you need to post multiple times a day to your blog, Twitter, and Facebook page. And yeah, the more you post the more attention you’re likely to get. It’s the old quantity over quality argument. In order to drum up some new business, however, you needn’t follow any arbitrary number of posts per day, week, or month. More importantly, you need to determine what kind of content your customers and potential clients would most benefit from receiving. Sending out a tweet every hour that doesn’t appeal to your customers and has nothing to do with your business won’t gain you any respect or attention. Posting something of value, however, can result in a new connection regardless of the frequency.
Know Your Topic: It’s tempting to get online and fill your pages with everything from the personal to the professional. And when you’re starting out and having difficulty finding appropriate content, posting about your favorite hobbies and habits may seem like a good way to get going. But nobody shopping for your particular services is going to choose you over your competition simply because you share the same taste in television, food, or sports teams. They will, however, take a longer look at your page if you’re consistently posting educational, informative, and interesting content aimed at helping them make better decisions. Give your audience what they’re looking for and they’re more likely to come looking for you when they’re ready to do business.
Know Your Purpose: Because it’s easy and free, setting your business up with a social-media profile may seem less valuable and vital. In other words, it may not seem like something that requires time, effort, planning, and forethought. It does. Spending a little time figuring out how you want to present yourself, what kind of content you’d like to offer, and who your target audience will be, can make the difference between a successful campaign and a half-empty Facebook fan page. You wouldn’t, for example, take out an advertisement without considering what it says, where it runs, and how it brands your business. So the same amount of consideration should go into your social-media properties. Keep them professional, up-to-date, consistent, and timely for best results.
For all its high-tech bells and whistles, the Internet is really all about the written word. After all – whether you’re posting to your blog, tweeting, or updating your Facebook page – what you’re really doing is writing. Which means, spending a little time thinking about your writing could make a big difference in the success, or failure, of your online activities. And nowhere more so than when launching an email marketing campaign.
Here are some tips …
Headlines: Okay, start with the subject line. It is, arguably, the most important part of your email. It will determine whether or not the recipient even opens your mail, let alone reads any of it. That means, you’ll have to start thinking of your email subject line as though it was a headline in a newspaper. In other words, you’ll have to give ‘em enough info to know what to expect but also spur enough interest to get your mail opened and read. Subjects left blank, vague, or suspiciously urgent will get you deleted on the spot. For examples, pay attention to the emails in your own inbox. Which subject lines sparked your interest and which didn’t? Mimic and repeat.
The Body: The trick to a successful email-marketing campaign is making the people on your mailing list feel like they’re not on an email-marketing list. That means, keeping it light and easily digested. It also means adding a little personality to your emails. If you’re sending out dry sales pieces, you’ll be treated accordingly. Add a little of your own voice to the emails and include all the pertinent info right there in the body of your email. Don’t fill up on attachments. Instead, copy-and-paste any relevant info, so your recipients won’t have to do any extra work. Sure, it’s only an attachment. But the less you ask, the more you’ll receive. After all, we’re all inherently lazy.
The Content Farm: So now you’re wondering where email marketing fits into your social-media marketing campaign. Right? Well that’s to be expected. Here’s the thing … Integrating your social-media pages and your email marketing campaign is not only the most effective strategy, it’s the least labor intensive. In other words, use your mailing list to promote your social-media sites and your social-media sites to add to your mailing list. Use each to boost the other. And share content, while you’re at it. Say you’ve just posted something to your business blog and wanted to ensure someone, other than you, reads it. Send out an email announcing the post with a link, a few highlights, and a short note to your clients and partners. Make it personal, easy-to-read, and top it with an enticing subject line.
The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com
Advertising is about grabbing attention. It’s the reason fashion ads feature so little clothing, which – when you think about it – doesn’t make all that much sense. But a photo of fully dressed models won’t grab nearly as much attention as bare skin. The same is true on the Internet – though no one’s suggesting you resort to nudity.
Branding yourself online, whether it’s through a blog, a Facebook business page, or a Twitter account, is about grabbing online attention and getting people to take notice of your page … and then your business. Very few television ads spend that 30 seconds explaining their business credentials. More likely, there’s 28 seconds of a talking monkey and two seconds explaining who the ad is for and how you can buy their product. Which is a way of saying, social-media marketing is no different than any other kind of marketing. You’ll need to grab your target audience’s attention before you’ll see any benefits.
Here are a few ideas to remember …
The What: Okay, you’ll need some content on your pages to keep people interested but that’s not to say your business info and credentials aren’t necessary. Once you’ve registered for a page or profile, fill out all the provided places for your bio, websites, past experience, and whatever else is offered. The more you fill in, the easier it will be for people to find you. This information will provide the keywords through which people will find you in searches and such. It’ll also make it simple for interested visitors to learn about your business and find ways to contact you.
The How: So that’s not the difficult part. After all, anyone with a couple hours can set themselves up with an online profile and fill in their business information. If that’s all it took to bring in new business through social-media marketing, we’d all be on yachts in the South Pacific. Sadly, in order to keep visitors, build word-of-mouth, and brand your business, you’ll have to consistently offer content on your pages, profiles, or blog. And, unlike television or radio ads, you can’t schedule when people will look at your page. Which means, the more you update, the more reason they’ll have to visit. The more visitors, the more potential business. Finding a pace and type of content that suits you and appeals to your clients will take time. Don’t get discouraged. Also, be sure to interact with your audience whenever you can. If someone leaves you a comment, respond. The more available you seem, the more trust you’ll earn.
The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com
A quick video explaining the importance of social media and some simple ways to effectively market your business online.
Josh Millar / The Ibis Network / www.theibisnetwork.com
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