I spoke with a woman today who said she was frustrated with her social media marketing progress. She said she posted content every day on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Her frustration is not uncommon. She said no one had hired her off of one of these social sites and as a matter of fact, she said few people even comment on her posts, but she commented on everyone else’s posts. When I asked her about a strategy, she said her strategy was to be on the sites daily, trying to connect with people, which she was.
Her first problem was she had connected with friends and a few other marketers, but not people who would actually hire her. Another problem she had was she was having lots of chit-chat conversations on Twitter and her personal Facebook profile with the handful of contacts she had, but as I read through her content, even I couldn’t tell you what the woman actually did…except chit-chat. What would people actually hire her to do? Be a professional chit-chatter, I suppose.
As we continued to speak she revealed that she was a leadership expert, and an expert on team relations, AND an expert in communication skills, but I saw none of that in a consistent manner. She said her interests were so varied that she didn’t want to put herself in single box.
You may claim to be an expert or thought- leader in a particular area, but if only your mom knows about it, allowance is all you can hope for. Perhaps it’s time to do an audit of your website and social sites to see who others say you are.
Scan your website with a objective eye, or better yet find someone who doesn’t know what you do and ask them to do this. Based on the content you SEE, what are you an expert in?
Go to your Twitter account. On the PROFILE page, look for the link in the upper right of the page that reads LISTED. See how others have categorized you. Who do THEY say you are?
What TOPICS have you earned Klout in? Head over to Klout to discover your score and see how others categorize you. Some will argue the accuracy of Klout, but it is still another form of social credibility.
If you are a LinkedIn user, look over the discussions and posts on your LinkedIn profile and ask yourself if you need more focus there as well. When you do a search on LinkedIn for your area of expertise (not your name), does your name come up on one of the first two pages? Be sure your keywords are being used in your profile information as well as your posts.
Now sit down and make a list of keywords and phrases that describe your business and your expertise. Identify the type of person that can hire you or pay you for your services. What position does this person hold? How old are they? Is it a male typically, or a female? Where do they hang out? What content can you provide to this potential customer that would be interesting, helpful AND showcase your expertise?
What other ideas do you have to showcase YOUR brilliance? What advice would you give this poor unfocused woman?
Many companies created their Facebook and Twitter accounts because…well, because everyone else was creating a Facebook and Twitter account. Now they sit and wonder what they are supposed to post on the pages and profiles and, more importantly, what the point is for keeping it going. Is there anyone listening to them, and even if they are, what do they do with these social consumers of the content so they will give them money?
If we compare social media to television, radio or other traditional print media, the questions and the approaches are similar. You start with a strategy…a game plan! To build more business, you have to identify the audience or buyer. Where are they and what are the different ways you will reach them? Your next step is to design a plan for each of the avenues.
Placing a single ad in a local paper is not a strategy. It is one piece of an overall strategy. And even before placing an ad in your local newspaper, you would have had a meeting with the ad sales person to find out who reads this paper, what will the ad accomplish, what will the ad look like, what do you want the reader to do after reading it, and how often must you run the ad before seeing results. You would want to know how much the whole campaign would cost BEFORE signing off on the first ad.
Posting on Facebook is not a strategy. Auto-feeding all of your tweets or blog posts to your LinkedIn account or Facebookmprofile is not only NOT a strategy, but it is ineffective and irritating. Facebook, Twitter and any other site, are just tools or pieces of your overall marketing strategy.
Marketing is about raising your brand awareness, building a relationship with people who do not yet buy your product or service, informing those potential consumers on how and why they should work with you and give you those dollars. So to decide which tools you will need and then know what to do with each tool, you need a plan.
Here are 6 questions to help you create a social marketing strategy:
Who is my ideal buyer or target? Be specific. You will most likely NOT reach “the world”. Are you trying to reach business travelers, women executives, sales people, disorganized and busy moms, etc.
Where are these people hanging out or how are they receiving information to make buying decisions. While it’s true that most people are now social consumers, reading review sites and asking their Twitter community for their recommendations for products and services, there are still those that read magazines, listen to drive-time radio or search in the yellow pages…..okay, scratch that last one! The only thing people are using the yellow pages for is a door stop or to boost short dinner guests!
What content will I provide on each platform identified above? Will some platforms tollerate more promotional content than others? What will each audience find interesting enough to engage further with you? (travel tips, discounts, informational video snippets, news, humorous viral videos or photos, photos/ videos of customers engaged with your brand, etc)
What do I want people to do from each platform? Do I just want their likes and comments or am I wanting to drive them to buy something or give me their email address for additional sales/ marketing opportunities? Do I want them to connect with me on additional sites, and if so, how is that site’s content different so there’s a reason to do so?
How often will I drop content on each, and more importantly, who will lead the charge on each platform?
How will I promote each platform and drive the right people to connect with us? How will our inside staff play a role in informing current customers about these platforms? What should they be saying? Do I have the information on signature lines, websites, business cards, etc?
It’s a lot more work than just throwing a promotion up on Facebook, but you may be able to finally see some results for your efforts! Which is really step number 7…measuring your results, but that is another post all together! What are your thoughts or questions? I’d love to hear from you.
And of course, if you are overwhelmed by all of this and want someone to help you, contact me via email or Twitter. Stay connected on our Facebook page for tips and tools for building your business and managing your brand!
For the past few years we have seen the steady growth of companies jumping on the social wagon. From creating Facebook and Twitter accounts that just pump out company information and promotions to campaigns allowing customers to suggest new product and service offerings and rewarding the fans who share stories and videos on the social networks.
Some organizations do nothing but post one or two updates per month while others have jumped into the driver’s seat, leading the pack with customer service representatives answering tweets 24/7 and customers getting replies back to a Foursquare check-in or cross-pollinating by letting Facebook fans know they will find clues on Twitter that end up having them “pin” something using the new social darling, Pinterest for a chance to win big prizes.
In 2011 we saw the adoption of social media by just about every business sector, from hotels, restaurants, and car dealers, to clothing stores, heating and air conditioning contractors, and even funeral homes. If a business serves people, then they were probably creating Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ (now Google My Business) accounts and then trying to build and engage a community. Smart businesses see social media, not as a replacement to traditional sales, marketing, or customer service, but as an extension to their overall customer experience. They see it as another avenue to be out where the consumer is, building relationships, allowing people to get to know, like, and trust them.
This meant businesses started sharing content. They shared tips, tools, and helpful content to attract the savvy smartphone-wielding consumer who was looking to connect. Towards the end of 2011, we started seeing the shift from just pumping content out to the consumer, to getting the customer to engage on and offline. Getting a consumer to participate more by loading videos of their “haul” or “pinning” items they find on a website to Pinterest which then shares to Facebook and Twitter. Well pollinated!
PIN your INTERESTS!
What many businesses still have not figured into the equation is how the consumer has moved into the marketing seat. With hundreds of social review sites like Yelp, Open Table, Trip Advisor, Oink, on top of Facebook, Twitter, and more, consumers are marketing, for or against your business on these sites. Typically the front line staff member of an organization doesn’t realize the level of service they provide will end up in a post on one of these review sites. So how do you influence your social community members to post kindly? Can you influence them at all?
Companies like Walmart engaged some of their influential customers, mommy bloggers, to write reviews of products and “influence” their communities. This third-party (kind of) recommendation of products can greatly influence a community if that community has grown to know, like, and trust the blogger. Mercedes ran contests on Twitter where they selected 3 teams of influencers to drive their car to the Super Bowl and tweet along the way building their teams of online voters in hopes of winning a new ride. The drivers became the marketers, or influencers, drawing others into the Mercedes community. Recently Samuel Gordon’s Jewelers ran a promotion using Facebook, Twitter, their website, and that omnipresent, Pinterest, to get their fans to share pictures of their jewels with their social communities.
If you have nurtured your fan base, providing them with valuable content and promotions they really like, they will be listening when you ask them to pull their friends into your circle.
So where are YOUR customers talking about you and your brand? How do you plan on influencing those influencers out there? Perhaps this should be added to your next marketing meeting. What do you think?
Do you need help getting your social business ready to serve the new social consumer? We would LOVE to help you! Connect with Gina on Twitter or join our DIYsocial Facebook Page where we post helpful tips and tools for using social media to build your business!