If you have been sitting on the sideline watching the growth of social media unfold, then it’s time to get into the game. Facebook just celebrated 10 years in business in February. Its 2013 annual revenue is estimated at $8 billion. Social media is no longer something your business can ignore. Your business can’t afford to ignore social media any longer. Ramp up your first marketing campaign on social media with these suggestions:
Define Your Strategy
Social Media Examiner notes that there are five areas in which you need to be successful in your social media efforts:
- Get a better understanding of your customers by listening to them through the social media channels.
- Deliver your company brand and goals through social media.
- Identify your brand enthusiasts and engage them to help carry your message out to others.
- Discover how to use social media to enable customers to help each other.
- Include customers in your product life cycle through their ideas and tips.
All of your social media efforts can be evaluated based on how successful they are in achieving these five goals.
Define Your Niche
Don’t flood all of the major social media channels with your message until you have a good understanding of how they work. Start by picking one of the top four platforms — Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ — based on what your customer demographics are. Define who your typical customer is and research where they might be found on these platforms.
For example, if you are a B2B operation, then LinkedIn may be the place to connect with other businesses. If you manufacturer products for use in households with children, Facebook is the place to be. It supports millions of members who use Facebook to stay connected with friends and family.
Create Your Message
This is where you have a chance to promote your brand and connect with your customers. As with other marketing efforts, tailor your message to the market segment you wish to target. You can reach the working mom, the executive who travels constantly and the sports fan through your social media channel.
A popular message is one that involves lifestyle. How does the consumer use your product or services to benefit their lives? Engage your customer to tell you how they use it. This extends your message to your customer’s own networks as they share the message.
Engage Your Customers With Your Message
Get consumers involved and they will share your brand. The Next Web reports how Frito Lay held a marketing campaign on Facebook to ask consumers to come up with the next big chip flavor. The winner received a cash prize and the idea made it into the Lay’s product cycle. This campaign got consumers involved, encouraged them to spread the word, and created a two-way communication channel where Lay’s could hear what’s on their minds.
The Miami Herald makes note of a local convenience store owner who sends a message out on Twitter to his 7,000 followers about the latest craft beer he has just stocked. Customers show up in the afternoon to buy. The owner has branded his four stores as a place to go for more than just a tank of gas. The result is higher profit margins from the shop than at the pump.
Patience and Consistency
Once your message is out, watch and evaluate responses while you’re working on your next campaign. The social media world moves quickly and you need to be aware and ready to react. Get a good laptop to check in on your campaign frequently throughout the day.
You also want to schedule frequent updates to your social media channels to keep them fresh and to keep the customers coming back to see what you have to say next. This creates the body of followers who are key to keeping your social media efforts alive and effective.