Social media marketing is an essential component in any Internet marketing campaign, whether on a local, national or globe scope. It is the platform that allows for business owners to reach out and interact with customers, like-minded consumers, colleagues, top niche influencers and more in a direct manner, all done in real time, while also dovetailing and strengthening SEO efforts. Many businesses of all sizes are already taking advantage of the power of social media marketing. If you’re not, 2012 (now) is a perfect time to start.
Some tips to keep in mind when rounding out and executing your social media marketing campaign are:
Time is Required. Relationships must be built, nurtured and maintained and this takes time. Just like any relationship, you have to put the work in for it to be successful. You can however preschedule some of your posts, set up monitoring and alerts for customer service issues, etc. but you will still need time for live posting and interaction. Showing the human side of your business is very important. This will be a great commitment so structure how and when to dedicate time so you won’t feel lost in a time warp.
Never Rely Solely on Automation. It’s pretty hard to show the human side of your business if you have everything prescheduled and automated and never answer when asked a question, never say anything spontaneous, never comment on a customer’s post at all, never share a picture or video, etc. Social media marketing is not mean to be a new feed only, information dumping ground or anything of the like. While you can set your blog to feed into your Facebook or Twitter business pages, for example, you never want that to be your only source of content. Real interaction from real people is what this is all about.
Customer Service Issues are Your Friend. Another reason to not solely automate is not only because your community will pick up on it quickly, be turned off and leave but that is just not what they are there for. If they want to see your blog or news feed, they’ll sign up for it. Plus if you have a customer service issue addressed on your Facebook page, for example, you want to respond immediately and professionally. It’s a great opportunity to show how dedicated you are to your customers. The entire community will be watching how you respond and how you handle it. When they see you take care of it and turn that customer’s negativity into a positive experience they’ll be more apt to recommend your services or products and help bring in other community members, thus more customers for you. No one expects perfection. But everyone expects responsibility and a solution when something goes wrong. Take advantage of these opportunities when they arise to retain a customer and gain more.
Be Consistent. Creating and sticking to a reasonable editorial calendar and having consistency in your post content is important. It’s part of your branding and the personality of the human side of your business. It gains trust from your community as they start to know what to expect from you and what they can rely on you for. This is part of what gets them to start sharing information about your community and getting others to join.
Promotions Should be Kept to a Minimum While Leveraging Expertise. Social media marketing is not a sales stomping ground. Again, it is about relationships. While it is very much acceptable, and even expected, to share a sale, product launch, coupon, freebie, etc. it is important for that to not be your only content. You should share industry and related tips and tricks with your community, share related personal pictures and videos, have related discussions and much more.
For example, if your business is a recipe and cooking magazine or online site, then why not also tell your community when certain stores (that have nothing to do with your business in any way) have sales on cooking appliances, cutlery, serving dishes, etc. Give party tips and advice. Group recipes for certain holidays and suggest cocktails that would go good with them. Give tips on how to clean the oven if a certain sauce gets spilled, how to get red wine out of the carpet, etc. Anything that is relevant to your business and strengthens and positions you as an expert but keeps your voice consistent and makes you more valuable to your community as a well-rounded, trusted source is what you need to offer.
These tips should give you a solid starting point in creating and managing your social media marketing campaign for 2012. Of course if the task seems overwhelming and too time-consuming (and it can be), we are always here to help you succeed: Social Media Marketing Services