Social Media Marketing

Do you leverage Social Media Marketing (SMM) to engage with customers on-line?
A. What the heck is Social Media?
B. We’re still trying to figure out if there is something to it.
C. We have commenced some Social Media marketing … but we are struggling to gain any momentum or traction.
D. We use Social Media Marketing to create awareness and to communicate with customers and potential customers … with some success.
E. We proactively leverage Social Media Marketing to create awareness and to communicate with customers and potential customers, to build relationships, strengthen our brand and image, to network on-line … to communicate interactively.
[Score:  A=0, B=1, C=2, D=3 and E=4]
Why is this question important?

Social media marketing simply refers to the process of attracting website traffic or attention through social media sites. Social media marketing can be an excellent vehicle for developing online brand awareness, customer engagement, and audience growth. This requires a solid, measurable plan and a commitment to developing consistent and valuable content. In addition, it’s crucial for you to have a clear understanding of why social can be useful for reaching your business goals.

Social media marketing programs usually centre on efforts to generate content that attracts attention and encourages readers to share it with their social networks.  A corporate message spreads from user to user and presumably resonates because it seems to come from a trusted, third-party source, as opposed to the brand or company itself.

This form of marketing is driven by word-of-mouth, resulting in earned media rather than being paid for.

Goals

It is impossible to reach and attain a goal without defining exact specifics. Too many business owners let social metrics define their goals, such as “More Twitter Followers”, “More Fans on Facebook”, “More YouTube Views.”

You need to go a step beyond to define specific, actionable, and (most importantly) reasonable SMM goals. Here are some specific SMM goals you might use after completing your business review:

  • Validate a new product or service using social as a research platform.
  • Develop buzz and interest around a new product.
  • Engage users in social to generate relevant and targeted traffic to your site.
  • Gain market share by leading customer/client service through social.
  • Generate registrations to branded events through social.

One of the keys to ensuring your success in social is to create and implement a voice that resonates with your specific target audience. For each audience type, break down and research age, income, location, and reasons for possibly buying your products/services.

SMM Tools

Choosing your social tools appropriately is an essential piece of your online communications plan, so choose wisely. Let’s do a short review of the leading social sites to assist you in your selection:

  • Facebook: More than 955 million users. Majority between 18-25; 60 percent female. Best opportunity for community building with customers.
  • Twitter: More than 555 million users. Majority between 26-34; 57 percent female. Best tool for interacting in real-time.
  • Google Plus+: More than 170 million users. Majority between 26-34; 63 percent male. Platform for driving visibility around a brand.
  • LinkedIn: More than 150 million users. Majority between 26-34, directly followed by 35-44. The number one B2B social networking tool.
  • Pinterest:  More than 12 Million Users. Majority between 26-44; 68 percent female. A viral platform for sharing stories via pictures.

Plan and implement

Next the tough challenge – finding, creating, and delivering engaging social media content. Social media execution can be daunting, but with a proper plan it is doable and can drive real (marketing) results.

What you need to define:

  • Your frequency of content delivery & response to social engagement.
  • Your types and specific topics for content creation.
  • Ways to increase audience engagement.
  • Events that can drive social.
  • Your social success metrics (number of followers, number of fans, volume of traffic back to site, number of retweets, etc.