If you are like most business owners, your email inbox is probably barraged daily with invites for pricey social media marketing seminars and pitches outlining why you need to contact “ABC Marketing Firm” for help. Now, it’s also probably true that you have thought, “How is [insert social platform here] going to help my business? Isn’t it just a bunch of people posting pictures of their cats?”
Let’s bust that myth right now. The keyword in social media marketing (SMM) might be social. However, SMM, if done correctly, can be an integral part of a company’s business-to-business and business-to-consumer marketing strategy. But in order to have an impact, your company can’t engage in SMM haphazardly — you need a strategy, a message and consistency — without this, you will not see any results.
Strategy: Timely Information, Education & Engagement
You need to understand the principles behind an effective SMM campaign to be successful. These points include:
SMM is all about user engagement. It’s about client and prospect outreach — you want to educate your audience about your service, industry or vertical. However, it is not a 24/7 commercial about you. Your audience doesn’t want to hear about you non-stop.
Consider the 80/20 rule: Spend 80 percent of your time educating and engaging with your audience and 20 percent of your time talking about your business. If this ratio is out of balance and it’s too much “me, me, me” be prepared to have your “likes” turn into dislikes.
Think of yourself as a publisher. To truly become a thought leader in your business, publishing and understanding what content is important to your audience is key. Ultimately, you are starting a conversation. Answer the questions, “What does my audience find interesting? What is important to them?”
For instance, if you are a support services contractor appealing to oil and gas companies, provide fuel-saving tips for trucks and equipment. Sure, it sounds like you might be talking yourself out of business — but trust in the fact that by keeping current customers informed, they will refer you to others.
Consistency, Timeliness and Focus: Why it Matters
A successful SMM campaign needs consistency and planning. Hopping on Facebook or sending off a Tweet because you have a few extra minutes is not strategy. Keep these ideas in mind:
Your business does not have to be on every social network. Identify the networks where your customers or prospects frequent. For instance, if your company appeals primarily to the end consumer, such as a homeowner, get active on Facebook. If your business’ focus is on establishing B2B relationships, head over to LinkedIn or Twitter and start networking with organizations or professionals who are influencers. This will help you get the most out of your efforts.
- Employ an editorial calendar. It can be tricky even for professional marketers to come up with status updates or a blog entry on the fly — and that is why most SMM experts endorse the use of editorial calendars. When you plan your content in advance you can do effective research as to what is important, changing needs, even what’s going on seasonally — and this will deliver impact. The alternative is posting on whatever errant thought is in your head, which is not strategic and will not be noticed by your audience.
In closing, social media is an important brand-building tool that every business owner must use. It provides opportunity for word-of-mouth marketing on steroids, and there is no better way to get out your message, while staying in a customer’s mind.
About the Author
Amanda E. Clark is the president and editor-in-chief of Grammar Chic Inc., a full-service professional writing company. She is a published ghostwriter and editor, and currently under contract with literary agencies in Malibu, Calif., and Dublin, Ireland.
Since founding Grammar Chic in 2008, Clark, along with her team of skilled professional writers, has offered expertise to clients in the creative, business and academic fields. The company accepts a wide range of projects and often engages in content and social media marketing, drafts resumes, press releases, Web content, marketing materials and ghostwritten creative pieces.
Contact Clark at www.grammarchic.net.