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Successful Social Media Marketing (SMM)
“Social media marketing refers to the process of gaining website traffic or attention through social media sites.” We couldn’t have said it better than this quote taken from Mashable. We believe that it is a good idea to maintain and keep up a social media presence for the majority of business we deal with today. Here is why. We’ve seen a number of statistics that say approximately 45-55% of sales are directly affected by social media information and shares – 80% of users trust a company more if they know they are on social media. That stats are debatable, yet the increasing influence of social networks is a given.
Google and Bing both confirmed that social influence played a role in search results. The concept of a “social” search is becoming more real by the day. An example of a social search is if you are logged into Google, your page may show results in your search that are recommended by your friends. If you search for shoes, you may see a range of running and hiking shoes if your friends have posted about these activities, whereas I might see business and casual shoes – our results are different and directly influences by our social networks.
We Believe That:
“The ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones that do.”
“Don’t be afraid to get creative & experiment with your marketing.”
– Mike Volpe (HubSpot)
Aspects of Social Media Marketing
Social Marketing Overview
One of the first things to do before embarking on a social media campaign is to do your research. Where are your clients? What networks are they engaging on? Most likely, it will be the top ones: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+ with Instagram (a Facebook property) climbing (though not listed here – personally we love and recommend Yelp marketing). You do want to look specifically at your client’s persona though. Are they nerdish and into tech? You might find them in Google+ circles. Are they into recipes and food? Maybe Pinterest is the best choice. Find the network your key audience is on for the best most targeted results. Also, ask yourself if social media marketing is really going to be the best use of your time and energy- can you get results there? Then make sure you already have your master website or hub pumped and ready to go for the new traffic. Just like you would before you start spending money on paid advertising, don’t spend your energy on social networks if the rest of your properties lack. Successful wants to encourage you to concentrate on developing yourself first, and to join social media once you are ready. We recommend social media, but also note statistics we see quite often; 57% of marketers either don’t think their Facebook posts make a difference, or aren’t sure (Mashable). So take care of the central, then build up your social.
A quick note on using social media as your main master or hub website – think twice about this. We do not recommend it. The reason is simple and it is called sharecropping. When you post content and create a business on a social media site (Facebook is the main one people are tempted to do this on) you do NOT own your business page. The social media site does. They own your content, control it, benefit from it, and can delete it. What if the social media site makes a policy change that conflicts with your business model (this has happened many times) and they remove your site? We are not against creating a business presence on social networks that funnel to your master site – usually that is a smart strategy. However, to put your entire business there is crazy. Bottom line: Own your own business, own your content, and own your master web presence; don’t give ownership of your dream to another company.
Facebook and Twitter, as the best known, have the biggest and broadest audiences, whereas the others are a bit more specialized or have a reputation for a specific audience or content style. Each requires a different touch and a modified strategy. It’s probably not advisable to market on LinkedIn in the same way you would on Pinterest or Instagram, yet you might be able to work similarly within those two, and Google+ would have closer ties with LinkedIn. Furthermore, you will want to note that many of these sites attract a specific style of user persona. For example, a title search for LinkedIn brings up “LinkedIn: World’s Largest Professional Network” whereas a search for Pinterest brings up “20 Most Popular Halloween Costumes on Pinterest”. Clearly there is a difference in the audience you’ll find, so you will want to know who your audience is and then market to them accordingly. Don’t jump into every social media site at your start. Instead, concentrate on the most influential one or two. Also, keep in mind many times we recommend looking at even smaller niche social sites like forums, wikis, discussions groups, or social networks (we can build one for you) targeted just for your specific product type. Advantages include: less noise, less competition, and a more focused audience. Imagine that when marketing your “Yellow Widget” product you come across an active forum of three thousand people called yellowwidgetlovers.com. You might do well to concentrate some energy there. What if you came across several yellow widget Meetup clubs? That would be an ideal social place to market. Social is bigger than just the top ten sites, a Successful partner keeps that in mind.
General Rules of Social Engagement
Social media is here to stay and can be quite valuable if used and related to correctly. Many of these sites are places for creating and developing relationships. The relationship is sacred, so you want to treat them as such, just like you would with your friends on your personal social pages. They are your friends, fans, and family, so treat them with love, compassion, and respect or stay off entirely. Also, know that your actions on social can and will affect your sales as well as your reputation. A mantra for SM = Give Value. With that in mind, consider the following:
Connect to the people you consider to be potential friends. Just as your brand has a personality, or should, you will want to align with similar, like- minded people. Look at your suggested friends list and do a keyword search to find more people to like and follow. Be friendly, personable, and real. Don’t be too aggressive or weird, unless maybe you are a horror movie or that is your brand personality.
Watch, listen, learn, and endorse. Watch the people you follow and see how they interact. Learn the social rules and mores and then engage appropriately. Avoid bad behavior and always give value. Don’t be frugal with your endorsements and give them with honesty and love, but don’t overdo it or over “like”. Pay verbal compliments on occasion or make a valuable comment. Comments are key and are what make social systems work, so make sure to be active, positive, and helpful. Answer questions about your products and respond to criticisms with your company voice always defaulting to positive. Take any serious negative comments offline if possible.
Try to post regularly and consistently in your visits, tone, and message. It’s best to post 1 to 2 times a day and please, please do not over-post. Post information that matters and will be interesting to your audience, as well as reflective of your brand’s style. If you are a store selling spiritual products, post an inspiration quote or idea every so often. If you are a sportscaster, post an insight on a player or game. Keep it interesting and fun. Don’t forget to respond to comments.
Do your best to connect with the influencers in your industry congruently and supportively. Notice the aggregators and the conversationalist types and court them as well. Seek out those that can help you, who you find interesting, worthy of friendship and help them yourself. Give value. Join groups that make sense and interact fully in those communities. Study your competition just like you would with keyword research; Find out where their community and friend hang out and go there. Research and interact in the trending larger dialogues to which you can relate.
Be prepared to spend some time. Be present. Follow and like back.
Do not sell or be pushy with your products. Social media is not the place for that. If you have to, and we want you to resist this, soft selling is best. Or, better yet, sell through an ad. That is the place for that, and not on your page. No hard product pitching.
General Page Advice
Have a professional design. This means having an attractive professional header with something relevant to the time. You may want to switch this out on occasion to keep your page fresh. The same goes for your profile picture – in both cases make sure that the images are appropriate and reinforce your brand style. This also means that you should use high quality images that you own.
Remember your content marketing and use that when you create your profile. Do not forget to link back to your master site. Be professional, speak in your voice, and speak to the audience specific to the network you are on. Keep that in mind for any postings you write – know your audience. Keep things brief.
Make sure to include information so that people can find you. Include your address, links to your site(s), an email sign- up, and other conversion points. You want to make it as easy as possible for people to engage with you.
Make sure to be transparent as much as you can. Part of social media theory is an opportunity to really get to know someone. If they like you they will want to know you. Honesty and transparency is a way to build trust. It may sometimes be risky, but it is often best to admit if you make a mistake and here is a place to do it.
Have a guide and rules for your employees. Leverage your employees and team. All departments can really assist your page and company goals by playing a positive part in your social media strategy. Don’t make it a rule, but encourage them to help share comments and guide the company in their methods. They are part of your Success and can help here. Have clear guidelines about negative expressions as well.
A Successful web strategy is one that is integrated. In today Techonomy an integrated digital marketing effort requires that all the pieces work together to reach and convert your businesses sales and marketing goal across all available channels and opportunities. The presence and ubiquity of your brand is key as is the components of the brand itself with authority and trust. All these circle like the spokes of a wheel to the hub itself – your master website where you communicate, grow and convert your traffic.
Each partner may have different strengths and weakness as well as ways and formats that best fit their profile. All of it; the website itself, e-commerce aspects, print and traditional marketing, online marketing and content marketing as well as SEO / SEM / PPC / Mobile marketing, Social Networks and analytical evaluations work to create one integrated brand strategy. Working together to help a new product launch, customer retention, lead generation and the brand awareness get the company it conversions as well as the relationships it needs to thrive. After all the name of the game for most companies is the ability to grow and be profitable as well as have an effect.
Combining these elements is crucial to your and our Success. By doing so you maximize your online presence and visibility to the clients that coupled with a good analytics program to continually optimize your efforts is going to lead to higher conversions and growth. Everything and every part in sync is the way to go and for most having a good mix of all aspects is the answer. This is not to say start small and add in parts like paid advertising once you have Success and bring in profitability we all have to do that. Yet to look at the big picture and to project your 10 steps ahead lucrative company will is to have the cause and effect in mind that will bring you that. Almost like the law of attraction by realizing and planning for our Success we began to bring it to us. It is important then to take the time to do your yearly online marketing audits to make sure everything is working in concert. It is important to look at your master destination and make sure the structure, look and feel all lead to trust and authority. Trust and authority are the hot words in content marketing and online marketing in general these days and they remain true. Start with these basic goals with your master site and then add more and more of these other driving aspect to reach that optimized integration that is your true empowered Success.
Integrate and Optimize
To have a Successful web strategy solution today it is essential that you are integrated. Many of our services are part of the whole picture and combining these elements is crucial for your bottomline. Follow the links below to understand more fully what these are and how they / we can serve you.