Don’t Get On The Social Band Wagon Without A Plan
In the attempt to take part in new social media marketing opportunities, many well-intentioned businesses jump in too quickly without a well-considered plan other than…to ‘be-there’. With well-intended but misguided early efforts they use social media marketing like traditional marketing, to broadcast their commercial messages, hoping for a new source of exposure. Soon they lose interest in ongoing posts and status updates, resulting in social media stagnation and disappointment.
Initially It Seems Cost Free
Planning for social media marketing should begin as deliberately as planning and maintaining a corporate website. Unlike the expense of developing a website and the costs of ongoing need for search engine optimization and pay-per-click website marketing, social media channels seem to be cost-free which leads to the mistaken belief that there is little consequence if the social networking ‘experiment’ doesn’t yield much.
Begin With Social Media Marketing Goals And Objectives
A company’s social media plan should begin with a credible goal and measurable objectives, which can change over time. Initial metrics can be as simple as gaining Facebook ‘likes’, replies to posts, or numbers of ‘followers’ and ‘connections’. Objectives will soon mature and begin to play a clearer role in affecting key performance indicators…sales leads, revenue increases, customer satisfaction, etc.
Create ‘Valuable’ Content
An often misunderstood principle is the need for value of social media content. Visitors to social media channels want to gain something from the experience. Satisfying this need is referred to as ‘content marketing’ or ‘brand journalism’, written with the primary intent of engaging and informing prospective and existing customers. This doesn’t mean there is no room for an occasional commercial message, but hard-selling is generally considered poor content.
Prospective Customers Want To ‘Buy’…Not Be ‘Sold’ To
The ultimate purpose of social media marketing is to win consumer approval/trust that will lead them to eagerly visit your company website. Here they will signal their buying interest by leaving their name and email address in response to a clearly articulated call-to-action. Remember, prospective customers don’t want to be sold, they want to buy. If your content is well orchestrated, frequent and valuable, readers will be drawn back for more; and over time will make their way to your website and become paying customers.
Your Patience Will Be Rewarded
If the process feels long and frustrating, understand that social media marketing is still a new phenomenon. Concentrate on your business objectives and making the effort to win prospective buyer trust. Your persistence will eventually be well rewarded.