In recent weeks I have had the great pleasure of working with a wide number of start-up businesses and the topic that lights up their eyes is always around Social Media Marketing. Everyone is so excited about it. Two little words that didn’t exist together a couple of years ago are creating a buzz around the world. Suddenly everyone is talking about it and every business wants a piece of it. Social media has now become the holy grail of marketing!
The biggest challenge for business is not whether or not they have a social media platform. It is more a question of which platform do they chose and what do they do when they get there? There are some fundamental questions that businesses can ask themselves in order to make social media work for them to drive their business:
1) Where is my customer? The most common mistake people make is to think that they have to be everywhere. The important thing is to be where your customer is or where your customer expects you to be. Look at all of the options available and choose which one matches your customer and your business needs best. In order to get the most out value out of social media you need to ensure that you invest your time in the places where you can get most return. Therefore, let your customer guide you to where that is.
2) Why am I here? Establish your business objective for each social media platform you have chosen. Is it customer service, selling on line, encouraging off line sales, creating sales leads, developing relationships, rewarding loyal customers, providing promotional offers? Know why you are there so you can measure your return on investment in the activity. Measuring return on investment for social media is simply calculating the investment of your time and money versus the revenue you receive as a result of that investment.
3) What am I talking about? While advertising talks at people, social media is about creating a conversation. In order to do this you need to create interesting content to engage your customers into a conversation. Think of it like going to a pub in the evening. If you stand there and only give a sales pitch to the people you meet they will get bored of you and move on to someone more interesting. If you have stories that are of interest to them they will stay with you longer. If you buy them a drink they may like you even more. Simply, put your customer, their needs and interests at the heart of your social media strategy.
4) Who is talking? One of the areas that people find difficult is deciding on the tone of voice they should use in their social media. This decision is really no different than the choice you make in the off-line world. Use the tone of voice that is appropriate to your brand and your customer. If your brand is quirky and funny, then the tone of voice of your social media is the same. If your tone is professional and serious, then that is the voice you use on social media. Remember you are creating a personification of your brand so be clear on what that means to you and how you want that to translate to your target market.
5) How much time am I spending? We can often get lost in the world of social media and it can take up an inordinate amount of time in our day. Decide how much time you are going to spend on this activity and stick to it. Measure the amount of time you spend so you can evaluate the return on investment of that time. I often advise my clients to create a content calendar so that rather than sitting down each day pondering what to write. Create a bank of material that you can use over a period of time. Social media needs to be responsive and spontaneous but you can alleviate the daily pressure through content planning.
To find out more about how you can develop your social media strategy email firstname.lastname@example.org
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