Social media is not new by any means; it has been around since roughly the mid to late nineties and began with a now little-known network called MySpace.
Now, this is not to say that there were not attempts at social media before MySpace, but they were mostly scattered, some offering better features than others.
Something very important to understand about social networking, is that it attempts to unite users under one roof, allowing them an easier way to communicate.
In the past, we used instant messengers and e-mail, but services like Facebook have made it possible to have all of those things in one location. In other words, Facebook is what people pictured the internet being like when they first signed on.
In some ways, Facebook IS the internet today. There are multiple layers to the social networking giant, the first and most obvious one being the pandering to the users.
On the next level however you have advertising and marketing which serve as an asset to nearly every business in existence today. If you’re not on Facebook, no one knows who you are, and the same goes for all of the different social media outlets.
You need to establish a presence, and you need to make sure that presence is known. It’s not going to be easy, after all, there are a ton of other businesses out there trying to do the exact same thing you’re doing now, but that doesn’t mean it has to be hard.
Let’s start be discussing some of the social media options you have at your disposal.
Your Social Media Options
To start, understand there are several social media platforms and each one of them is different, though they all try to accomplish the same thing: communication.
Here are a few of the most prominent in today’s world:
Facebook – There is no one alive right now that hasn’t heard of Facebook, even if they’re not actively using it. Facebook is widely considered the replacement for MySpace and has evolved considerably since its creation. Originally serving only Harvard University, it has expanded and become the standard in social networking all over world.
Twitter – Though limited in the amount of characters you can type (140) there are countless applications for Twitter. For example, you can actually direct your tweets to mobile phones, and all of your posts to Twitter can be sent to your Facebook feed. This interconnectivity allows for posts across multiple platforms, making it easier to get the word out than ever before.
Pinterest – Rather than being a platform for text communication, Pinterest can be used to share images, and a company can surely take advantage of this platform to share pictures of their latest products if they so desire. It is less used than the other networks perhaps, but it is definitely beneficial in many ways.
YouTube – This isn’t a social site, but rather a place to host videos. Because the space is unlimited, you can use it as a hosting site and take advantage of their bandwidth rather than hosting videos on your own.
Google Plus – This option features far more video and social capabilities than the others and even integrates with gmail. It, however, is not quite as widely used outside of business and certain social groups. Something to keep in mind is that Google is planning to release a videoconferencing starter kit that integrates with G+ for about $999.
These are the major social networks, and now that you know of them, how do you leverage them?
How do you make sure that you’re ready to influence the social world and promote your product like never before?
Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
Honing Your Social Media Marketing Strategy
Before you can start promoting your product via social media, there are a few questions that you will want to answer:
- Are you promoting a product, or is it a service?
- What is your target demographic?
- Does your target demographic use the internet?
- Are you trying to sell online?
- How easy is it to purchase your product/service online?
Promoting a product and a service are two very different things. One is a tangible object, and in the other, you are selling yourself. Neither one of these are going to be easy, for example, if you are selling a product, you need to demonstrate that the product is better than any alternatives on the market, and you need to show that it is something built to last or at least get the job done.
Before you begin, try to think of three positive things about your product, and perhaps three things that make it worth buying. This will go a long way toward helping you to build a good social media campaign.
If you are selling a service on the other hand, you will want to make sure to have the knowledge, the education, and the skills required to execute that service properly. As an added bonus, make sure that your employees have the skills as well.
Now, what does all of this have to do with your social media campaign exactly? Yes, that’s the big question, isn’t it? Well, it has more to do with it than you think. You are working on building a presence, and you want your presence to be authoritative. You can only accomplish this if you know what you are doing, and are able to convey a sense that you know what you are doing.
It’s all about confidence in your ability, and if you have that, you’re golden.
So what strategy will you use exactly?
- Paid Promotions – One of the quickest ways for you to be noticed on social media is to actually take advantage of paid promotions. This is a great ay way for you to build your business, though it will obviously cost a bit of money. Your advertisements will show up in the sidebars, or in some cases, directly in the feeds of users.
- Word of Mouth – In the event you do not want to pay for your promotions, you have the option of using word of mouth, which can be very effective if you leverage it properly. There are a few things you need to understand about word of mouth first.
- Users can share the posts you make on your page to their own page, a friend’s page, or a group that they frequent.
- Users who comment or like your photos will automatically have that post visible in their feed.
- Friends of the users who like your posts can see the like and may come to investigate.
Taking those last three points from the ‘word of mouth’ section into account, it would be a good idea to make sure that your page privacy settings are not secured to the point that no one can share your posts. Even if you are going the route of paid promotions, there is still a chance that you will experience some word of mouth advertisement – that is the consequence of actually having a good product.
Leveraging Social Marketing Strategies
There are a few marketing strategies that you might consider when you are leveraging your social media accounts, and we will start by discussing the types of promotional pages you could consider when you create a Facebook account.
A Facebook group is without a doubt one of the greatest way to unite users and get the discussion going. With this, you will create what equates to a room on Facebook open to members, which can either be approved by users or group administrators only. There are some problems with the concept of a Facebook group, however.
- Facebook groups are not good for advertisement, though they are good for one on one communication with your customers.
- Groups do not allow different levels of administration, meaning all group admins have the same permission level. I.e., a disgruntled employee could steal your group and ride off into the sunset.
- Unless a user shares your post, it will not be seen outside of the group.
Due to these three points, a Facebook group will not be useful for advertising, but it will be useful for more personal levels of communication.
Here we have what would be considered the cream of the Facebook advertising crop. A Facebook page allows you to post announcements directly to your users, clients, and customers, and the best part is that they do not have to request to join. Simply clicking ‘like’ will allow them to see the posts in their feed. The best part is that they do not need to like or follow the page in order to visit it and see the posts – everything is public, as it should be. In addition, all posts can be shared and commented on unless you disable such actions.
When you create a Facebook page you will be asked for which purpose you are creating it, and you are presented with several different options. This includes several options, such as personal, business, music, etc. Choosing the right page type is important as it can affect your advertising.
Another note on Facebook pages that we find particularly important is that of demographics. When you start a page, so long as you hold a minimum amount of members, you will be able to check analytics and see where the majority of your traffic is coming from, their gender, age range, and most importantly, how they landed on your page. Understanding how they came to your page will be very helpful. It will tell you what avenues of advertisement you need to focus on more.
This is something you may struggle with at first and it can be very difficult to simply abandon an advertising method after you have put a considerable amount of money and work into it.
Still, it is better to cut your losses in some cases than to continue on, knowing that a strategy is useless.
Targeted Social Media Marketing Campaigns
If you want to target a more specific audience, perhaps based upon a list of existing customers or even a list of leads that you purchased from a research firm, you do have the option of using the Audiences tool, which is still available in Facebook.
Something to keep in mind is that you must specify a minimum number of people in order to launch the campaign, partially thanks to people pranking one another with oddly specific banner advertisements, but you will have control over most other parts of the campaign, fortunately.
By using a targeted campaign, you will be able to create your own advertisement graphics and display whatever you wish on the user’s screen as they are browsing Facebook. Fortunately, this type of advertising is fairly cheap, and is definitely something that you should consider if you are trying to reach out to very specific customers.
Using Twitter for SMS Marketing Strategies
While Facebook advertising is certainly helpful, you should consider Twitter and SMS based advertising. SMS advertising is not knew in marketing strategies, but it has changed a bit. With Twitter, you have more of an opt-in system going on as users will not only need to like your page, they will need to enable SMS notifications for your particular feed.
It is difficult to know which users have enabled SMS, so it is best to assume that all of them have done so.
When you are sending out advertisements either as Tweets or linked Facebook posts, you should take into consideration a number of things:
When are you Sending the Post? – If you are sending it too early it will not be seen, but if you send it at peak times, you might have a chance of conversion. For example, if you are running a restaurant, always make sure to advertise at lunch and dinnertime to remind people on the got that they have a great option for mealtime.
Another consideration, as an example, would be an auto parts dealer. As it gets closer to winter, you can send out reminders for clients or potential customers to winterize their vehicles. This type of not so subtle ad placement will remind people that you exist, and you might be exactly what they were looking for.
How Often are you Sending the Post? – While your customers might want to hear from you, they don’t want to hear from you too often. Try to watch how often you are sending things, and make sure it is at a reasonable time. The last thing you ever want is to be considered spam. It’s hard to unring that bell.
Is the Post Relevant? – The last thing we will mention in this section is the importance of making relevant posts. You need to make sure that everything is relevant to your target audience, and to determine this, you are obviously going to need the demographics. That, however, is an entirely different story.
Social media is a great way to spread the word about your product, and when used correctly, it will get you more conversions than you ever dreamed of.
Start looking into it today and make sure that your company is ready for the world of tomorrow.