A Forbes study recently found that nine out of every 10 customers expect an open line of communication between customers and companies on Facebook. However, only one out of four companies actually accomplishes this relatively simple task. Is it any wonder that 90 percent of companies fail in the first five years?
Your social media marketing presence is no longer a luxury that you can take or leave at your personal convenience. Customers expect real-time service, CRM and sales access. However, you can actually use this increased demand for perfection to your business advantage if you dive into the gunk of social media marketing. Learning the ropes of social media marketing also improves operating costs of your business.
Here are top social media marketing tips from the profiles and case studies of established Fortune 500 companies.
Create Your Intraweb of Major Social Media Profiles.
Each of the major social media platforms provides different incentives to join. Facebook is a cost-effective customer relations management platform. LinkedIn gives you immediate access to a network of potential contacts for business expansion and B2B sales. Twitter offers real-time analysis of industry trends and a simple aggregation of citations aimed at your company.
Positioning yourself with a properly maintained profile on all of these sites gives your company access to a world of data about your target market. More importantly, your target market gains access to you. The modern consumer is quite obsessed with the authenticity of the company that he or she patronizes. Millennials especially like to know that your company is transparent, open and willing to talk. For example: Consumers are 72 percent more likely to make a purchase from a company after that customer interacts with that company on Twitter.
Create a profile of each of these major social media platforms with an eye to the demographic information of each platform. Business Insider has a wonderful breakdown of the audience that you can expect to interact with on each major social media platform. There is no need to operate within a space that does not attract your target market; this only creates additional maintenance for you without an appropriate return on investment.
Ideally, each of the profiles that you create will have links other profiles. This intra-web of profiles provides your customers with a sense of stability and gives them a notion of transparency. Your customers will spend longer periods of time with you online because of the convenient connections that you make between profiles.
Do Not Forget Smaller, Industry Specific Social Media Sites.
If your industry has smaller, niche oriented websites with credibility, add them into the intra-web of profiles that you are creating above. Although many of the smaller websites do not have automated connections with the larger social media websites, a good social media marketing partner will give you a convenient way to add the smaller websites.
Keep in mind that websites often feed content into the larger social media websites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. If your business is small and not established online, you will have a harder time breaking through the noise of constant posts, tweets and blogs if you do not come through the gateway of established profiles or receive a push from the social media network itself. You are more likely to get this push if you catch the attention of a top industry blogger or social bellwether on a smaller social media site. Your content then comes into the major social media websites with the support of your industry community. The likes and reposts will gain the attention of the distribution network itself, improving your chances for a push to the front page or some other distinction.
Every major social media website runs at least one column of important news items on or near its front page. Within these columns, news items are often separated by industry. Appearing here raises your visibility without the stigma of having to advertise your services directly.
You can create news within your industry through the niche website gateway strategy mentioned above. Try to get in touch with reputable and influential kingmakers in your industry on smaller social media websites, not on the large social media websites. Your company may also find itself in the news items if it follows a trend within your industry or relates to a celebrity within your industry. You may achieve this status through properly organized and cited blog content on a self managed page or on the forums of a niche-oriented industry website. Do everything that you possibly can to distribute your own content among these outlets, but do not be afraid to hand over the Herculean task of distribution to a reputable third-party.
Create Quality Content.
Every successful social media marketing campaign contains a completely organic and natural component of word-of-mouth. There are no tricks that can sustain this kind of public relations. Once you have done everything that you possibly can to get the message out, the bottom line is making sure that your core product or service is the best. This is the greased lightning that will create true customers out of people who only came to your website because of your familiarity with social media marketing techniques.