Social media is not a fad; it is now a fact of life online. And it’s not just for 20-somethings; it is popular with all age groups and businesses. Social media is about helping you to market your products, professional services or nonprofit cause. Naturally the first step is to plan your social media marketing to fit your goals, then learn and begin to use social media sites, then consolidate your online marketing with your other efforts. But why?
Wide Range of Benefits from Social Media
Social media lets you showcase yourself with “clients, prospects” and the press. You can stay in close touch at no cost, particularly if you increase your site’s visibility by making it appealing to search engines. Social media is not just for the young and it is not a fad. People of all ages use it, and the platform is expanding. Multiply your impact by following the “RESULTS” guidelines:
- “Recommit to marketing” – Your previous marketing efforts did not work? Try again.
- “Expect success” – Optimists win; pessimists lose
- “Seek partners” – This could be someone you hire, a friend or a relative.
- “Understand your audience” – Focus on what your prospects want to buy, not what you hope to sell.
- “Look for win-win scenarios” – For example, a lawyer and a CPA could present a joint seminar for small business owners on a topic where both have expertise.
- “Take strategic action” – Plan your activities based on the targets you want to reach.
- “Stay visible” – Maintain a constant presence online.
Getting Started with Social Media
Begin with a SWOT analysis: List your “strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.” Then develop a business plan that targets your “top three business goals.” Align your marketing plans with your objectives and your “target audience.” Be sure you pinpoint the right audience for your products or services. Set priorities. Define “your transformative value,” that is, the way you solve your customers’ problems. Define the “irresistible difference” that makes your offering special.
To succeed on the Internet, you must find your “true voice” and use it to tell your “real story.” Discover your true voice by paying attention to how you speak and the specific words you use. Ask your clients, employees and friends to describe you and your business or practice. Write down the nouns and verbs they use, and put these words to work in your online communications. Your real story could be about you, your firm, your products or services, and case studies that demonstrate the benefits your customers receive. Everyone loves stories. Make sure you have good ones to tell online. Your voice and your story support your branding by flagging the elements that make you special. Add the right “tagline or slogan,” logo, “30-second elevator speech,” and online and offline communications. Make sure your social media profiles match your brand.
To develop your specific social media-marketing plan, set up five columns of information. List your objectives, target audiences, current marketing actions, costs and the social media you plan to use in marketing your business or practice. Now that you have a clearer picture of what you are working with, evaluate your current marketing activities. Do they make sense? Are they efficient and cost effective? Social media is “free” in terms of sign-up cost, but it is not free regarding your time. Develop a marketing budget listing the funds required and the time you will need to spend. Make your marketing action plan detailed enough to be productive. Break each task into action steps like these:
- Target three social media sites that your customers use. Read their terms of service.
- See how your competitors present themselves on these sites.
- Prepare a digital photo, biography, and “links to your website and blog.”
- Check out the groups on the sites that relate to your expertise.
- Sign up and create pages about yourself on each site.
- Upload appropriate content, for example, “articles, news items, tips, forum questions, photos” and other information.
- Each day, ask 30 people to become followers, and add new content twice weekly
Remember Be Prepared for Social Media
Social media can send people to your website, so make sure it is ready for a bigger audience. Is your site clean, clear and up to date? Does it showcase you and your company? Use RSS to feed your Twitter and blog content, your podcasts and your online videos to your website. Audio Acrobat lets you create a personal audio greeting that you can embed in your site.
All the different ways you can use social media to connect with prospects allow you to build trust and spark sales. Social media enables the most effective selling technique: the relationship-building soft sell.
If you are unsure how social media help your business, simply ask Alex!
Digital Marketing Analytics
Digital Analytics is ready to help. Whatever your business goals, you’ll find powerful insights into which campaigns really drive visits, sales and other actions from your users. Read our guide on using digital marketing analytics for your business.