My dad, who owns, among other businesses, a moving company in the Boston area, recently asked me what it is exactly that I do: social media marketing and search engine optimization. He asked me to make him a proposal, and he told me about another social media company that recently approached him. “What can you offer me that they can’t?”

I looked into what this other company does, and I found that what they offer lacks one key point that will make or break a campaign: finding an audience.

If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around to hear it, does it even make a sound? If you’re pumping out content – on your blog, on Twitter, on Facebook, on Youtube, – will anyone see it if they don’t know you’re there?

Enter Margelit, with a background in cold calling sales. I know that people need to be messaged, emailed, SMSed, personally called, if you want them to join your cause. I’ve had clients come to me, frustrated that social media has done nothing for them, incensed at their current or past social media managers for building and hoping they will come, whoever “they” are.

It just doesn’t work that way.

If you’re putting in the time, effort, and funds to create an online presence, you’d better be putting just as much into reaching your audience.

That means:

1. Running in-depth searches for your target audience
I just started an ongoing Facebook campaign for a girls seminary in Israel. A big chunk of my time – besides finding, creating and posting valuable content – goes into finding religious, English-speaking high school girls on Facebook. I put them all into a spreadsheet to keep track of my progress in reaching them.

2. Sending them individual, personalized messages
Yes, you can use a template. But you must use their names. And you must make it relevant to them.
This means that if someone’s registered for Yom Kippur, don’t use the Rosh Hashana template. It means that if they bought the diamond ring, don’t thank them for their recent purchase of sapphire studs.

3. Offering incentives for joining/buying/liking/visiting
This can be as simple as letting them know what they’ll get out of liking your fanpage. In the girls seminary’s case, that’s weekly Torah portion updates, and pics and videos of the girls at the school. If you sell a product, it’s sneak previews of the latest products, it’s discounts, giveaways, etc.

4. Continuing with personalized interaction
If someone has a birthday, write a birthday message on their wall. Offer them a discount, or even a virtual cupcake. Something to warm their hearts to your brand. If they post something relevant to what you do, comment, share, like. Interact!

Social media is not about blasting whatever you have to everyone. It’s about strengthening relationships, building trust and brand recognition, and drawing people to your website or blog, where you make the sale. Above all, people want to feel like they’re interacting with a human being, not a sales campaign.

This all takes time. One of the biggest misconceptions about social media is that a volunteer can do it in her spare time (for nonprofits) or the receptionist can add it to his already sky-high pile of things to do. That’s true, if you don’t care about the results. But I personally believe that if you’re going to do something, do it right.

That’s my humble opinion.

How much time do you spend on social media per week? Let me know in the comments below.


Follow me on Twitter @Margelit

Originally posted here.