According to recent Pew Research Center Internet Project research, 73% of online adults (18 and over) now use a social networking site of some kind (71% use Facebook, 22% LinkedIn, 21% Pinterest, 18% Twitter, 17% Instagram).
Social media marketing could be your golden marketing strategy and your main way to connect with your customers. If not done properly, however, social media marketing can be a complete waste of your time, money and energy.
That said, your social media marketing needs to be well thought out and approached strategically.
The acronym of the seven key principles of social media marketing as recently developed by Ivan and iPower Lab is CONNECT, which we believe is the key to social media success because it effectively connects and builds relationships with a target audience.
Social media must be put in a broader business context before you make any tactical decisions. Here are the seven strategic questions that will help you map out the big-picture role that social media plays in your overall marketing:
- What is your overall company vision?
- What are your key strategic goals?
- How can social media help you achieve your strategic goals?
- Who is your target audience on social media?
- Where (on which social media channels) is your target audience?
- What are your social media objectives (e.g., likes, followers, leads, orders)?
- How will you use social media strategically? (Examples of strategic social media uses include community management, customer support, search engine optimization, communication, advertising, sales and research.)
Combine your social media marketing with your offline marketing. For example, advertise your Facebook page in printed media, then educate your prospective customers through your Facebook page, then get your Facebook followers to visit your online or offline retail store. Once in your store, get them to buy a product and sign up for your e-newsletter.
Expand your connections through social media. As in traditional person-to-person networking, it’s essential to get involved in the conversation and to get active by liking, following, sharing, commenting, asking, responding, thanking and congratulating. Remember, social media marketing is all about the conversation. It’s not a one-way broadcasting of promotional content.
It is essential to create and share new, original and compelling content. Share something of value with your (prospective) customers and educate them. They will appreciate your help and will be more likely to do business with you.
Organic growth is great, but paid is faster. Expand your visibility beyond your own circle of friends and their friends by advertising on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or YouTube.
Don’t forget to ask for orders or at least get new leads. Make sure to include a call to action in some of your posts or tweets.
Use services such as Facebook Insights or Optimizely.com to test all aspects of your social media marketing. Test different channels, messages, content, timing and incentives, then fine-tune your social media marketing until you get it to work for you.
BizTech Q&A is our answer to the most common technology questions related to your business. Email us your questions and we will respond. •
Cyri Jones (firstname.lastname@example.org), founder of ZENPortfolios.ca and co-founder of Zen Launchpad, teaches at BCIT and Capilano University. Ivan Surjanovic, CEO of iPower Lab, is in Capilano University’s marketing faculty. He blogs at whereispuck.com and tweets on www.twitter.com/whereispuck.