Using social media such as Facebook, Twitter, social bookmarking, blogging, etc. to enhance marketing strategies is a smart idea for most businesses. See my first post on this topic Social Media Marketing Part I: Why? for more information about why to start a social media marketing strategy.
Once a business has made the decision to start a social media marketing campaign, the next question that arises is how to go about doing so. Here’s my five-step process for getting started:
Step 1 – Sign up. Make a Facebook page for your business, add a Twitter account, get a blog started on WordPress or Blogger, and get a social bookmarking site going at Delicious, Stumble Upon, or Diigo. These sites are relatively easy to sign up at, just follow the prompts from their homepages. When signing up, it is beneficial to utilize a special email address specifically for social media use, as it will allow for easy organization of social media content. Set up this email address before signing up for any of the recommended sites.
Step 2 – Add content. Get in there and get posting. More content draws in more people. Put up pictures from the company’s fall picnic on Facebook, Tweet about the latest developments on the production line, blog about the company’s recent investments, and add relevant websites to the social bookmarking page. Be sure to add as many tags as possible to every blog post and bookmark, and add relevant hashtags on Twitter. This increases search-ability.
Step 3 – Acquire new readership. The easiest way to get more potential customers on social media sites is to continue to put content up. Other strategies can be utilized as well. Take this idea for example: I began following @theknot, a magazine for weddings, on Twitter. I have utilized The Knot for the majority of my wedding planning, so upon following them, I decided to tweet “I don’t know how I could plan a wedding without @theknot”. Not only did I get a friendly response from @theknot, but I also noticed within a couple of days I had a few new people following me. Turns out they were people in the wedding industry, photographers and what-not. They followed @theknot to find potential customers and began following those potential customers in hopes that they would also follow them, in turn perhaps gaining a new customer.
Step 4 – Engage customers. No one wants to be constantly hassled with advertising plies on their social media. The idea is to provide customers with interesting and engaging content. It is a bad idea to have a Twitter feed full of tweets like this: “sale this saturday at noon”. That’s plain advertising. Potential customers will get annoyed and move on quickly. Instead find interesting new ways to engage customers such as providing them with unexpected content.
Step 5 – Provide customers with benefits. To keep readership up, offer special discounts or promotional materials only to those who Like your page on Facebook and who are following you on Twitter. Everyone likes to feel like an insider, so reward those who are participating and they will surely tell their friends.
There are numerous strategies to utilizing social media for marketing purposes. The main idea is to get out there and make it happen. Try new things, if they don’t work, don’t use them, if they do work, keep doing them. Just remember, the more content you have, the more possibilities for reaching, engaging, and keeping your customers.
For further reading:
Here’s a related and interesting video from Social Media Marketing: An Hour a Day author Dave Evans: