- 20 Feb, 2013
- Jon Tucker
- 0 Comments
Social media marketing combines all the best aspects of branding and public relations and helps combine it into one, easy-to-digest package. With a good social media plan, a company can increase their customer base, establish a more tangible brand identity and more effectively market their products at a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising.
Although social media is a heavily cluttered space and can be confusing, there is a clear path you can follow in the early stages to get into social media marketing. 1. Launch A Company Blog
A blog is a simple yet effective way to communicate with the market at large. Blogs add personality to your brand and give you the opportunity to accomplish a lot of things that would cost a fortune if done with traditional advertising.
With a blog you can announce new products, host contests, and even clear inventory through cost-effective cross-promotion. And if Search Engine Optimization is your goal, consistently putting out great content that people interact with and share will help your Google rankings over time.
There are many ways to create a blog, but here are a few overarching recommendations:
- Create the blog on your existing website at www.website.com/blog – not a separate site
- Integrate your existing website design to your new blog
- Make sure basic SEO optimizations are in place for the blog – that’s a place for another day
2. Be Present on the Major Social Networking Platforms
Once you have a blog on your site, you’ll be able to have a platform to publish content in your industry. The next thing you need to do is have an effective way to make the industry aware of your content.
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Plus are worthwhile tools to help your business gain a foothold depending on your industry. Even if you don’t use these tools personally, they can be effective in expanding the reach of your business if used strategically.
Here’s a few quick tips for leveraging social media:
- Make sure your profiles are comprehensive, with detailed content about your business, pictures, etc. Don’t be a blank slate that looks like you spent 5 minutes setting up the profile.
- Add customers and prospects on social media whenever possible. That’s not to say that you should convince each customer or prospect to join LinkedIn so you can connect with them there, but have a process in place for connecting with customers and prospects that are already active on social media sites.
- Link to your social media profiles in company communication and marketing material, such as regular emails, brochures, etc. This will enable other contacts that are pursuing social media to become aware of your social presence.
- Email may sound old school, but it’s the original “social media”. Develop a monthly email newsletter and use that as another touch point with customers and prospects. Integrate your social media profiles in the newsletter and use your social media profiles to make people aware of the newsletter.
- You don’t have to come up with all the content. You can provide lots of benefit to your social media contacts by identifying interesting content they’d be interested in and sharing it on social media. In short, they’ll remember you as the source of that info which helps keep you top of mind even though you didn’t painstakingly write the content.
3. Identify Content Creation Ideas
Once you have your blog and all your proper social media funnels feeding into it, you’ll need to identify what type of content is currently hot in your industry or market. This is best done by identifying two or three other blogs in your niche and gleaning ideas from them.
Take the broad topics you see on other popular blogs and expand upon them – your natural instinct to be competitive will take over and you’ll spark all sorts of ideas for “I could say that better” posts. You can also review question and answer and content sites, such as Quora.com or About.com to see what’s popular in your industry at the moment.
4. Create Content
The next step is – logically – to begin creating content for your blog. This is where most business owners tend to fall behind the social media curve.
Not everyone is a writer, but that’s not necessarily what blogs are all about. Blogs are about every type of communication – images, video, sound, etc. Post as few or as many words as you want; as few or as many times as you’d like. Just BE COMPELLING with what you post. You can offer educational or “how to” content that present a solution to a problem your customers often experience.
5. Share Your Content
Since you’ve invested some time in having a presence on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google Plus, now’s the time to put the platforms to work. Share links to your new blog post through your social media channels, encouraging friends and followers to share your content, re-tweet and engage in discussion re: your content. If the content is compelling enough, you’ll start to see engagement increase with each new post you distribute.
All in all, your business’s social networking success is dependent on how well you can utilize simple steps to accomplish complex goals – a slow yet systematic approach is better then no approach at all.
While embracing a new marketing medium may be intimidating, the rewards will be well worth the effort. You certainly don’t have anything to lose if you try, but you have a lot to lose if you sit the medium out entirely. Share your questions below or contact us for a complimentary review of your business and opportunities.
[Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sepblog/3634843977/]