Social Media is big and getting bigger every day. For something that didn’t even exist until a few years ago, it’s become an integral part of the marketing plans for both small and large businesses – not only integral, but essential. In short, if you don’t have a well thought out, targeted Social Media marketing strategy for your business, chances are you simply won’t be in business down the road. That’s how important this media communication tool has become. And if you think Social Media is just Facebook or Twitter, think again. Chances are if your target audience is teenage girls who like to wear blue sweaters every Saturday, there’s probably a Social Media site that caters to them.
How to lay the groundwork
It’s kind of scary! When you look out at the Social Media landscape, you can hardly see the forest for the trees. Among others, there’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, YouTube, Vine, Tumblr, and that doesn’t even scratch the surface. There are dozens of Social Media sites specializing in targeting teens, B2B, senior citizens, do-it-yourself car repairers, foodies, fashionistas, and who knows what else? So, the first thing you have to do is find out which sites are geared at your target customer base. Once you determine that, you shouldn’t jump feet first into all those sites.
Why? For one thing it’s too confusing. For another thing, it’s too time consuming. And for a third thing, starting out, you’re not totally sure what you’re doing. Finally, heed your mother’s advice – learn to walk before you run! So, do your research and concentrate on the site you think best matches your target customers. Then, get set for a shake-down cruise.
Focus your attention on that site
Let’s say you’re selling beauty products to women, and you’ve selected ILoveMyFace.com as the Social Media site that best fits your customer profile. There are several other Social Media sites that cater to women using cosmetics as well, but you think the one you’ve picked is the best. Fair enough, and you’ll find out soon enough if you’ve chosen wisely. Now, the question becomes what you are going to sell them (one product, complete line, special offer). Obviously, you want to promote the one that has the best chance to rack up sales. So far, so good. But what’s next?
Tailor your message
If you’re not a professional copywriter, you may seriously want to hire one to help you out here. This is no time for amateurs! This is your face to the world. Pretty it up with some great copy. Make people want to read what you have to say. A good copywriter can zero in on your potential customers, and appeal to them directly. Example? How about, “This lipstick looks great at night,” as compared to “The lipstick that makes men fall in love.” See the difference?
Give your Social Media message time to work, but not too much! A trial run of two weeks should be enough to tell you if you’re on track or if you’re producing nothing but yawns. If it’s the former, and the orders and inquiries are pouring in, use that as a template and pump up your presence even more. If it’s the latter, it’s time to rethink and approach your potential customers in another way. But, don’t get discouraged! The public is fickle, and not everyone hits a marketing homerun every time. Try to figure out why it didn’t click. Price too high? Copy and graphics too sedate? Didn’t compare favorably to your competitors? Find the problem and fix it!
Okay, so now you’re up and running. You’ve done some fine-tuning and everything seems to be going well – at least for a while. But then the response slows to a mere trickle. Why? It’s the same message that got you so much attention in the first place, so what’s going on? Well, that message simply got boring. If people look at the same thing day-in-and-day-out, they just tune out. And when they tune out, they go looking elsewhere, most likely to your competitors. So, the lesson here is to keep your content fresh by changing it on a scheduled basis. That could be daily, or weekly, but probably no longer than that. Social Media visitors are notoriously fickle. You have about two seconds to grab their attention with a headline or graphics. If you don’t, they’re gone, and often they don’t come back.
Make sure your content is relevant
This seems like a no brainer, but you’d be amazed how many small businesses fall flat on their face when it comes to keeping content relevant. One reason for this is mentioned above. They don’t post consistently, so copy gets outdated. Talking about winter boots in July won’t cut it. In this fast paced, nano-second world we live in, new information, new products, and new ways of doing things are the new norm. The more useful the information you post, the more readers you will attract and the more likely they will become regular readers. Regular readers buy stuff, which is why relevance is so important.
Take the long view approach
It takes time for a business using Social Media to build a solid base of readers and create a loyal following. It doesn’t happen overnight, so don’t get discouraged. You’re going to make mistakes, but you’ll learn from them. And, the more you learn, the more adept you’ll become in reaching your target audience. Using Social Media is more like a marathon than a sprint. Keep track of what works and what doesn’t. Make sure you do this on a consistent basis, because this is the most valuable type of marketing information you can possibly have. It will provide you a roadmap for future success.
Check out what your competitors are doing on Social Media
Always good to keep an eye on what the competition is up to, and Social Media is a great place to do just that. Are they doing something better? Are they making mistakes you can capitalize on? You should be keeping a close watch on what they’re doing, because you can be sure they’re doing the same to you.
It’s a big market
Over 70% of Americans visit one or more Social Media sites on a daily basis, and an equal number are on Facebook alone! Over 2.3 billion people worldwide check Social Media daily, and 91% of retail brands use two or more Social Media channels. Facebook messenger handles over 60 billion messages a day! Facebook sees 8 billion average daily video views from 500 million users.
And this is just the beginning
The Social Media market has become the fastest growing, largest, and most critical marketing tool the world has ever seen, and there’s no stopping it. The numbers continue to grow at warp speed, and the scores of businesses using Social Media are selling untold billions in goods and services every day. But the best part? It’s probably the most cost efficient marketing tool ever devised. It’s here now, it’s revolutionary, and it’s changing the way we buy, sell, think and act. If you’re not using Social Media, the only question is – why not?