So you’ve planned and executed this super social media campaign, only to fail sharply at generating the slightest buzz. What could’ve gone wrong? Could it be your call to action (discount, coupon, or contest) didn’t work because you confused social media with advertising? If social media marketing isn’t advertising — what is it? Social media marketing is simply using the current and ever changing social networking platforms to promote calls to action and branding of organizations, products, and services. However, this is done by ATTRACTING followers, not by exclusively broadcasting promotional campaigns. As counter intuitive as it may sound, if you use social media as advertising media, you will fail. Think about it — attraction, not promotion. For any social media promotion to be successful, you must first appeal to the demographic who will benefit from the promotion. You need a following.
How Do You Attract, Keep, and Grow a Following?
• Solve problems and relieve pain. Every day, millions of people use Google, searching for answers to their concerns. Give them the answers — be the fix.
• Share useful and interesting information. What might appeal to your audience? For example, if you market safety apparel, would your prospects find the latest OSHA regulations useful? If you marketed tomato paste, would product recipes be interesting to your customer base?
• Promote dialogue. Social media is not a lecture. You are talking with people not AT them. Ask for opinions, experiences, and suggestions from your followers.
• Never take sides on politics, religion, or any controversy… unless it supports your following. For example, if your primary customer is the trucking industry and legislation may affect them, a case may be made for discussing the legislation. As well, if you’re running for political office, that’s obviously a different story.
• Grammar counts. This isn’t texting and you don’t want to look unprofessional. As a content provider, know the language.
• Communication should always be respectful. Not only should you abstain from cursing or abusive language, but refrain from attacking others – even your competition.
• Do not oversell. It’s OK to offer promotions, discounts, and specials, but it should be done carefully, and usually around 20% — at most — of what you broadcast.
Companies often give up on social media before they understand it. The only action taken is pushing and promoting special offers or “look at me” posts. And when that fails, it proves social media doesn’t work. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts sit unused and blogs are forgotten. It’s trite, but if you want social media to work for you — be social. Solve problems, listen and converse, share valuable information, have fun and be real. Social media marketing foreshadows the future of marketing — a time when consumers have more of a say, and a time when consumers have a voice and are heard. Ain’t it great?! How do you use social media in marketing? What’s worked for you? What hasn’t worked?