As I sit here thinking about writing this article, the first thing that comes to mind is this; as soon as I write it, 2 months from now it just might be outdated. So, it’s a fine line between giving exact social marketing strategy and general social marketing strategy. In this article I’ll stick to general principles yet I think you will find them pretty specific.
You may have a differing opinion and that’s ok but, try to remember this: results are the only thing that matters and therefore if your business is not growing or increasing ROI then you may want to hold your opinions back until you read the article through to the end. Then, what you do with the information is up to you.
- Stop Marketing on Social Media and Build Trust Instead. Do you really think your marketing and advertising messages are working? People don’t want to login to Twitter or find on their phone a message from you that say’s “30% off laser hair removal.” Hold back the ads and think about delivering value instead. The only way you can contribute to the social marketing conversation is to respond to others with plain English with something that will help them, guide them or help them avoid mistakes. If you do this, you’ll be building the #1 thing you need to do to get them to eventually buy from you and that’s “build some trust.”
- Less Is More! Contribute something to social marketing only when you have something to say. The last thing you and your employees want to do is spam Twitter, Youtube, Facebook and Linkedin with a bunch of worthless selling schemes. When you write something make it newsworthy. It’s only newsworthy if it’s news to them and worthy at the same time. Worthy means value.
- Build Your Followers Organically. Do you really need 10,000 Twitter Followers? No. In fact, studies have shown recently that many of your followers are actually fake accounts designed to artificially inflate certain interests and their social marketing campaigns. And, even if they’re real, do they have an interest in your “foot spa?” Probably not. Many twitter users do not understand that building followers should organically reflect expertise. So, if the perception to users is the more twitter followers the better, then they will do everything they can to inflate the number of followers they have and therefore they’ll connect with you to make that happen. It’s just a ploy on their part to inflate their ego. It won’t work.
- Keep your Twitter followers to a ratio of at least 2 to 1. That means for every person you follow 2 should be following you. It makes you and your company look really bad if you are following 24,000 people and only 21,000 are following you. Do you see how that looks? Congratulations on getting 21,000 followers but really the perception by those who could be your customers is that you’re desperate.
- Monitor What They’re Saying. Get yourself a Tweetdeck account and start doing keyword searches for anything that could be associated with your company. The last thing you want is people out there ragging on you and your company and you sit idly by and do nothing about it. If you find someone talking badly about you then you have to decide what to do about it. However, try to remember that your online reputation can tank very quickly if you do not respond appropriately.
- Bad News is NOT a Social Marketing Opportunity. A representative of the GAP recently wrote something like this on Twitter: “Good luck to all those who are in the middle of hurricane Sandy. We’re looking forward to another great shopping day at the GAP.” Really? Are you kidding me? This is incredibly bad taste and simply shows how little even large conglomerates know about social marketing. If a natural disaster or somebody’s misfortune is news that has something to do with what you do then by all means respond appropriately. But if it’s not, the backlash could be worse than you might imagine.
- Build Your Mailing List Using Social Marketing. I recently attended Tweetstock 2012 as a speaker and I listened carefully to the keynote as well by Unmarketing CEO Scott Stratten. He said, “I’d rather have 1,000 mailing list subscribers than 10,000 Twitter followers.” I agree. Your mailing list is a relationship tool that allows you to connect with your subscribers over time and deliver added value. Email marketing trumps social media but you can use social marketing to build your mailing list.
- Interact with Your Subscribers Regularly. Whether it’s Linkedin, Youtube, Facebook or Twitter, pay attention and participate. If all you do is login once a day to post and ad, you’re not contributing not matter what you think. Trust, credibility and respect is created over time by the natural process of participating in whatever discussion is relevant to your potential customers and it’s your responsibility to build that audience. Not theirs.
- Advertising is a Tax on the Unremarkable. If you do something remarkable or your company does something remarkable then social media will take care of itself. All you have to do is monitor and contribute where necessary. Social media wasn’t created for your social marketing amusement. It was created out of a need for society to get together and well; BE SOCIAL. It will be social if you do something that stands out. You will be social if you stand out. Do something remarkable; don’t just talk about doing something. Many people online feel that they can manufacture a reputation. To some extent that’s true but, what happens when you overpromise and under deliver? Walk your talk then people online will talk the talk.
- And finally, Get Some Training. Look, social marketing isn’t spontaneous combustion. It requires thought and strategy. Get some training by someone who knows what they’re doing. And, make sure that if you want to use social marketing for your business find someone who’s doing it effectively already and learn from them. Also, where possible, find someone in a higher tax bracket otherwise; you’ll move sideways.
Social marketing makes sense when it’s done correctly. It’s there to support your business greatness not create it. You can’t be no-body one day and the next be social marketing sensation. Take your time, build your business and little by little social marketing will take care of itself. For example; the number of incoming connection requests in my Linkedin account outweighs the outgoing requests by at lest 100 to 1. Those requests are far more powerful than you trying to build a fake reputation. Good luck with it, and if you’d like send me a Linkedin request for connection.