Posted by Jennifer Dinehart, May 31, 2013
A majority of both B2C and B2B businesses and organizations are using social media marketing. To be successful, however, requires an investment of your resources and time. You want to make strong and real connections, which take time, effort and planning.
The ultimate success of any company is tied to its ability and effectiveness to capture and keep its customers. Your social media networking has the potential for driving more traffic to your company and providing major support in communicating information about your company to gain brand recognition.
Statistics show that about 75 percent of people are likely to share content they find valuable online with their friends, co-workers and family, at least weekly. And, this should include your company and its social media content.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing builds relationships that drive repeat business and attracts new customers through people sharing with their contacts. Using social media effectively will increase your company’s presence and create a social community for your business.
Being “social” with your business through FaceBook, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Digg, Reddit and other sites should now be part of your strategic marketing and communications plan. Brands use various platforms to engage their customers and fans. A vibrant social community can enhance your customers’ and prospects’ relationship with your brand. To do it well takes careful planning, engaging content and a commitment to staying in touch with your target audiences on a regular basis. You want to connect and have a conversation with people. If you are a B2B company, you want to connect with people whose businesses you can assist.
Social media marketing is really just word-of-mouth (people to people) powered by technology (people to social communities). You want to empower your primary target audiences.
Using social media consistently will have a big impact on your business, such as –
Spreading the word – showing your customers and prospects what you are doing and what you can do for them; nurtures brand awareness.
Driving sales – giving your customers information and promotional offers that they’ll want to share with their friends; helps to gain prospective buyers.
Providing great customer service – listening and responding to what your customers are saying about you and to you; creates valuable feedback.
Keeping your customers coming back – building deeper relationships so customers will get to know and support your company; builds trust.
Social media is all about discovering and sharing. Every interaction you have through social media has the potential to reach many new people. Social media will ultimately help to spread your message and attract new audiences. It will drive repeat business and attract new customers.
What you need to do –
Strategy and Planning
You need to take a deliberate and thoughtful approach to leverage social media efforts. Use research and strategic planning to develop social media strategies that support your business marketing and communication objectives and know precisely who your target audiences are and what social media networks they are using.
Your content is King. Moving people to action doesn’t happen by accident. You should create powerful messages that inspire thought and action through a well-developed social media content approach. Your company’s content must tell your organization’s stories in the most meaningful ways possible to move people to act and buy.
Showcase your company’s values and culture in addition to giving value to your products. If you think of social media as a place where you are going to sell your products, your efforts will not work. It’s not direct selling or advertising; pushing like that will only turn off your social media contacts. Instead, think about information you can share with your potential customers that will be useful to or benefit them. Let your products tell stories. Connect your products to people’s lives.
With your social media, you should try to inspire people, to help create understanding and trust for your brand with your customers. Connection, then engagement, brings loyal followers.
Encourage interaction and be prepared to listen. Use social media as a forum to connect with prospects and receive feedback that can be used to improve product quality, stay current and improve customer service.
If you want to attract new prospects, social media communities are the place that can help make this happen. You’ll appeal to web-savvy buyers with a strong social media presence that includes your photos, videos and content.
Your social media management efforts can raise attention and give you the opportunity to share content and collaborate on social networks with your customers and other stakeholders. And, now with mobile devices and smartphones, social media sharing is a 24 / 7 activity, when and where your customers are throughout the day and night. Your customers can share your content immediately with their friends, family and social networks.
It’s an online, mobile world. You better start socially sharing well! If you aren’t, your competitors sure are.