If you don’t think social media is MASSIVE, these statistics might change your mind:
- One-fifth of all couples now meet online.
- A fifth of all divorces are now blamed on Facebook.
- Kindergarteners are learning more on iPads than on chalkboards.
- The country of Facebook would be the third most populated country in the world.
- eBooks are now outselling traditional printed books.
- In 2013, social gamers paid $6 billion, whereas those attending movies spent $2.5 billion.
- Each minute, 24 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube.
- Publish Wikipedia into book form and it would contain 2.25 million pages and take 123 years to read.
- Social media is used by 93 percent of all marketers.
Here are seven ideas for better ways to utilize the social media network in your marketing efforts.
1. Plan a Successful Strategy
The first step to putting social media into your marketing back pocket is to implement a social media marketing plan. Start by collecting information about the interests of your audience and which social media websites best find these people. Next, create social media content that is insightful and useful to your audience. Line up copy that appears on a regular basis, whether it’s daily, weekly, or monthly.
Establish company guidelines for writing on social media websites and determine jobs for employees within your company. Establish methods for not only creating social media content, but for posting material and networking with future customers online. Make sure emphasis is placed on connecting with and replying to social media followers.
2. Set Social Media Marketing Business Goals
It’s important to include social media within your business goals. Don’t just track social media activity. Set firm benchmarks on where your business social media marketing will take you. For instance, you might set a goal of a percentage of positive brand acceptance through social media marketing. Another goal might be an increase in sales revenue.
If these are objectives that your business has failed to set, you’re not alone. Not even half of the businesses online measure the strength of their brand and the experience of their online customers. Worse yet, less than a quarter check to see if social media activity equates to a boost in sales.
But, that’s not the way of big business, where over half admit to multi-departmental social media staffs that are busy setting goals, measuring outcomes and developing a multi-faceted social media marketing effort.
3. Recognize Assets Between Sites and Formulate Copy Appropriately
Your audience enjoys a certain tenor of material on Facebook that’s different to what they expect on LinkedIn. You must understand these differences and match your content to the expectation of your social media audience throughout various websites. For instance, photographs and graphics are appropriate for Pinterest and Instagram. Stick a video on Facebook and place tightly written, witty messages on Twitter.
Another consideration is to change messages according to geography. The way you effectively communicate with your audience in Montreal might be with a hockey metaphor, whereas football might be a better social media comparable in Dallas. Realize that customers visit multiple social media websites, so you still need continuity in your message across the entire social media world. But, you’re failing if you don’t alter your communication to best fit the characteristics of each social media site.
4. Social Media Customer Service Must be Fast
Your customers expect immediate service when working with you through social media websites. Only a third of the social media audience expects a response within a few days when they request information from you. A quarter want a response in the same day and an amazing 42 percent seek answers from you within an hour with nine percent expecting answers in five minutes.
Whether you like it or not, delving into the social media arena means gearing up for quick customer service responses. Plus, your business must be ready with plans on how to handle delicate information, which if managed incorrectly, balloons out of proportion online. Great insight to managing these customer relation social media tightropes is written by Corey Eridon in a HubSpot blog.
The bottom line is, whether a customer is sweet or sour, there’s a person on the other end of the social media message who merits a response. Any important business social media presence deserves an employee dedicated to answering responses registered through all of your social media conduits. That employee, or team of employees, should possess a manual of responses for known questions that are common to your enterprise. Of course, training is necessary to ensure the proper message penetrates communication emanating from your business.
Probably the most important aspect about customer service via the social media world is to never, ever ignore a single posted comment. Each represents a customer with a concern. It’s your moment to shine and when you do a good job, you build a following of advocates to your brand.
5. Make “Honesty” Company Policy Number One
You cannot hide in the social media world, because robust discussion within this medium wedges out liars. So, when your company makes a big boo-boo, make it a company policy that fessing up to a mistake is appropriate.
Your audience quickly gets over mistakes when an appropriate apology surfaces after an admission that a mistake was made on the part of your company. It’s a much better approach than ignoring comments about the mistake, or worse yet, arguing that the mistake never took place.
6. Heed the Social Media Messages
Involving your company in the social media realm can equate to a massive volume of voices. Be sure someone in your organization is focusing on key messages being handed to you by your customers.
One method of amplifying the essence of this communication is to utilize social monitoring software. If handled correctly, you shouldn’t miss out on the perceptions gained through online communication with your customers. Establish alerts tied to keywords, so you can reply quickly to important issues presented by your clientele.
Pay particular attention to openings suggested by your customers where your business can take special advantage to needs requested of your services. Topics of discussion initiated through your social media network might change because of your attentive social media listening skills. Be prepared to alter your future social media strategy based upon data gathered via social media listening software.
7. Keep Your Content Original
Lightning from a concept called “Google Authorship” will strike your online copy Dead on Arrival (DOA) if you post copied material. After this online death occurs, customers who perform searches related to your business won’t see your material near the top of their search.
You need to grasp the concept of the importance of building a following that boosts your search ratings. And, since Google is the top search engine, maintaining a presence on Google+ is important in helping such a search rating, since it’s the best way to verify to Google if you are the originator of a given piece of material.
Via Google Authorship, Google determines who initiates content that influences others in a specified subject. When your material connects to your Google+ profile, Google Search then ranks the influence of your website, the power of your social media associations and a number of other factors in determining search rankings.
By amplifying authority in the social media network, you can power the brand of your company to draw in additional sales revenue.
Enhance Your Online Presence
Today, a business presence in the social media grid involves more than opening up an account in Pinterest or LinkedIn. You need to utilize social analytical software in order to get the whole picture of what’s being discussed by your customers. And, you must include social media into the goals of your company, so that your Facebook messages and your tweets on Twitter deliver meaningful results that help the bottom line of your business.
Slow decisions about moving into the social media realm just mean that your competitors who are already there are racing away from you on the social media highway. Now is the time to get into the race.