Social Media Nuts & Bolts

Social Media certainly is the new darling of the marketing world. While it’s a mistake to dismiss it as just another flash-in-the-pan gimmick, neither is it a magic bullet.

For social media to be effective, it must be grounded in the traditional concepts of marketing and have clearly-defined strategic objectives: Identifying, Converting, and Retaining Customers.

Used effectively, social media can take your brand to an entirely new level as your marketing message goes viral. Whether you establish a community of your own, create a Facebook fan page, a LinkedIn group, participating in these social milieus establishes you as a credible source of information. This interaction lays a strong foundation for converting prospects into customers getting repeat business primarily about offering value building relationship.

How can social media marketing help you achieve this? By increasing your web-presence, you increase your prospect pool exponentially and your chances of connecting with those prospects at the exact time they are looking for a solution their problem or need.

The objective in any social media marketing effort is three-fold:

1. To offer visitors to your site something more than product or brand information. The content on your site should be focus on the needs and interests of your prospects.

For example, let’s say your company markets a line of foot care products: shoe inserts, corn and bunion relief products, and other home care remedies.

Let’s say I’m having foot pain when I run and I’m looking for information on what might be causing it and how I might alleviate it.

You know that the solution is a gel-based shoe insert. But that’s not what I, the consumer, am going to type into my Google search. I’m going to search using the keywords “foot pain while running” in hopes of finding the possible cause of my foot pain and potential solutions.

If the enough of the content on your site contains those keywords, and information about potential causes, chances are your website will be returned in the search results. If not, your company will be nowhere to be found at the very moment that a potential customer is looking for the solution you provide.

2. To rank as high as possible on relevant Google keyword searches.

As noted above, needs- or interest-based content allows you to serve as a valuable resource to potential customers. It also helps you get noticed by Google, and the other search engines. The more relevant content you have on your site, the better your website will do in search results, and the higher your Google page rank will be.

The other key ingredient to getting found is the strength of your online reputation. Let’s say you add a physician or sport medicine person (or both) blog to your website who acts as an independent expert and discusses common foot problems and remedies for them.

In addition, the hope is that this content will begin to be referenced by and linked to by other people in the industry – which is the other primary factor Google looks for when determining your page rank and relevance to a particular online search. If there are many people who are linking to content on your site, Google starts to consider you as a player, and will return your site higher in the search results than sites that have fewer links.

3. The last goal of social media is to establish relationships with your prospects and convert them to long-term customers.

You’ve already started this process by tailoring your web content to address your audience’s pain points. Now, establish some two-way bolts  You want to both communicate directly with your audience and get feedback from them about your products or services.

In addition, you’ll find that some of your customers may do your advertising for you via word of mouth, or viral marketing. Create space on your site where people can talk about your product directly.

Be aware there is a potential down-side to this new communication. Some people might not be complimentary. But, if responded to properly, even negative comments are an opportunity to connect with your customers – and address issues they might have. (That’s just good-old customer service, in a new package!) You’ll get direct, real-time communication with your customers that traditional marketing venues cannot provide.

There are so many ways to use social media to connect with prospects, raise brand awareness and, ultimately, sales! But like its more traditional marketing counterparts, social media marketing takes commitment to a long-term strategy to do well.

Here at Shoestring Business Marketing we think your customer and prospect lists are your most valuable sales and marketing asset. So, we also think that investing the time and effort necessary to understand your audience as fully as possible is one of the best marketing investments you’ll ever make.

We think that marketing strategies should start with targeted lists and move from there. After all, even world-class creative won’t be effective unless it’s delivered to the right audience for your products or services – at the right time, with the right message for where they are in the purchase process. We think that good marketing can be accomplished as effectively on a shoestring budget as on a more lavish one and we help our small business clients leverage the web, social media, and their own websites and customer lists to generate leads and drive bottom line results.



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