There’s a growing voice out there on the Internet that seems to be screaming “social media marketing now!” at the top of its lungs, sending business after business reeling headfirst into the online world of social media marketing. The problem with this is that many people take the same approach to social media as they do with their regular marketing strategies, meaning there’s a whole lot of incompetence floating around out there. And with more and more people jumping in without looking, the sea of unexceptional content online makes it hard for your business to stand out.
So, here are three simple ways that you can make social media work for you, allowing you to work smarter, not harder.
Tip # 1: Find Your Niche and Dig Into It
The Internet is awash with industries that don’t have a clear mission statement, let alone something deeper that really lets their customers know what they stand for. They have a skeleton of an idea of who they are but without any flesh and substance, they quickly sink to the bottom of the internet ocean along with all of the other indistinguishable companies out there.
What makes you stand out from your competitors? Who is your target audience? How do I know this product/service is for me? Why do I need you in my life?
These four questions need to be answered immediately without having to ask when potential customers see your brand on social media. Don’t be afraid to really come out and tell people what you’re about, to really define your company.
Once you do this, you can begin to build your fan base on people who think alike, sharing your company’s views, ideals and interests.
Tip #2: Define Who You Aren’t
The social media world is awash with companies who are probably already following that first tip, so now that you are too, what’s going to bring you to the top of the next heap? Well, this is where you define who you aren’t: your competition. Don’t be afraid to throw a few elbows here; this is the Internet, people like a strong position as it allows them to rally behind it.
You’ve probably seen commercials with taste tests for soda, or the one with the Pepsi and Coca-Cola delivery guys drinking a soda, depicting one as lazy or secretly drinking the “enemy” company’s soft drink. It’s clear to consumers which product they are choosing over, not just which product they are choosing. This helps to build your brand recognition by reinforcing that even if they’ve never tried your product or service, when given the choice between yours and your “enemy’s,” the choice is clear every time: yours.
You see the same thing with Apple, whose enemies aren’t only IBM or Samsung, but non-innovation. The enemy of television?Exercise.Of exercise equipment?Junk food. Make your company’s position stand firm and you’ll stand out head and shoulders above the rest.
Promoting your brand on social media is different than promoting it on television, radio or through just about any other medium. Most other mediums have a one way broadcast kind of relationship. You send out what you want to send out and the audience receives it. Social media on the other hand is a two-way conversation. Promoting a brand on social media requires a different kind of marketing strategy.
So how do you promote a brand on social media?
Get in the Habit of Launching Viral Campaigns
Viral campaigns are hit or miss. Sometimes you’ll launch a viral campaign and it’ll instantly spread through your niche like wildfire. On the other hand, sometimes you’ll launch a viral campaign and not much will happen at all.
Instead of placing all your hopes and dreams on one campaign, get in the habit of launching viral campaigns often. Launch one once a month, or once every couple months. Some will hit big and others will fail. By doing them often, you maximize your chances of hitting the winners.
Respond to Audience Questions and Comments
Brands have a bad reputation when it comes to responding to customers. All too often brands treat their social media feeds as a TV channel where all they do is share, instead of listen.
On social media, people expect to have a dialogue. You don’t have to respond to every single comment, but you should respond to every trend, every concern and every question that gets more than a few people asking.
If there’s a thread on your Facebook page with 30 comments all around something your company is doing, you should probably respond to it.
Build Relationships With Real People
Social Media can help build relationships with people. Look for key players in your industry and look to build a one on one relationship with them. Don’t think that brands have to act like distant personalities. Brands can make friends, brands can do favors, brands can reach out.
By building real relationships with people, you increase your reach on the social sphere. If you’re launching a new viral campaign, you can reach out to your contacts and ask for shares and retweets. If you have questions about how your product is being received, you can reach out to real customers. If you need advice about a website redesign, you can ask for feedback.
Having real relationships with real people goes a long way.
As the second most popular social media platform on the net, Twitter has the ability to instantly connect you with your audience, to deliver hordes of traffic to your sites and to introduce your brand to thousands of people who’ve never heard of you. Because Twitter is such a powerful platform, marketers often put a lot of time and energy into maximizing their Twitter campaigns.
That’s fantastic – In most cases.
Unfortunately, because Twitter is such a fast paced platform, it’s easy to accidentally go from “frequent poster” to “spammer.” You might not actually be spamming, but you might develop habits that make you look like you’re a spammer. If people suspect this is the case, they’re most likely just going to unfollow you.
These are the 5 mistakes that Twitter marketers make that make them seem like they’re spamming.
You’ve seen this before. Someone you’re following logs in and all of a sudden drops 5 to 15 tweets in less than half an hour.
Not only does this not build your relationship with your followers, but it can actually alienate them. After all, you wouldn’t want someone crowding out your whole Twitter feed would you?
It’s natural to want to post a lot when you’re online. Instead of just dropping it all at once, use tools like Hootsuite or TweetDeck to schedule out your posts so it doesn’t annoy your readers.
Automating Your DMs
If you’re auto-DMing anyone who follows you, chances are you’re going to look spammy. Just because someone followed you doesn’t mean they want you to treat their Twitter accounts as if they signed up for your email list.
Don’t send people your eBook or add them to a DM drip feed automatically. If anything, go out of your way to send them a personalized message and build a relationship with them. Social media will not work for you, if you’re not you.
Tweeting Filler Regularly
Twitter filler can come in many forms.
One common form is the funny one-liner. Twitter users will often post one line jokes that really aren’t that funny and don’t add any real value to their feed. You’re better off not posting anything than posting this kind of filler.
Another common filler is the inspirational, motivational or helpful quote. Again, it might seem like it’s a good post, but you’re really not adding any real value.
Avoid these filler tweets. Put some real thoughts into your tweets so people will actually want to help you spread your message.
Content marketing has gotten more and more popular every year. Just a decade ago, having a “blog” was a unique concept. Today, it seems everyone and their neighbors are writing content, uploading videos, creating infographics and posting on social media.
This explosive growth in the volume of information on the internet has made it very hard to get noticed. If you want your content to get read, you need to stand out.
Here are ten essential tips for creating content that stands out and grabs attention.
#1: Start With Planning
Creating content in a haphazard manner is a surefire formula for mediocrity. Every piece of content you put out should be a part of a larger, coherent strategy. Plan out your long term (1 year plus) plan, as well as specific content pieces you plan on putting out.
#2: Jot Down Unique Ideas
In order for content to be great, it needs to be seeded in unique, powerful and useful ideas. These ideas will most likely hit you when you least expect them to. It might be when you wake up, when you step out of the shower or while you’re out on a jog.
Write these ideas down and turn them into content pieces.
#3: Do Careful Research
Research can lead to fantastic ideas, fantastic content pieces and new insights into your market. What kinds of problems is your market facing right now? What kinds of trends are forming in your industry? What are the strengths and weaknesses to a certain way things are done?
Look beyond the surface. Share what you find, or use what you find to drive your content.
#4: Offer Solutions to Problems
One of the best kinds of content you could offer your readers is solutions to their problems. People are always looking out for ways to improve their lives. Be the one who provides that solution and you’ll stand head and shoulders above the crowd.
#5: The Right People
Yes, blogging and content creation is often a one-man show. Whether you’re a one person team or not, it’s still essential to support your efforts with other professionals who are great at what they do. You need great designers to help with your site. You need technical experts to help configure your servers. You need video experts to edit your videos. The right people can make all the difference.