Used correctly social media marketing can give you a platform for brand awareness, exposure, networking, and a huge boost in traffic & sales. The problem is, most people don’t know how to use the social media properties correctly…
Social media marketing gives you an edge over larger competitors. Studies show that most companies are not yet adopting social media, leaving a sweet gap for the “little guy” to do big business in that space.
Follow these 10 simple tips to create your own strategy for Social Media Marketing success:
1. Map Out Your Social Media Strategy
What is it you most hope to accomplish with your social media marketing plan? What response do you expect from your target market? Ideas to consider in your overall objective might include:
-Customer Relations (think @comcastcares on Twitter)
2. Connect With Your Target Market
Get an image of your ideal customer or website visitor clearly in your mind. Who are they? What are they searching for? What do they want and need the most? What do you feel they expect from you through social media communications?
Consider what they experience on their end in everything you do. They are the person that you want to attract into your funnel, so you want to make a great impression – and also include a strong, specific call-to-action.
3. Offer Consistent, Quality Content
The content that you post to social media properties should be both consistent as in regular updates, and also consistent with your overall message or objective.
If you are an MLM recruiter for example, provide quality resources for recruits. If you own an ecommerce gardening site, offer gardening tips. Whatever your message, you want to make it consistent across the web.
This helps you achieve your branding objectives, and allows you to create the perception that you want people to have of you or your company. Anyone who follows you online should easily be able to fill in the blank: (You/Your Company) is known for ___ .
Being consistent with your message and your branding also lends toward your goal of relevance and theming when it comes to SEO, or Search Engine Optimization.
4. Focus on Content, Not Marketing
Most people get this backwards. If you focus on valuable, high-quality content then that content will do the marketing for you.
You shouldn’t have to digg or bookmark your own content, but rather focus on writing such great content that your readers give it an unsolicited digg or stumble for you.
Your job is to write, and provide easy access to social media services where your readers can share your content with their friends & groups.
When people like what you have to say, they will share it – period. And when they share it, the search engines will take notice. Write top quality content & updates, and let the rest happen naturally.
5. Caution! Do Not Over-Optimize
Social Media Marketing can help you achieve top search engine rankings for specific keyword phrases. But be careful… because there is such a thing as over-optimization.
Using the same anchor text everywhere that you link to (or request a link to) your site leaves a ‘digital footprint’, throwing up a red flag that you may be trying to manipulate the search results (or PageRank).
Avoid this by using natural variations in anchor text for the links that point back to your primary website. You need a certain number of “click here” or similar links to give balance to your optimization strategy.
6. Stop Linking To Your Home Page!
Social media is about micro-topical conversations, so consider how you can introduce internal offers or pages of your website into these conversations.
This will keep your groups and followers engaged in the topic at hand, and provide higher value to your readers.
These deep links, or links pointing to internal pages on your site or blog, help it gain authority in the search engines as well. All other things being equal between two identical websites, the one with more deep links will outrank the other. This also gives you more exposure in the search engine results, since your internal pages will begin ranking for specific relevant keyword phrases.
Tip: Your home page may not be the best link to share on your Profile while networking on social sites. Consider linking to your “about me” page instead for a more personable introduction to you and your site.
7. Provide a Valuable Resource
There’s a reason its called Social Media, and not Self-Promotional Media. Keep that in mind when you consider your social media marketing plan.
If all you post is self-promotional links and requests, you will eventually become a part of the “noise” and ultimately be filtered out by your target market. They may not unfollow or delete you, but they will begin to scan over your posts and tweets without even realizing it.
Avoid this by becoming a valuable resource in your niche. Share links to domains that you don’t own. And I don’t mean your own Squidoo pages or Facebook profiles – I mean domains you have ZERO association with. Provide value to your groups by sharing relevant links and resources.
You mean, you want me to *gasp* promote my competitors?! Yes – and become friends with them too. Interlinking and networking is powerful!
8. Social Networking
To truly achieve your social media marketing objectives, you need to do some social networking as well. Forget the word “competitor”. Other publishers or webmasters in your niche will be your best friends in the social media landscape!
Locate every competitor on your level (or within reasonable range) and create an “inner circle” of friends or business peers. These are people you can interview or be interviewed by, exchange links with, joint venture with, etc. Stop looking at them as competition, and start looking at how you can leverage each others’ position in the marketplace!
Tip: Don’t ask for favors. And don’t flaunt the favors you do. Simply follow, comment on, link to, or otherwise become “known” to select publishers in your niche. They will notice… and generally begin to reciprocate. Given a little time the relationship will form naturally and be incredibly beneficial on both sides.
9. Build Rapport
Get involved in discussions, reply to blog comments, ask for feedback (and then respond to it and act on it!). People want to know that you’re a real person, and not just “a company” – or worse: a bot spitting out links and sucking in cash.
Don’t be afraid to have an opinion or to express your thoughts on hot topics within your niche. Your unique voice in the market will attract your ideal visitors and customers.
Social media gives you an opportunity to be personable. An ecommerce site has its limits when it comes to establishing trust and building long-term customer relationships, so use social media as an opportunity to make a real connection with your target market.
10. Link Freely – And Don’t Apologize For It!
This is somewhat of a combination of tips #3 and #7. One thing that really makes me cringe is the 2 words “shameless plug” – promise me you wont ever use that phrase!
The people that follow you, subscribe to your updates, or ‘friend you’ on social media sites… want to hear your latest news and tips. If they don’t, they’ll quickly unfollow you – which is fine. This is not a numbers game or a vanity contest – it is a means of syndicating and socializing in a professional yet personable way.
There is a right and a wrong way to link to resources and content on social media sites. The wrong way is to say “read my blog post” or “visit my website”. The right way is to share a cool link (whether its yours, or something of interest to your readers from another website) and to open a discussion on that topic.
Have a clear objective, be a valuable resource, and use social media properties in the way they were intended to be used. Anything else will get you filtered out, unfollowed, banned or blacklisted… and ultimately be a complete waste of your time.
Done right, following these 10 simple tips, social media marketing can currently grow your online business faster than any other means.