Sure, social media marketing sounds easy. Why, isn’t all you have to do is set up accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, et al., make a few posts, and watch the customers flock in (and the cash register ring!)? As the saying goes, if it was that easy, everyone could do it – and they can’t! Yes, social media marketing is a useful tool that can be both less expensive and garner more exposure than the more traditional forms of print and visual media and it can be more effective, if you do it right! As a relatively new form of marketing, not everything is known and the criteria about knowing who your desired audience or demographic is certainly still valid, but here are some tips to help you perform social media marketing better.
Let’s review first an article by Michael Leis in Business to Community on September 28, 2015. His title was, “The Most Overlooked Social Media Marketing Tactic.” As he said, people sit around in meetings struggling to calibrate social media data to their selected audience, not knowing what is important to that audience and what they ignore. When is the best time to post? What content is best? What about our competition?
Well, if you don’t know, ask them!
- Asking open-ended questions is useless and what you get back won’t help. Start by listening in on the interactions people have about your brand and then ask them in detail what they mean by them.
- He also advocates giving the audience the opportunity to vote on what they like – and don’t like (Facebook is bringing out a Thumbs Down button – scary or an opportunity?). His example was choosing a new cover photo. Let the audience pick the one they like. They are now emotionally invested and you have learned something new about your audience.
- Use either/or as a choice. You already chosen so there is no wrong answer and no one feels uncertain about posting a “wrong” answer. The real value is that some people will strongly advocate a third option, again giving you information you didn’t have and showing where the passions are.
That is all good information and no one goes wrong by getting to know their customer base better. Small town or neighborhood shops have succeeded for centuries by knowing their customer base and what their opinions are. It is an ancient truism but still true today. Take care of your customers and they will take care of you!
Is there an even more effective way to leverage social media marketing? Of course and you want to use it! Jane Danes posted to Social Barrel on September 28, 2015 and brought out these interesting points. Social media marketing techniques change constantly and you can wear yourself out (and dilute your message) trying to keep up. But, the most effective method by far is word-of-mouth marketing. She cites a survey that said 92% of customer’s value and trust a referral from their friends and family more than any other source. As Mark Zuckerberg said, “a referral from a trusted friend is the holy grail of advertising.” But, what are methods to get this valuable method working for you?
- Offer bonuses. If you can offer a suitable reward for a referral of your business to current customers, family and friends, your brand will spread rapidly. For many years, car salesmen offered a $ 50 bonus to a referral that brought in a sale. It was enough to pique interest and drive customers in and the salesmen still made a profit. In this case you might tie it to liking your page on Facebook or following you on Twitter but the principle is the same.
- Write a personal, handwritten thank you note. That’s right! Sending an e-mail or instant message is so easy, but a handwritten note of thanks for a referral shows you really care and makes much more of an impression on the existing customer. It is a real and welcome surprise when it shows up in their mailbox. Alternatively, in social media you might tag the referring customer in your post. That is tricky as there are those that don’t like the public exposure. Sending the personal note is a better option as the customer has the option of either revealing the receipt or not.
- One big prize works. Every referral gets an entry to win the big prize chosen to be of value such as a tablet, a gift basket, or a coupon of real value. This widens your referral pool and gives your current customers a reason to act now in referring their friends and family.
- Ask them for a referral. I’m not sure why people are reluctant to do this but a direct request for a referral is often positive. They either say yes and you get the referral (or something you can post on your web page) or they tell you something you didn’t know about their interaction with you that you can work on and fix. That is a Win-Win!
Now that we have looked at tactics for making your social media marketing more effective, what are the best mediums to use? As always, it depends on your audience but here is some information from a recent survey in PR Newswire. B2C marketers responded as follows when asked what was most effective:
- Facebook (58%)
- Twitter (52%)
- YouTube (49%)
- Instagram (43%)
- Pinterest (41%)
- LinkedIn (36%)
- Google+ (23%)
However, when the same question was asked of B2B marketers, their response was:
- LinkedIn (63%)
- Twitter (55%)
- YouTube (48%)
- Slideshare (42%)
- Vimeo (40%)
- Facebook (32%)
- Pinterest (25%)
That will help you decide where to focus your efforts. Even better information to have is that people shared content 49% more on weekdays than on weekends. 48% of B2C marketers posted more than once a week while 42% of B2B marketers posted daily or many times a week. This information will help you in forming and executing a social media marketing campaign. Of course, there are still many complex issues to navigate to make it successful.Digital & Social Articles on Business 2 Community