Back in the day before our beloved internet, if you wanted to get your brand out there in front of thousands of people you needed to spend a significant amount of money on TV commercials or ad campaigns in the national press. Nowadays there are social media platforms that we can simply log onto, type out a message and send promotions to all the followers of our brand. It may be cheap and easy, but are we making the most of this technology?And, more importantly, are we using it wisely?
The trouble is that most SMEs and even larger companies have often struggled to come to terms with social media as a marketing strategy. Here are The Last Hurdle’s guiding social media principles for building an effective social media marketing strategy for your business.
The Last Hurdle Social Media Principles – Identify your target market
If you don’t know who your business is aimed at, you will end up using a scattergun approach when it comes to social media. That means you may well have lots of followers and fans but a good proportion of these will not be the ‘right’ people. Think of a party where you know everyone personally and compare it to one where you are a stranger.
Our first key social media principle is to sit down and work out your target market: Where do they live? What age range are they in? Do they have a particular career path? Are they mainly male or female? Where do they hang out? What do they like to talk about and with whom? What are their interest? Etc.
The Last Hurdle Social Media Principles – Demographics
Finding the right social media platform is going to depend on a number of factors. You can go online and discover number of important demographics about Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest et al. Here are just a few for you to be going on with:
- Facebook in the UK is equally popular with both male and female users whilst Pinterest attracts more females (78%).
- Only 35% of Google+ users are active on a monthly basis – that means the platform may well have 12.6 million users, but only 4.4 million of them are doing something online with their accounts.
- 5 million of us have a Facebook account and it is popular across all age groups, whilst the highest demographic on LinkedIn is 35-44 year olds.
Our second principle, therefore, is to get to know your social media platform demographics so you can match them up with your target audience.
The Last Hurdle Social Media Principles – Interaction
The third, and probably the most important, of the social media principles is interaction. The clue is in the name: It’s ‘social’ media. The mistake that many businesses make is that they push stuff out there and expect it to work wonders without any added ingredients.
You’d be surprised the number of businesses who get asked a question on social media by an interested party (and by that we mean a potential customer) and either fail to respond or, worse, send a standardised response. Social media is personal and it requires you to put in the work to engage properly. Your customers will love you for it and your sales will improve.
The Last Hurdle Social Media Principles – Educate Don’t Push
Anyone who has spent some time on social media will have come across those businesses or individuals who simply push products with a link to the page where you can buy. To use the party analogy again, if you’re in a group of people and all you’re doing is trying to flog them life insurance, you’re going to find yourself on your own pretty soon. To succeed on social media you need to give something of yourself away. Educate, give some free tips, show them what an expert you are, share important stuff – whatever it is, make sure it is useful and not a sales pitch.
The Last Hurdle Social Media Principles – Enjoy Being Social
It’s easy to see platforms like Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn as business essentials that are something of a necessary evil, but if you also learn to enjoy and embrace these platforms it can help your personality to shine through.
If you enjoy interacting with your customers then they are more likely to listen to what you say and interact back with you. People buy from people, remember? Another point is to avoid being negative, no matter how bad your day has been, when you are posting – it can send the wrong message about your business and turn customers off in an instant.
The Last Hurdle Social Media Principles – Quality over Quantity
Yes, you should be posting regularly on your chosen social media platforms but you should always, always be conscious of producing the right quality. If you have done your research and know your customer demographics then you will also have a good idea of the type of thing they want to hear from you. Throwing in random pictures and comments just for the sake of something to say will weaken your interaction and can make people switch off.
The Last Hurdle Social Media Principles – Consistency Matters
When you start that all important marketing campaign on social media then make sure you keep it up, visiting your page on at least a daily basis to check on responses from your followers and replying to their concerns and queries. You also need to be aware that marketing campaigns on social media can keep going after you think they have finished. On occasion they can even gain a life and momentum of their own.
Social media has made it easier for businesses of all sizes to interact and engage with their fans and followers. Undertaken whole heartedly and with a little thought it can make all the difference to whether your business succeeds or fails and dramatically improve sales.
What do you think of our Social Media Principles? Are there any snippets of advice you would add?
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