Social Media has been with us since roughly 2003. Though it still retains some of its initial silliness — posts of pets and babies, inappropriate vacation photos, clips from Fox News — it has matured into an essential business marketing tool.
And yet, many businesses treat their social media presence the way some people treat a food processor. They have one because it’s trendy and use it once in a while to dice onions and the odd vegetable, but they never learn how to use the attachments and take full advantage of all it can do.
Likewise, many companies use social media because they feel they have to. They post photos or general information about their business but, as with the food processor, they never move beyond the basics and take full advantage of what the medium can do for them.
Customer Service — Get real-time feedback from your customers, both good and bad, given you an unfiltered view of what’s working and what needs work. Look at complaints or bad reviews as opportunities. Fixing a problem makes you a hero and turns a critic into a fan.
Lead Generation — You have fans, followers, connections, and some of them are potential clients. Work your list. Reach out to people in your, or related, industries: ask them if they want to be on your mailing list; keep them informed about your latest projects; offer to give them a hand; anything to create a relationship and generate a referral.
Distribute Information – Social Media gives you your own mini media empire with immediate access to your target audience. Distribute, or broadcast, information about you and your company in any medium (text, photos, audio, video, graphics). There’s also the added plus of having your information spread virally as your contacts share with their contacts.
Research – Collect information on market trends, changes in attitudes, new developments. Check out what your competitors are doing by joining/following their pages. Check out new target markets by joining different groups and test how they respond to your posts. In addition, the each platforms offers detailed tracking information tracking and analytics so you can really see how you are doing.
Web Traffic – Drive traffic to your website with targeted posts that link back to a your website. Create specialized landing pages to encourage sales. Use Google Analytics to see where your traffic is coming from and what platforms are working best for you. For a more targeted approach check out paid promoted posts and ads.
Grow You Targeted Market — Here I practicing what I preach….
I was trying to get a book published, and though the material was well received, I was repeatedly told that I “did not have a platform” — in other words, “Puny writer, who are you anyway?”
I had about 900 twitter followers, 1000 Facebook fans and 800+ LinkedIn connections. I had also dabbled in Pinterest and Instagram.
Undaunted, I did some research and discovered I that there are some simple techniques that would allow me to grow my following in a relatively short amount of time.
Next I targeted my tweeting and retweeting to #socialmediamarketing and since I was looking to ramp up I made it a point to post to the site in groups of three, four to six times a day
The results were dramatic — in 4 months I had over 25,000 followers, had been approached by several potential clients, 3 media outlets and generally added to my credibility in all aspects of my business.
This is just one example of the dormant power you have at your fingertips. With a little dedication, discipline and imagination, anyone can achieve similar results. Remember, prospects are just businesses that haven’t heard of you yet.