Facebook turned 10 this year, we’ve all seen our friends ‘movie’ summary (confession – I did also participate and publish my walk through memory lane) and it seems that we are (mainly) all pretty comfortable in Facebook land amongst friends. What about the other social media forums? Twitter, Google+, Instagramme, Pintrest, Blogs, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and others? Do you use them in your own social life?
If you do, have you thought about how you can use these forums for your business? Well, the first question to ask is: do these platforms fit in your digital marketing strategy? Not all platforms will suit your brand or business so you need to explore which platforms best suit your business and marketing strategy. You should also have a very good idea of which platforms your intended audience is using.
Research – who are your potential customers (and your current customers), which media platforms are they using, what kind of engagement do they offer. Digital Insights have created an info graphic based on research by ReachLocal which list eight types of social media followers ranging from Casual Liker, The Ranter to the Loyal Fan (part of that image has been used in the feature image of this blog). For the complete list descriptions, please follow the link: digital insights. You may already recognise these ‘types’ as customers of yours and already have strategies in place that provides the proper communication to them. Expand this to your digital media strategy.
If, for example, you think that Facebook is where your potential audience is and where you will get the most engagement, then it may be worth your while to investigate paying for Facebook advertising, but do note, this is not where you will make a sale, it is where you will bring your brand and product to the audiences attention. Once you have their attention, you must provide the relevant content to continue and expand their engagement plus direct them to the location of where you want your potential customers to purchase.
Facebook has started their page Facebook for Business, which is an indication that they as a company see business brands on Facebook as a viable option. This page promotes the use of Facebook advertising to promote your business. It is very easy to manage an advertising campaign via the Facebook apps and see your returns (likes, engagement, people talking about) in your insights section as well as traffic directed to your website in google analytics.
Twitter also have paid promotional spots and again the purpose of these spots should be to increase your brand awareness in the Twitterverse.
Social Media blogger, Jeff Bullas has written many articles about social media, engagement, and content. Here is one of the more recent articles, which discusses the social media trajectory. Business 2 Community Google+ posted the blog article; Is This The Social Media Marketing Tipping Point? and has some very relevant points to take note of.
Two stand out points for us are:
- Grow your social network now
- Create the best content you can
Growing your social network. Get your name / brand out there. After deciding which platforms suit you best (look beyond Facebook and Twitter), let your customers know that you have a digital presence in their arenas. Use the links to your sites in newsletters, your website and signage around your location. Add the links to invoices or receipts, your email signatures, everywhere that you communicate with your customers.
Follow the media influencers in your field, interact and engage with them. Gain their confidence in your product and brand and they will retweet (RT), share or talk about your brand / product. Media influencers usually have many followers / fans and a great audience reach. As always, you must provide relevant content to get the engagement with your brand.
Create the best content you can. Creating the best content does not mean that you have to have the very latest graphics or video production but it must have relevance to your brand or product, have some meaning for your intended audience. Use the best images you have, keep your text direct – calls to action (like, share, enter, answer, etc). Encourage the conversation, if someone comments – reply, even it is just to say ‘Thank you’. Share your audience’s pictures if they post to your site. Favourite a tweet, follow a Pintrest board if it is relevant to your brand. Encourage your customers to provide content e.g. how good your product / service / location is.
Bringing us back to the same message – content, relevance and engagement will keep your conversations going in your digital world and create brand relationships with your customers.
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