There is so much advice on the web about a successful Social Media Marketing Strategy. It is an investment in the future. The first step is to get involved. Find your audience. Before saying a word, listen to them. What do they want? What are they looking for? Next, start a conversation with your consumer. Do it NOW.
What is a “Social Network”?
Social Networking: A social network service focuses on building online communities of people who share interests and/or activities, or who are interested in exploring the interests and activities of others. Most social network services are web based and provide a variety of ways for users to interact, such as e-mail and instant messaging services.
“Marketing on the social web means informing, educating and even entertaining those communities of people that care about the issues, problems, wants and needs met by your company.” ( Brian Solis) While others are scrambling to figure this phenomenon out… just learning the difference between a tweet and a blog, are you there? Is your competition?
The reward for this early investment is an advanced position in your consumer’s social network. You have become part of their online presence. By joining them where they are looking for information, and also being the storyteller, you have become an influencer as well. This is the return on investment (ROI).
Is social media a fad? Or is it the biggest shift since the Industrial Revolution?
Here are a few quick facts in case you missed them:
- Social Media is not a fad. It is a fundamental shift in the way we communicate.
- The old communication model was a monologue. Your customer expects a conversation.
- The average person is exposed to 3000 advertising messages per day.
- Only 14% of people trust advertisements. 78% of people trust the recommendations of other consumers.
Your customers are talking… they are probably even talking about your brand. Do you like what they are saying? Do you know what they are saying? You should.
I’m curious, how many invitations have you gotten in the past year to join Facebook?
I was using one of the oldest Social Networks the other day (the telephone) talking to a friend about why he had finally decided to join Facebook. “Well, no one would answer my emails. It was going on for a while and I just kept getting all of these invites… one of them was from you.” So he caved. He ‘joined.’ Was he giving in to the social pressure? Was he curious about what he might be missing? He did admit to me that he had been on Twitter for several months. He follows few and tweets less. I think I’m his only follower. Twitter is an information resource to him. By keeping this network small, he controls how much information comes his way and who it comes from.
My friend who is just jumping in seems to be more the exception than the rule. Parents are logging on to keep an eye on their kids. In the meantime, they are catching up with old friends and even making new ones. Younger users – specifically those in the 12-17 and 18-24 year-old demographics – are Twitter’s fastest growing audience segment.
So you may be thinking, I can do this! It’s only Facebook. My teenager can do it. Congress is on Twitter. How hard could it really be? Here are a few tips to help you test the waters:
- Listening is the most important part of the Social Networking process. Listen for ways to build real relationships with your customer. Here is a tool to find out what people are talking about right now: www.search.twitter.com This is a real-time search to look for any keyword or event. There are also “Trending Topics.” You can see what is happening right now.
- Try doing this while watching a popular TV show; like MadMen, Reality Shows and Football games.
- When you have a question about a popular new product, instead of looking it up on Google, try a Twitter search.
- Be conversational when you post on your SoNets. If it doesn’t sound like a human being would say it, it IS overkill. You CAN be keyword rich AND human!
- Don’t look through the businesses eyes… look through your user’s eyes. Only 14% of people trust advertisements, how will they see your company? Are you broadcasting in your posts?
- 78% of people trust the recommendations of other consumers. More and more people are going to their social networks for research and recommendations. You need to be there to point people to your Facebook page for real conversations about your products and services.
- User generated content on your Facebook page is going to be keyword rich. Engage users. Ask their opinion. Show them that you care. These conversations will let you know what your consumer is searching for when they do search.
Stephanie Brooks is the Social Networking Specialist for CYber SYtes. Please feel free to contact Stephanie if you have questions about the Social Networking programs offered by CYber SYtes. She can be reached at 850-233-5514 ext 217 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.