Social media marketing for business is here to stay. According to Moz, a well-known SEO consulting company, “72% of online adults use social networking sites“. Want a crash course in social media marketing essentials? Invest a few minutes in reading this article. Discover helpful tips that can help you win customers.
- Use social media marketing that instantly ignites your target audience’s interests. What exactly is social media marketing (SMM)? Before I define what SMM is, first, think about being a kid at recess in elementary school. That was a socializing activity. When we acted social at playtime, we found children our own age also interested in playing marbles, swinging on the playground swings or closely examining ants marching along the ground in a column, etc. Our desire to be social and share common interests is natural in virtually every activity humans to do.
When businesses engage online in SMM, marketers share messages (called content) that interest specific prospect types for that business. So, think of being online like being on the playground back in elementary school. You are engaging with prospective friends, but it is for business now.
For example, suppose you are a medical doctor. You write lots of prescriptions. To write prescriptions, you need ink pens. Pencils will not do because graphite can be easily erased. Since you don’t manufacture them yourself, you need someone who sells pens.
You instinctively look online for places that sell pens because, for many years now, businesses have trained us to shop online. Shopping is a social activity.
According to Statista, in 2019, an estimated 1.92 billion people purchased goods or services online, and during the same year, e-retail sales surpassed 3.5 trillion U.S. dollars worldwide. In business, we buy and sell goods. To effectively and successfully run a business, you must be social to let medical doctors know you sell ink pens.
The same is true for all businesses. Social media marketing is an activity you do to let a specific group of people know you have the solution to a certain problem or challenge they are experiencing. As you socialize, you build business relationships with them. This is done by providing content to which your target market immediately relates.
By sharing content relevant to your target audience, your company can increase brand exposure and broaden customer reach. The more your company’s brand regularly appears online in many places (like a familiar T.V. show), the more you build a fan base. The more you socially build a reputation for being a trustworthy company, the more sales you make and the longer you stay in business.
- Socially engage with your target market using digital marketing. What exactly is digital marketing? Digital marketing describes online marketing activities where you share your marketing messages on mobile devices and online using emails, SMS messaging, and real-time reporting in the form of analytics. Marketing online is electronic compared with offline marketing, which commonly uses the U.S. mails to mail marketing messages on paper, networking meetings, live public presentations, etc.
- Tell compelling stories using content marketing. What is content marketing? We all love to hear an interesting story. Content marketing revolves around storytelling. In content marketing, you share online stories through videos, blogs, and social media posts that show how your business solution changes lives for the better.
When effectively using content marketing, the messages you share connect genuinely with a targeted audience. They provide valuable information to consumers and create an eagerness to purchase company products in the future.
- Do’s of social media marketing.
- Pretend you are dating when it comes to social media. Just like going on a date with somebody new, put your best foot forward. Be genuinely friendly.
- Take it slow as you get to know your target audience a bit at a time. Remember, you are building a meaningful relationship with target market influencers.
- Look for common interests between you and your ideal prospect. Talk about those interests in your social media content.
- Talk about the problems associated with the common interests you share. Then, share your ideas that make those problems better.
- Deliver value rather than just sell your products or services. Be a business friend, but not one that is just in it for sale.
- Recognize that it takes time to build relationships with new customers. Just like in dating, on the first date, you talk about the things you may have in common (rather than when you’re going to get married.) Find out about each other and see if you have something in common.
- When commonalities are discovered, build on those commonalities. (Similar to when you learned if your ideal marble playing friend in elementary school liked to play with clearies, steelies or cats eyes marbles, etc., in marble games. In other words, in your first Tweet, drop a nugget of information that helps your ideal prospect in some way. Make your social media messages all about your prospect.
- After you write your content, promote it everywhere that’s appropriate to reach your target market.
- Don’ts of social media marketing
- Don’t spam by posting and breaking the rules of the social media site.
- Don’t talk about the features of your products/services and reasons to buy. Talk about benefits to the end-user of choosing to solve his/her problem.
- Generally, don’t be all about the sale (unless it’s an ad)
- Don’t say disparaging or inappropriate things about other people. This can destroy your business reputation and credibility.
- Don’t misspell content. If you need to hire a professional writer, do it. If you’re just starting out and have limited marketing funds, see if you can trade services to get things done.
- What the Moz statistic means to those in business:
- If you are not using social networking, you are losing money. Returning to the playground example, if you were the shy kid and played alone, that doesn’t work well in business. If you feel afraid to reach out and network, consider getting some professional counseling.
- If you are socially networking, are you using a social media content calendar with relevant target market topics? Get a free social media content calendar template from Hubspot here.
When you write content, have an end result in mind. For example, if you are selling musical instruments to children, talk to the parents about the value of their child learning how to play a musical instrument. You could write a blog post on how playing a musical instrument develops self-discipline. Another blog post might be about how it helps kids get over shyness. Create a calendar of blog posts that methodically show how it helps kids in many (specific) ways.
- Further tips on providing meaningful social media marketing include talking about the emotional aspect of your message. People act for emotional reasons. When you say something that makes readers FEEL, your message is meaningful. For example, if you sell hummingbird feeders, a FEELING Tweet might be, “Love feeling amazed watching hummingbirds fly? Imagine what would happen by putting up a hummingbird feeder in your own yard.” Compare this with a salesy Tweet, “Hurry! Hummingbird feeders on sale now at Sally’s Lawn and Garden.”
- How marketers can make relevant use of social networking to win customers.
- Know your target market. When you write social media messages, use the language, words, terms, and passions of your target market. Speak to them in a way that means something to them. For example, if you sell photocopiers, and a concern for your target is saving money on copies, talk about how they can get more copies by using the toner-saving feature. Talk about what matters to your MARKET more than what matters to YOU.
- Provide relevant content of high perceived value to your target market. The content you provide reveals strategies, tips, tricks that make your target market’s jobs or lives easier, time-saving, satisfying. Find out what matters to your target. Do this by listening and using their feedback. Then, genuinely show them that their interests are valid and important to you. A great video that helps you understand their need to be validated is this brief video called Validation.
- Approach well-known target market challenges, issues and/or problems from a new, interesting, helpful angle. For example, suppose you sell sleep apnea and snoring relief products, instead of only talking about how sleep apnea is a medical condition that could contribute to causing unwanted health issues, talk about sleep apnea and how a person’s snoring might be negatively affecting his or her relationship. Those who snore may be unaware of how important it is to have sleep apnea checked out by a doctor. But the clincher to send them to their doctor may be to reveal the benefits of a better relationship with a spouse by having it checked out. This can all be conveyed using compelling and relevant social media marketing messages.
Content marketing in your social media messages works well to win customers. Prospects like to hear and read testimonials, case studies, and personal accounts about problems solved by using a specific product or service. It helps build credibility and goodwill for your company’s products.
Now that we’ve shared some tips with you, would you share yours with us? Leave a comment about your own social media marketing successes for others to enjoy.