Social Media for business is a force to be reckoned with. How to do that reckoning, how to effectively use it, and more importantly, how to understand if it’s impactful are far more difficult and much less understood. Read on to discover how to use social media for business development.
If you ask five different business owners what their objectives are with social media for business ,you will absolutely get five different answers. Why, because we are not always sure what we should expect when we include social media in our marketing plan. Sometimes we do it because everyone else is doing it, but with no real goals or objectives. In my view, the only objective should be to engage with and create a dialog with your customers or prospects and generate the right kind of traffic to your website. The key to doing this well is often to share relevant content with users who, in turn, can share your content with similar people in their networks and so on. One of the measures of the effectiveness of your efforts can be demonstrated by the monetization of this traffic.
They can, but will they? Monetization? What’s that? How do we measure if social media for business is effective?
Many companies fail here, or at least fall short, for a number of reasons. One of those reasons IS NOT that social media marketing lacks power. Quite the contrary. It can be amazingly effective. The lack of success is often because of a fundamental lack of understanding of:
1. the relationships between target audiences and of the need to add value.
2. how to maximize the power of the many different social media platforms.
3. how to execute or implement a social media for business strategy.
Probably the most important part of the process is understanding what your audience or audiences are looking for, and beyond that, being able to deliver. How many of us have been led down the garden path believing we’d find important, useful and relevant content at the end, only to be disappointed in what was delivered? You will most likely not be given a second chance to deliver the high caliber content that resonates and fills your target markets needs. There are just too many sources of information and we are increasingly quick to click away if we’re not engaged immediately.
Your objective with social media marketing should be to become a thought leader and to gain credibility in your particular field, especially if that field is crowded. You want to be top of mind when potential customers are interested in products or services that you offer. The real power of social media marketing comes with the leverage to be gained when your audience finds your content appealing enough to share or pass on to their audience and so on and so on. This engagement and sharing is at the core of successful social media utilization.
Are you seeing the trend here? Do you understand what is most important about being engaged and shared? It’s content! The most successful social media marketers are kings of creating exceptional content. Developing your own, branded content that is customized to your target market is far and away the most effective way to become an authority in your space. An authority, is by definition, top of mind. That’s your goal. Go forth and create wicked good content. Easier said than done you say? You’d be right.
There’s a cost to developing high quality proprietary content, however, if you lack the internal abilities or resources, it is not at all uncommon to outsource this important task to third parties (Thank you btw!). There’s a multitude of choices for getting this done and it can replace or enhance what you may be able to do on your own. CX3 Digital provides this service for many of our clients as part of their digital marketing plans and normally at a much lower cost than they could ever hope to do alone. Plus, who has the time?
To become recognized as an expert using social media you must match the message to the medium or distribution channel. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have vastly different audiences and methods of delivery, appropriateness and even etiquette. Understanding these differences and rules of the road will not only enhance your social media credibility, but also yield better overall results for your efforts. Beyond those mentioned above there are a variety of other platforms today and new ones evolving (and devolving – can you say Google+?) all the time. Do you want or need to become an expert in all of them, or even the ones that might be important and relevant to your business?
Now we all have the power to elevate our favorite thought leaders to the top of their respective pyramids. We share, +1, Like, retweet etc. when something moves us. If it doesn’t, we move on. Democracy at it’s finest. Vote yea or ney with our mouse or finger and relegate someone’s content to the digital trash heap or shoot it to top trending topics. On top of the fact that the content we create for our businesses needs to be highly effective, it has to grab quickly too because we’re impatient right? Quick to click, harder to wow. As more and more firms foray into social media in a serious way, we are, and will continue to be bombarded with opportunities to read, relate or release (to the trash) content. This is going to continue to accelerate as companies continue to realize the bang for the buck that can be achieved by a viral tweet or blog post as opposed to traditional marketing campaigns that are slow to launch and hard to measure the success of.
So if your goal, or one of them, is to significantly improve and leverage social media for your business development and growth, you have to learn how to create top notch, thought leadership in your space. Remember, nobody knows your business like you do so in theory that should not be as difficult as you might think. They key is to understand your audience and create the content that they can’t find anywhere else, or repackage existing content in a way that it hasn’t been presented before. A fresh look at an old idea. Or…outsource…we would love to help.
As mentioned before, if you don’t have the know how within your organization, it’s perfectly acceptable and often desirable to outsource the content creation function. Combining these strategies in a cohesive marketing plan is a repeatable recipe for success for utilizing social media effectively for your ongoing business development.