You probably already have some sort of social media presence, even if it’s not business-related. After all, it’s 2014 and everyone has a Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Google Plus account. Even though you’re familiar with these services, how have they been used to expand audiences and the potential reach of your marketing?
Announcing That You’re Open for Business
We’re guessing that you already signed up for a Twitter, Google Plus, or your preferred social media outlet of choice. The next move is to create a profile that includes all sorts of valuable information for your audience. Why is completing your profile out such a big deal? On Twitter, for example, about 42% of users use the network to learn more about products and services. We’re not math experts, but that’s close to half of the 500 million or so Twitter users out there. That’s a nice piece of the pie, if you ask us.
The idea is to create a captivating profile that informs your audience of who you are and what you’re doing. If you convince them that you can help them with their problems, you may have just landed a future customer.
On top of that, make sure that you have a name, profile image and background that matches your other social media outlets and website. You’re creating a brand here, so everything has to be on the same page.
Finally, make sure you let everyone know that you’re all set up. The best place to start is by alerting the contacts that you already have, which could be from a wide range of sources, from friends and family to everyone in your email. If you have store, put a sign up. And, most definitely make mention on other social networks and your website. You can easily do that by including a Twitter or Google Plus One button on your page. Since the Plus One button is served over 5 billion times a day, it would be foolish for you not to have that on your site or blog.
Engaging With Your Audience
We’re not trying to repeat ourselves here, but the most important thing that you can do when reaching out to your audience is engage them. Obviously, this should be after you’ve identified your target audience and understood what their particular wants and needs are. After that, you can begin to engage with them.
Of course, there are always the tried and trusted tactics, such as sharing informative, educational, or entertaining material that your audience will enjoy or find useful. And, you always want to make sure to respond in a polite and timely manner when it comes to customer service. With null , this is a major area to focus on.
But, there are some other ways to engage with your audience.
Think outside the box a bit and host anything from contests, sweepstakes, promotions, or discounts through a service like Wishpond.com. Since those are things that 90% of Twitter users are searching for, you need to be accommodating to the demand. Depending on your goals, choosing the type of contest will vary. For example, a sweepstakes pretty much only consists of users clicking ‘Enter,’ while a video contest could be a little more involved to judge and for the users to create. Or, you could simply run a photo contest where your audience uploads images of themselves with something related to your brand.
Regardless of what you decide to run, this kind of interactive engagement is a great way to gain more followers, establish trust and create long-term relationships.
It’s Not Always About Sales
Yes. You read that correctly. Sometimes you’re not trying to sell a product or service. In fact, sometimes it’s more valuable when your content is shared, liked or commented on than dollar figures. In a way, you could think of content as the currency of the Internet. It gets people interested in your brand and makes them follow or like you, which is a big deal when null .
While you’re using social media to eventually make a sale, gain followers, or get email subscribers, you have to remember that that’s not the priority. You need to establish a relationship and have your audience see you more than just a brand making a half-hearted sales pitch. You’re having a conversation with your audience and that’s extremely important. Sales expert Richard Crenian always says, “You need to keep their interests in mind and tailor everything associated with your brand on social media around that. Once you do that, the money will arrive.”
While social media is a great tool to expand your reach, it’s sometimes limited to the people already in your circle. If you want to grow outside of that circle, make sure that you use hashtags. Hashtags will appear in tweets to mark keywords or topics. So, when something is trending and the # symbol has been used in a tweet, you can see all of the tweets containing that keyword when you click on it. For example, you could ask followers to share an older picture of themselves during #throwbackthursday. It may not be business related, but it’s having some fun.
However, you should try to stick to relevant hashtags for your industry. If there was a crisis, you wouldn’t want to shamelessly plug your brand during that time- just ask Kenneth Cole about that. Instead, come up with hashtags that can help people find your business. Hashtags are also an effective way to assist with customer service and support.
Driving Traffic to Your Website/Blog
Having a social media presence is great, but the end game is to drive traffic back to your website or blog. Of course, you’ve kinda been doing that by creating awesome content and interacting with your audience throughout the day on social media by including a link to your site – just remember to use a tool that shortens the URL when posting on Twitter.
Also, to make this a little easier, make sure that you have buttons that directly share content from your site or blog to social media accounts. This means that once you have someone to visit your page to check out your content, that person can share it with their contacts with just a click of a button.
One of the best things about outlets like Twitter and Google Plus is that they can be organized so that you’re running a smooth operation. You can organize your contacts by creating lists that are beneficial for your marketing campaign. For example, you could organize your contacts into the following groups:
- Potential Customers
- Trade or Professional Organizations
This makes it easier for you to see what those specific people are saying about you or your brand in separate timelines, instead of just one long timeline. This type of listening allows you to create more effective campaigns because you can see what your audience likes or doesn’t like, and what the current trends are.
While social media has created a global marketplace, there’s something to be said about staying local because it can strengthen your campaign. For example, you can use Twitter’s Advanced Search to find out the people, businesses, or events that are close to you. This gives you the opportunity to network with clients or business partners in person.
Also, since Google Plus is obviously a Google product, there’s the ability to make use of Maps. This is great if you have a physical location, since it can give customers hassle-free directions.
Mobile is the future. And, social media has embraced mobile usage by having apps that are available for all smartphone users. Not only does this mean that you can receive notifications anytime, anywhere, it also means that there is no reason for you to respond quickly.
This is also a great assist if you are focused on growing your local business, since your audience can use Maps to easily find out directions, which we already mentioned. However, this gives you more incentive to make sure that your website is mobile friendly, meaning that it fits the screen of a smartphone and is easy to navigate. Since about 66% of user-generated tweets that have mentioned brands come from mobile users and 20 million unique mobile monthly visitors are on Google Plus, you have to be mobile friendly as well.