Social media has the potential to be an invaluable tool for marketing your business. Social media is the umbrella term used to describe a multitude of web-based platforms that encourage social interactions. Nearly everyone uses social media. According to Nielsen, 2/3 of the global internet population spends a large portion of their online time visiting social networks. In fact, there are 700 billion hours spent on Facebook every month.
In addition, more and more people are using social media as a resource during their purchase decision making processes. Many brands have successfully connected with consumers using social media marketing. However, there are unique challenges every business must overcome. Developing solid social media strategies will increase your chances of success.
Define and Identify Your Target Audience
The first step in developing your social media strategies is to define and identify your target audience. You can determine your target audience by understanding the benefits your products or services provide, and to whom they provide them. This information is critical to the success of your social media strategies. This is even more so when compared to traditional marketing techniques, because with social media marketing interactions are mostly determined by the consumer.
Define And Identify Your Social Media Channels
After you have identified your target audience you can begin to develop a profile of the social media channels they frequently use. Some social media channels simply deliver better results for certain audiences. For instance, a business to business company will probably achieve better results with LinkedIn as opposed to Facebook.
Its easy to begin with the social media giants like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, however, dont forget that there are literally hundreds of social media channels out there that may provide access to your target audience. In addition to the big channels, you should also consider utilizing blogs and message boards.
Develop Your Messaging And Content
After you have determined who you want to target and where you will reach out to them it is time to begin developing messaging and content that supports your offers. It is important that your social media strategies remain focused on creating a dialogue and providing value to your target audience. In addition, the value that you provide should be consistent with your brand image.
One great example of a major brand that successfully utilizes their social media marketing strategies is Red Bull. The energy drink with wings recently sponsored Felix Baumgartners record-breaking jump from the edge of space and garnered over 9 million streams on YouTube and a flood of tweets on Twitter.
Distribute Your Content And Build Your Audience
You dont have to invest millions of dollars in resources it took to pull off the Red Bull Stratos event. You can begin with something as small as a video, blog article or Facebook update. However, the key is to distribute your content on an ongoing basis, utilizing the social media channels you have identified in the previous steps.
After you begin to distribute your content you can continue to build your audiences and create an ongoing dialogue. Again, your social media strategies will play an important role in developing content that ultimately leads to qualified leads and conversions. You should continue to measure your results and modify and update your strategy according to what works best and always incorporate changes in your market.
Successful social media marketing requires an investment of time and know-how; however the potential payoffs are substantial. The challenge for many businesses will be to develop social media strategies that capitalize on their available resources to deliver qualified leads and conversions.