While your website will tell people about you and hopefully generate sales, social marketing is about getting people to your website in the first place!
Online marketing is essential for all but the most niche companies, but it's been a long time since you could just pay for a Facebook campaign and watch the numbers come in.
In this article we'll have a basic look at what social networks are, how to pick one and the best way to get noticed once you've started posting.
Too busy? Here's Social Marketing in 30 seconds.
- Social Marketing is promoting yourself on the web
- There are hundreds of social networks for different groups
- You need to find a group that matches your offer
- You need to be true to your voice when posting
- Be consistent in subject, tone and timing of posts
- If nothing else, join Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+
It's a big, wide world in there
The web is now as diverse as any city, high street or community. There are social networks for everyone, like Facebook and Twitter, and there are specific networks for particular groups, like LinkedIn for business, or Myspace for people who don't want to connect with people! (that's a little geek humour there).
Most networks are easy to find and join. Just go to a search engine like Google and ask, maybe “social networks for knitters.” And yes, there is one. The trick is to join the right network for your business.
We would recommend a ‘basic set' of Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn. You don't need to be posting to all these sites every day, but they have become like business cards. People will look at these networks to see if you're there, and being on them will help legitimise your business with curious customers.
While you don't need to post daily, it is good to post regularly. You might even have a banner that says ‘I post here once a quarter'. Then people know when to come back, or how often they might get an email if they follow you. More people will subscribe if you post rarely but always on time – rather than often but unpredictably.
So how do you know where to join, or what to say?
Know why you're there
Are you trying to raise your profile, or launching a new product. Do you want to sell your brand generally, or improve your sales for particular goods. A clear consistent message will get attention, but changing focus all the time will make people confused and they'll simply leave.
Talk about what you know
If you're a camera shop, talk about cameras. Don't add random posts about how good your mum's baking is! Don't pretend you know more than you do. Most important, don't try and be the most original person EVER! It's unlikely you'll say anything new, but you'll say it as only you can. Trust that some people will like your style and voice so come back for more. And accept that some will hate you for no reason and will go. You can't appeal to everyone.
Talk to someone who cares
No matter how interesting you are, in depth descriptions of fly fishing won't interest anyone on Soundcloud. They're musicians. Equally, pushing your record shop on Soundcloud won't work because its about music sharing, not selling.
Find the right network for you. It must be on the right subject and the right type of space for you to share your message.
Get in with the big four
This is why the big four matter. Facebook is a place you can say anything, although with so many voices you have to pay and push hard to get heard. LinkedIn won't help you sell directly, but it will connect you to business focussed people. It's a good place to earn recommendations and find people to work with who might help you deliver new products and services.
Google+ is still something of a work in progress. While it's already one of the largest social networks, it's also so diverse that it doesn't gel like Facebook does. You need to work a little harder to find Google Groups that suit you, or pay for Adwords and Pages promotion to get noticed. However, there are some great free service like Business Pages that get you on Google and improve the look of your listing.
Twitter is probably the hardest place to get heard, but since it has so many users it may be worth trying. It's most likely Twitter will be a part of another strategy, so posts to Facebook will be echoed on Twitter to increase their reach.
Still have questions? Need to start an online campaign?
We've barely scratched the surface here. It is possible to connect multiple platforms and create truly sophisticated marketing strategies which reach millions.
If you want to understand social media better, or get more from you investment in online marketing, talk to Hammond today.
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