Businesses everywhere are benefiting from the social media boom. How’s YOUR social media marketing?
Social Media has made marketing easier and more effective than ever, you just need to know where to start. You really can reach your customer base more efficiently than ever before, all while driving traffic and increasing your sales. Let’s take a look at the top six most effective social media marketing strategies.
We’ve also included some important details to stay aware of. Social media marketing is still a new industry, there are pitfalls to watch for, scam-artists to avoid, and regularly-changing rules to pay attention to.
Create a Facebook Fan Page
Everyone and their mother is on Facebook, and odds are so are you! Facebook is a great way to start your social media marketing campaign for free by creating a fan page. A fan page allows your customers to “like” your business, which helps you look more popular and successful.
In addition, you can offer special promotions and discounts on your fan page as a customer loyalty program that will come off as a great opportunity, not a pushy sales pitch; as well, you create a direct open path to communicate with your customers and fans. There is little as valuable as that.
Twitter is a wildly popular way for people to say whatever is on their minds, and also share products and news that they are excited about. A Twitter account is a great way to create top-of-mind awareness in consumers by offering a Twitter feed that they’ll want to follow.
Tweeting about news stories, breakthroughs, and fun happenings related to your field will make people interested in following you, and will grow your brand awareness. Twitter is especially powerful for social media marketing in your local neighbourhood. Tweeting a “today only” special at your store, or a “for lunch today” note for your restaurant, can easily boost your sales. It’s practically instant, many people carry it around with them, and the exclusivity of the offer makes it more appealing. Make sure you let your face-to-face customers know to follow you on twitter!
Like Facebook, Twitter is also free to join and use. It’s important, tho, with twitter, to keep your tweets interesting, funny and true – nothing will turn OFF fans faster than never ending ads and boring propaganda. Get creative! Have fun with it!
Add Icons to Your Website (and storefront doors/windows)
Adding social media icons to your website allows visitors to share articles and products that they are interested in with their friends simply by clicking a button. This doesn’t cost you anything, and your customers are doing your marketing for you! This only takes a few minutes to do, and your sales and traffic will explode.
When you choose a method for adding the icons, make sure the outcome is user-friendly. Make sure: it doesn’t take people off your website, it doesn’t require them to constantly fill out forms, and that it reassures them of their privacy (to the extent that you’re not giving their info to 3rd parties when they use the share function). Making it easy for them to spread your word is one thing, you also have to make it safe and enjoyable.
The latest social media marketing tool – QR codes – make it easy to let face-to-face customers connect, too! Did you know that Google will send you a QR code sticker for your front door that contains your vital info, when you sign up for google places? Visitors to your store can scan it with their phone and get right to your website, or promotional page, instantly. You can put QR codes throughout your store (and website) for instant specials, extra information, direct links to your facebook… the possibilities are endless.
Leverage backlinks and Social Bookmarking Sites
Using backlinks is a great way to drive more traffic to your website and get better listings on the internet’s top search engines. While this strategy is unquestionably effective, it can take a bit of know-how and a lot of time. There are many firms who specialize in this kind of service for a reasonable price.
Do your research, though. There are two types of firms who engage in social media marketing and search engine optimization services. “Black hat” ones and “white hat” ones, and they are divided just like cowboys in the movies. The black hat ones use techniques to get under the radar of search placement engines (= google) and your results will be short-lived, and could incur undesirable consequences. Make sure that if you engage a company to manage your social bookmarking & backlinking that they play by the rules and use widely accepted techniques. AND that they’re working for YOU. I have witnessed unscrupulous “experts” who manipulate what you pay them to do into a benefit more for them and their friends than for you.
Advertisements on Social Networking Sites
Traditionally, buying ad space online meant taking a shot in the dark; you really didn’t know if you’d reach your target market at all. Thanks to social networking, everyone lists their interests and activities on their profiles. This information is accessible to marketers, which means your advertisement will reach the people you want it to, and you won’t be paying for wasted coverage.
Facebook ads, for example, can be extremely effective because you can target exactly who will see it. If you are selling lime-green ceramic cookware designed for south-asian cuisine, you can target only people who list “south-asian” “cooking” and “lime-green” among their interests & favourites! Imagine how much more effective that is than just dropping an ad in a newspaper! Social media marketing has definite advantages.
Contests and Competitions
The internet has made it easier than ever to share photographs, videos, stories, and more. Social Media has eliminated the high start-up and management costs associated with contests. You can simply offer something fun to do and a prize that people want, and you’ll drive up your traffic and grow your brand.
Use caution, however, because there are rules to follow, and not paying attention to them could land you in a heap of trouble. Facebook, in particular, is pretty strict about their contest & promotion guidelines. You definitely need to get familiar with them before designing any contest. They will shut down your page. I’ve seen it happen.
Social media can be an extremely effective – and fun – way to get hands-on with your marketing and not spend a fortune. It’s worthwhile to learn as much as you can, because some techniques work better than others, and some are simpler than others… finding a balance without getting frustrated and wasting effort can take some time. But if you give it the attention it deserves as part of your overall marketing strategy, the payoff of social media marketing can be great!