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Social Media Marketing Strategies for Business

Social media can be used for more than just connecting with friends or family.

Business owners and managers can learn to use social media to help achieve your business and marketing goals.

Marketing Value and Social Media?

Many companies launched into social media without any clear business or marketing strategy. Measuring impact, value and ROI of your marketing strategies needs to be demonstrated in business for financial accountability. Particularly in the current financial climate, this accountability and the perceived lack of value has been cited as the biggest barrier to company adoption of social media as a marketing strategy.

Understanding how Social Media marketing can engage consumers and return value to business is necessary for Social Media strategies to be included in a company marketing plan. Following is a list of 5 tips to help you start leveraging social media with minimal investment and with strong systems in place to measure success.

Social Media Marketing Business Strategies

#1 – Identify Your Customers and Listen to Them

The first step to measuring success in social media marketing is proper scope. Find out which Social Media Networks your most active customers & influencers use and spend time online – then listen and take notes.

These tools can be used to identify and listen to your consumers: Technorati , Google Blog Search , Ice Rocket , Bloglines, Twitter Search , AideRSS and HubSpot’s HubFeed, Radian6 and Techrigy.

#2 – Get Involved in Customer Conversations

The second step towards success is consistently utilizing social media to engage prospective customers. Not all interactions will be positive, so be willing to acknowledge mistakes as customers are forgiving if a company engages honestly and with an intention to solve the problem. For enthusiastic and happy customers, recognize their desire to interact with you and be generous with your time. They will reward your brand with greater enthusiasm – which will spread through social networks quickly and endorse your brand.

For example, on Twitter – both Starbucks and Whole Foods share customer comments, local specials, and ask customers about their favourite items.
The conversation is deliberately open and casual. Check out some of the brands on Twitter , and implement some of their conversation techniques.

#3: Give and You Shall Receive

How often are you publishing great, free content on social networks that helps your consumers – blogs, tweets, forum posts, photos, podcasts or videos? Are you often involved in communicating with prospective customers, influencers and current customers on social networking sites?

The more content that you publish on social media sites, the more traffic you can attract back to your website. If your website is designed well, this traffic will convert visitors into customers.

#4: Know the Tools of the Trade

“Social media strategy should tie to business and communication strategy, rather than being based on the available tools. But it is not possible to develop a social media strategy without at least having an understanding of the various tools that are available, their functionality and purposes, and the kinds of audiences and conversations for which they might be best suited.” – Joel Postman, Principal Socialized PR

It is crucial that your business strategy forms the basis of your marketing and social media strategies. To do this successfully, you need an understanding of the workings and potential of social media and social networking sites. Establish your website blog as the base and learn the capabilities of each network to help you interact with your customers.

For example, Twitter provides a great opportunity to connect with your prospective customers. However, it only allows you to type 140 characters at a time. So, maybe a video posted to Youtube would be a better way to publish a “how-to”. Linkedin and Facebook let you see who your contacts know. But, facebook makes it much easier to connect with them. LinkedIn Answers is a much better place to answer business focussed questions than any other social network.

#5: Use Website Analytics to Measure Leads and Sales.

Social media activity affects the success of many other inbound marketing techniques as search engines use the signals we leave as we network and share media online through:

Search engine ranking

  • Social bookmarking activity
  • Social networking connections
  • Video/podcast views/listens
  • Inbound links
  • RSS subscriptions
  • Comments on your blog
  • Mentions and searches of your brand
  • Visitors (first-time and repeat)
  • Leads and customers

Tracking codes, a solid analytics package and closed loop marketing can be used to track the visits, leads, customers and sales that occur as a result of your social media activities.

It’s important to learn how to use these social media sites and tools in order to get business value out of your social media activity. If you need assistance to determine where to spend your time to get the best return, call and discuss your options.