When you first think about social media marketing, you might imagine it’s like being the chatty kid in class who always had something witty to say, knowing how to make the class laugh. And, there’s something to that, because the class clown understands his or her audience and delivers messages that the audience appreciates. But social media marketing goes beyond that – and in fact starts with listening.
If you’ve ever had a teacher who claimed that you have two ears and only one mouth because you should listen twice as much as you talk – well, she was teaching you the basics of social media marketing. Social listening is crucial. What is your target audience posting? What types of posts entice them to comment? Are there images on the most successful posts? What kinds of images? Probably not stock photos that are seen everywhere. What about video? How is that used? Where does your target audience hang out? Facebook? Twitter? Instagram?
As you build a following for your brand, focus on quality rather than quantity – and that’s true in more than one way. When it comes to delivering messaging, yes, it’s important to post consistently and stay in front of your audience. But it’s even more important to deliver quality messaging, the right message for your particular audience provided at precisely the right time. Quality is also the benchmark when it comes to building a following. Yes, it’s flattering to have large numbers of followers and that might sound good in company reports, but it’s more important to have brand evangelists as your followers.
I remember seeing that 60 percent of brands don’t bother to respond to comments or questions posed on their own social media platforms. So, when you do respond to yours, you’ve got a significant edge over brands that leave their followers feeling ignored.
If you receive complaints on social media, try not to see this as a problem and don’t delete the messages unless they cross the line, perhaps because of obscene language used or bigoted statements made. In most situations, it’s best to keep the message there and let the person know you will be contacting him or her privately to resolve the issue. By being gracious, you are showing the best side of your brand – so even if the person complaining is never satisfied, other people following your page will see how professionally you are handing the situation.
The creation of quality content also goes hand-in-hand with social media marketing. If you’re creating valuable content of interest to your target market, then sharing links to those blog posts can spur on engagement on your social media pages – and when your loyal followers share your content on their own pages, that can increase your brand’s exposure exponentially. Share more than just your own content, though. You don’t want your social media page to overly focus on promotional material – and when you are generous about sharing articles and videos created by other people, they will be more likely to return the favor.
Remember that social media marketing is really about building relationships. So you can’t expect all of the activity to occur on your brand’s social media pages. Take the time to read what your followers are posting and, when appropriate, join in those conversations. It’s all about reciprocity.
Opportunities for social media marketing are constantly evolving, too. For example, Facebook Live is a fairly new video feature, one where your brand can appear in real time, sharing information on topics of interest and answering questions posed by viewers.
No matter how you use social media, be authentic, be yourself. Speak in your brand’s voice, sure, but in a way that makes people feel comfortable approaching you and engaging with you. Thank people for engaging with you and being part of your social network.
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