I am a firm believer that everything you do in business needs to have value, purpose and especially ROI. In todays socially over-saturated generation, I see far too many firms, entrepreneurs and corporations not utilizing social marketing effectively.
Social media will either grow your business, or waste your time and money. If it isn't growing your business, then you need to decide whether you should shift your efforts, or drop social media in general.
(Hint: you should never choose option 2.)
That being said (ever so bluntly,) let's take a look at how you can spice up your social marketing efforts and actually leverage some qualified leads!
Before you go balls to the wall with your marketing, you need to consistently decide for what purpose you are using social media, beyond the obvious of gaining more customers.
Are you trying to sell a certain product or service, market an event, or just keep a buzz going about your brand. To be quite honest, what ever your reason is, your #1 objective should be to leverage your following OFF of social platforms and turn them into leads a.k.a. email subscribers.
Once the above mentioned information is decided upon, you need to strategize a marketing message that will act as a cornerstone to your social marketing mansion. Everything that you post and every interaction that you have on social media should solely have one focus...your marketing message.
Ask yourself this: When users stumble across your brand on social media, do they see a bunch of wannabe marketers 'having fun' on a company profile, or do they see a professional and powerful brand that can offer them a solution to one of their pain points?
Take time to evaluate your marketing message before devising your social marketing strategy.
One way to dwindle your marketing efforts faster than a Boy Scout fire in a flash flood, is to unwisely spread the efforts across a gazillion platforms.
Choose 1-3 social platforms that you would like to focus on, and stick to your guns. For Flight Media, we choose the following (in order of most effective, for us):
Once you have narrowed your focus to a few platforms, take time to develop a company 'voice.' What do I mean by this? I mean, you need to make sure it doesn't sound like there are 50 different people managing your social media accounts. You should try to use similar:
Whether or not you have multiple people managing your social media platforms, it needs to sound like once voice. If you asked Nick Cannon, he would tell you, "One Band. One Sound."
You can use content marketing to herd your sheep (customers) in the right direction. The content that your company produces greatly reflects the overall branding and marketing message that you display.
Simply put, your content is going to boost engagement like crazy. And by engagement, I mean loyal followers turned into subscribers.
Let me ask you this: Aren't you sick and tired of getting virtual high fives (a bunch of likes, favorites and +1's,) on your social platforms? It doesn't matter if you shared a funny picture and had 1,500 likes and 75 shares.
How many leads did you gain from that?
Content let’s you get away from the virtual high fives and move towards guiding the sheep to your sales funnel.
So that raises another question: What type of content should you create?
Your content should support and enhance your marketing message, while providing answers and solutions to users looking for valuable information.
One of my mentors once told me that a true professional is willing to give away sound advice without compensation. Content that is aligned with your brands marketing message, shows your PTA's (primary target audiences) that you have valuable information and solutions that they could possible need.
For example: Flight Media is greatly focusing on 'Inbound Marketing' for the 1st quart of 2014, in our content marketing efforts. Why? Because these are the type of leads that we are aiming to gather, their for we feed them what they want, and in return they look to us for direction.
Two can be as bad as one... It's the loneliest number since the number one
Don’t just use the corporate accounts.
By itself on Twitter, Flight Media only has 9k+ followers. Together, with the team of executives, we have over 55k+.
We use the power in numbers to blast our content marketing efforts, which in turn increases our traffic and subscriber rates.
Because we use tools like Tweepi to strategically follower Users followers, we get a lot of interaction and mentions from people thanking our whole team for following them.
It looks good for the company when all of the executives follow the same person. They feel a sense of welcoming and belonging. The power in numbers also increases your circle of influence, and the power of that influence, over each of your followers.
I mentioned this earlier, so I will keep this section short, however, I do not think I can stress it's importance enough. Email marketing is an age old technique, that is also the future of marketing. You own your subscriber list, no matter what you do in business. Therefore, your goal should be to turn your followers and fans, into subscribers. Once they are subscribers, the are in your email sales funnel. We have even created sales funnels via auto-responders that are 30 emails deep, for some clients.
I recently completed a Social Media audit for a digital marketing company that had a social media manager, who wasn’t really doing their job correctly.
The analytics clearly proved that the social marketing efforts were accomplishing next to nothing; in addition to that, they had missed over 100 opportunities for interaction and engagement, literally.
And if that wasn't enough to make you piss bullets, most of the clients accounts were full of fake followers. When opportunity presents itself for interaction, do it.
If you are going to use social media, you need to be gaining leads and generating an ROI. If there is no ROI, either change what you are doing, or stop trying to use social media as a tool, and just lay down in a bathtub, alone. :-)
In all seriousness, social marketing is a tool that can literally become a core structure in one's business model. Sometimes you just need to do things right and/or spice them up a little!