“The first rule of social media is that everything changes all the time. What won’t change is the community’s desire to network.”
Kami Huyse: Community Builder, Speaker, PR and Social Media Strategist, Entrepreneur, CEO of Zoetica Media
Social media does indeed change at the rate of knots. Everywhere you turn, there are many new platforms springing up all over the place. And with this comes new ways of marketing to the audiences on these channels.
There must be some merit to social media marketing. Why otherwise would 97% of small businesses use this medium to market their businesses? However, when interviewed, it was found that almost 87% of these businesses did not know the first thing about social media marketing. All they knew is that they ‘have’ to be on social media.
So this then begs the question. How does one ‘do’ social media marketing? What are the dos and don’ts that you need to practise in order to become a guru with marketing on this platform?
Social Media Marketing guide
Interact first, market later
The reason why social media started in the first place was to facilitate people getting to know each other and staying in contact. This means that when people are on social media, their first instinct is to find out what’s going on with their network, to join in a pertinent discussion or to keep up with the latest trends.
What they don’t want – more than anything else – is to be marketed to. If you do this, you’ll get the reputation of not having much to say and that you’re not original. This will probably lead to people no longer following you.
So the first thing that you need to do is to develop relationships with your audience. Make them see that you’re giving valuable contributions to the discussion. Allow them to see the value that you contribute. And then, when you have them hooked, only then do you introduce your sales message. Because your audience trusts you they will be more likely to buy from you.
However, don’t think that once you have a loyal following that you can just punt your marketing material and stop with building a relationship. Remember that social media is all about people and – just like in offline life – if you neglect a relationship, it will disintegrate. So make sure that your social media relationships last!
Make your interactions meaningful
Don’t – whatever you do – interact with someone on social media just because they’re the first account that pops up into your feed. If you don’t add value to their conversation, they will see this as harassment.
So, the rule of thumb when choosing people to interact with is select accounts who fall within your niche. So if you are, for example, a restaurant, choose to follow people who post gorgeous pictures of their meals. Even better is to follow people who you see are constantly going out to fabulous places to eat and telling the world about them. If they’re doing this for others, in the same niche, chances are good that they’ll do it for you too!
Respond to customer queries promptly
Social media has given customers the opportunity to contact brands directly. They feel that they’re almost speaking with the brand. Given this direct interaction, many brands use social media as a marketing tool in addition to a CRM system where customers can send compliments as well as complaints to the company.
However, if you decide to do this, make sure that you dedicate one person in your team to monitoring these feeds. Because if a customer does indeed complain, it needs to be dealt with as swiftly as possible. If it isn’t, it’s a sign that you don’t care about customer feedback.
The Digital School of Marketing’s Social Media Marketing Course will show you what it takes to become successful on social media. For more information about this and our other online digital marketing courses, please visit our website.
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