If you wanted to read a silver bullet article this is not it.
Social media (SM) is not a quick-fix. Like most marketing/comms strategy it takes time, commitment, consistency and effort. It can be cheaper than other marketing tactics but if you are not willing to invest in social media it will never bring you the results that you desire.
Signing onto Facebook, Tweeting, creating a LinkedIn profile or signing up for Google Plus is only the beginning. To get value from social media, you must share value, and integrate value into your social media strategy.
Adding value on SM social media is like climbing a ladder, you climb up one-step at a time until you reach the top. When you reach the top your plan is solid and your efforts will be noticed by your prospective clients and customers. But like most strategy it will not work overnight – it’s going to take you being dedicated and investing time daily to create a solid foundation.
Social media is about learning, listening and creating relationships providing the ability to:
- Listen to your potential customers and clients and gain intelligence.
- Learn about what it is they want. What are they looking for? How can you help?
- Build relationships, because people want to buy from people that they not only know, but that they like.
Through social media we can build authentic and personal connections and in return those connections will help us in growing our businesses. Those connections will come from sharing value – not selling.
Here are some typical steps ranked in priority;
- Step 1- Content
Yes content takes time and effort but it is the foundation of social media marketing. Content will leave a longer lasting impression than anything else. Content will engage your target audience and drive profitable action to your business. Content also isn’t just about your content, it’s about reading content from others commenting on that content and sharing. You will get back as much as you put into others – if you can keep that in mind you will be well on your way to building a strong and reciprocating foundation.
- Step 2 – RSS
RSS stands for real simple syndication. It’s an easy way to aggregate and filter content around particular subjects that interest you and your target audience. RSS is an easy way curate information that will give you ideas, help you think of new topics and also give you information to share with your networks delivered right to your desktop. Have a look at Google reader as a common example but there many more.
- Step 3 – Social Search
Social search is the integration of personal social results and their social graph in public search listings. What you say and what others say about your business on social networks gets listed. You can use social search to not only stimulate conversation, but to also assist you in managing your reputation. Do you see how your content plays into social search? By posting content or sharing content it will begin to appear in the search engine results of those that have your business in their social graph.
- Step 4 – Social Bookmarking
Social Bookmarking sites provide you with a way to find and bookmark and tag stuff all over the web. You can curate information that interests you and share it with your social bookmarking community. Tagging content to and participating in social bookmarking communities is a great way to open up more channels to your business and drive search traffic. Social bookmarking creates valuable links and search engine juice, this empowers your content to rank higher in search engine results. Creating a systematic approach to social bookmarking, will help in building hundreds of links to your website and in return creating hurdles for your competition on key search terms.
- Step 5- Social Networks
The priority of resource spent on social media networks can depend on your business networks like Facebook, LinkedIn and you should-pay-attention-to-google-plus are important but unless you’ve implemented the previous steps climbed up the ladder, you will only find frustration. The social networks take time to understand and they thrive on content and new ideas, but without anything to share you will not see the positive impact on your business that you hope for. Social networks carry a lot of value to your business, but without content and engagement these networks will leave you empty handed.
Social media does have value, but you must be willing to:
- Climb the social media marketing ladder and invest in each and every step.
- Develop a clear and concise strategy that you and your team can follow.
- Be committed.
- Be consistent.
- Benchmarks, milestones are key to gauge what’s working and what’s not working.
Social media marketing does work, but it does not work overnight – it takes work! Invest in it, you won’t regret it.