With the exploding popularity of social media sites, businesses have seen them as a way to attract new audiences for their products and services. They’ve jumped on the sites in the belief that getting their names out there will be enough. But, it’s not quite that simple.
Social media is increasingly being included in companies’ marketing strategies, but many often don’t go beyond a mere presence on the site. In fact, some large retailers who jumped on the Facebook bandwagon early on have now jumped off simply because just having a fan page wasn’t translating to sales. They’ve gone back to the drawing board to sketch out a new social media strategy.
Developing a strategy
Most public relations professionals say the first step in social media marketing strategy is to have good solid content on your social media site that interests your target audience and drives people back to your website. The content strategy must come before the social media strategy. One such professional, Joe Pulizzi, owner of junta42.com, offers a video where he talks about how to determine what would be compelling content for your site, and developing a strategy to present it to your customers, and also get them involved. Once content is developed, where will you share it?
Choosing a Platform
Nowadays there are a number of platforms available for companies to get involved with but it’s important to be on the ones that work for you. Many times that means you won’t be on all of them. Companies need to do what works for them and their community and do it well. Here we’ve focused on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook and the information your audience can get from them.
LinkedIn is one social media site where your customers can get a better idea of how large your company is and how well it’s doing. They can immediately see your company profile, which often comes up high on the list in Google searches, so make sure you put plenty of time and effort into how it looks and the information contained there.
Likewise, you can tell a lot about a company you may be looking to do business with by finding them on LinkedIn. Look carefully at the company profile, at how many followers it has, groups it participates in, and look at its employees’ profiles. Employees’ profiles that are linked to the company site tells potential customers or partners much more about the company, such as the number of employees, the types and quality of people hired, their skills, and how long they have worked there. This in-depth information creates a much more accurate profile of a company that you can’t typically get from just looking at its website. You won’t get all this from a company’s Facebook or Twitter page, but those sites can tell you other information.
Twitter is another way companies can break news about new products, services and events. It’s also a way companies connect with their customers, posting news about their brands. Publishers announce new titles; other companies announce special prices, promotions and new products.
A company’s Facebook page will give you a little more insight, as well, such as how often someone posts to the page, what posts are about and how many people are interested in what the company has to say.
You can tell a lot about a corporation by how they manage their email marketing campaigns. Does someone from the company reach out to you on the anniversary of when you began working together? Do they notify you of sales and promotions, but fall silent when they have nothing to share but spam? A great email marketing campaign will easily stay in the solid line of positive corporate communication without dipping into the realm of spam.
If social media sites are being neglected, that tells you the company’s focus is not on marketing as much as it should be, or it needs to hire someone to take care of social media marketing, or that it’s not doing many innovative or newsworthy things. All of these can be red flags. A company not focused on marketing opportunities or not doing interesting things to tell their customers about could be a dying, or at the very least, a stagnating company.
Felicia Baratz is a freelance writer, graphic designer and social media addict living in Indianapolis, IN. As a contributor to Technected.com, Felicia discusses new, innovative technology and it’s relation to the business world and social media marketing.