The How and Why of Social Media Marketing
Every weekend I come across a new social media tool, website, or service. I spent this past weekend sorting out my social media campaigns, and to be honest it took hours. Some of the tools I picked weren’t working they way they were promoted. Some worked too well, filling my social media channels with meaningless clutter.
I had to ask, “If I’m getting bogged down in the social media universe, and I’m a professional, what does this new marketing channel look like to a business owner? Why should a business owner spend the time, or hire someone like me, to build an online presence if they perceive social media as a time-ravenous maze? Too many “next big things” come across my desk every day, and if I jumped into every one, I would never get to the business of running my business.
So this series of blog posts are for the business owner who is beginning to believe that social media can benefit his bottom line, but is hesitant to jump in because he or she want to know How and Why this new medium works, and if it lives up to the hype.
Why Social Media?
The short answer is – the world has changed. Today 40 percent of consumers start their product purchasing process by searching on the Internet, and over 80% of them use Google. We don’t go to a store and wander the aisled looking for a product that is “close enough.” We don’t limit our buying decision to the products on the shelves. The day of the mega-store that handles average products suited for the majority of people is over. Today I can get exactly what I want, and like me, a majority of buyers start the process online.
The longer answer is this. Because it cost’s nothing but time to create information and feed the Google-monster, businesses can (and must) push their information out into the social universe so that their existing customers can connect with them, and their future customers can find them.
Accurately describing a social network on paper is at best difficult. The image of a neural network comes to mind, so does nailing Jell-O to a wall. Many different sites, reports and tools work together with the online consumer ecosystem to create a flow of information from your business out into the social universe. Once the message is consistently present, listeners find it and tune in.
The best metaphor is that of a radio station broadcast. The online content and tools create the information broadcast. Those looking for quality information find you in the social stream through search engines, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. Because your content is consistent and valuable, they “tune in” to your social media channels.
The How of Social Media
If you are a business, stepping into this new medium is confusing; so let’s break it down and understood in bite-sized chunks. There are five key steps required if you’re planning a social media marketing strategy.
- Publishing: A business must create new content to push into the social media information stream.
- Broadcasting: Once the information is created, like a radio station, you must “broadcast” across the social universe with digital, web-based tools.
- Listening: Citizens in the social universe expects to be heard when they talk back. Listening gives a business the opportunity to adjust and respond.
- Marketing: prospects are turned into customers the old-fashioned way. Give them an incentive to buy now so that the value they receive is larger than the money they are putting on the table.
- Connecting: The four steps above bring people to your digital door. Now a business can engage them, earn their trust, and convert them into customers.
In the following days, I’ll talk more about these five steps in the social media marketing process. If you are a business owner looking to expand into the social media universe, you can connect with me using one of the links on the right. You can also connect with Nicole Munoz of Start Ranking Now. (http://www.startrankingnow.com) Nicole has a global team of professional SEO experts, blog writers and social media marketing specialists. Let her design a targeted marketing campaign for you.