Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Engaging Your Social Media Audience

Most of my posts are based on social media marketing, its trends and best practice methods.  As more businesses continue to start using social media proactively as a marketing tool, there are a few bad habits that I continuously see with the use of social media and business marketing.  For a lack of better knowledge, business owners who try the "do-it-yourself" method for social media marketing are vastly under-utilizing the constantly changing features of social media while at the same time practicing methods of social media marketing that have proven to be unsuccessful.

In my last post, Social Media Blogging: Putting Your Entire Organization to Work , I talked about a couple of different types of social media marketing posts: direct response marketing and informational content.  Direct response marketing in social media is designed so that the user is enticed to click a link with the end result being the sale of a product or service.  An example of a direct response marketing post for a steakhouse restaurant would be, "Click here to get a free appetizer with the purchase of two entrees."

In contrast, there is another type of post where informational content is the bait to get users to click on your link.  An example of this type of post for the same steakhouse restaurant would be, "New research shows that eating red meat is good for your heart. Click here for the full article."  Not only is this informational but it also relates to the type of food that the restaurant serves and could possibly lead to more business just by users clicking to read the article and realizing that maybe they should go have a steak dinner at your restaurant.     

Both of these types of posts are designed to draw interest in your business but to social media users, the direct response marketing tactic is seen as a bit more aggressive and may put off a vibe that the business is only interested in getting your money rather than giving you a little bit of valuable information in return.  This is where I see most of the bad habits: posting only one or the other.  The key to running successful social media marketing campaigns is to have a balance of direct response and information posts.  It's OK to ask for business or a referral but if a salesman was going to walk into your office every day asking for you to buy something every time, you might get a bit irritated and blow them off all together.  If you come to their office sometimes and give them information that's important to their own operations, then you might be more welcomed each time you walk through their door.

The business owners who practice the "do-it-yourself" method are not doing anything wrong.  In their minds, they know what they know and what they have experienced.  As my Grandfather used to say, "He don't know and he don't know that he don't know."  In this example, if the business owner doesn't have much success on their own with social media marketing, they might think it is worthless and not worth spending any marketing dollars on it.  But used the right way, social media marketing is less expensive than other forms of traditional marketing and the return on investment is much greater as well.

These marketing methods can also be useful when running sponsored advertisements on social media but you will have to wait until my next post to learn exactly how.  In the meantime, you can contact me directly by visiting our website at Web Crawl Consulting.     

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Social Media Blogging: Putting Your Entire Organization to Work

With the ever growing world of social media, more and more companies are investing in social media marketing either in-house or through a 3rd party management firm.  A recent study revealed that 90% of companies are using social media as a means to promote their services and engage users.  A common issue that we see is the misuse of social media marketing strategies.

There are many different marketing strategies to use on your social media pages.  There is direct response marketing where the goal is to have the user click on the link in the ad that takes them to a sale.  This is the type of social media marketing that most people misuse because they use it too much.  If you are always coming across as trying to push your product on the social media audience, you are likely to be unsuccessful with your social media marketing campaign.  Social media users do not like to feel like they are constantly being sold something.

Another marketing strategy for social media is to engage users by offering free information about your area of expertise.  A marketer can leverage this as a way to gain the user's interest of product-related subjects and get them thinking about your product without directly saying that they need to buy your product.  There are different ways to accomplish this but I would like to focus on big business strategy.  Most of my topics cover solutions for small and medium sized businesses, but large businesses can use their size to their advantage when it comes to creating mass amounts of usable, original content that will help not only with search engine optimization but also engage users through social media.

Open Forum Company Blog

The concept is simple: Your company has many employees.  Your employees should be industry experts in their field and might be a great source of information related to the company, services offered, solutions, etc.  They don't have to be the top executives of the firm.  These can be employees with great ideas throughout the entire firm.  A large company can create a blog for employees to access.  They can submit articles for review and possible placement on the company blog.  This is a great way to create all new original content.  Use free plagiarism scanners that are available online to check for original content.  Explain the rules for submitting content to the blog and have someone review all entries before they are posted live to the website.  Encourage your employees to participate by offering some kind of incentive. 

Not only does this create a massive amount of content but the company can showcase this information through their social media outlets.  Post Blog articles that are most related to the company's services and that are useful to a typical customer.  This is the kind of content that can indirectly turn into a sale.  It is also engaging content and tends to not turn the user off to your future posts that may be geared more toward direct response marketing.