Marketing in the technological age requires a healthy social media plan to build your firm’s reputation and awareness for your product throughout the industry. The waters of social media are difficult to navigate, however, and it is deceptively easy to be thrown off course.
In order to leverage social media for maximum effect, consider these four reasons your current strategy could be limiting you:
Using Too Many Tools
While social media is undoubtedly a critical part of every business plan, many firms make the mistake of getting overzealous. There are more than 400 networking sites in operation, and while a handful of those can really be categorized as widely known, you should approach the question of which sites to use with the philosophy of “less is more.” While this may seem counterintuitive to spreading word of your product as far as possible, it is prudent to be strategic about where you post.
Different social media platforms attract different crowds, so consider your audience before you begin posting. Tumblr tends to attract artists and nonconformists who form tight-knit communities. LinkedIn targets professionals. The most ardent Twitter users are on-the-go urban Millennials. Google+ users are predominantly men and Pinterest users are mostly women. Define your target demographic as clearly as possible and choose the social media platform they frequent.
Saying the Same Thing Cross-Platform
It is crucial to have a concise message and clear image for your business. Your clients should know who you are, what your product is, and where you belong in the market. That does not mean, however, that you should deliver your message in the same way across different social media platforms.
As varying target audiences gravitate toward differing social media platforms, the language used on those platforms tend to become as diverse as their user bases. There are different inside jokes, humor styles, priorities, and images that make an impact. Become intimately familiar with the communication style of your chosen platforms and tailor your posts to suit them. If you are posting on Tumblr, image-heavy posts are common and effective. Twitter will require research on when to tweet, how often to tweet, and some creativity when it comes to fitting an enticing message into the character limit.
Acting Like a Salesman
If your experience lies mainly in the areas of print and television advertising, you may be tempted to utilize the same strategy in your approach to social media. Pitching your products to your clients using Facebook and Twitter, however, is a swift way to ensure your posts are ignored.
Social media is a collaborative animal. No matter what network you use, interface with your audience rather than selling to them. For example, Black Milk Clothing has built a passionate tribe of nylon-wearing followers primarily using Facebook. Fans post pictures of themselves wearing clothing items in different ways, and some of these images are actually added to the website. They connect with one another and share their growing collections, keeping them invested in new products as they interface with the rest of the community.
Community building through social media can be much more powerful than using your account as simple adspace...no matter what industry you operate in.
Diving in With No Plan
While social media platforms are a perfect way to create awareness for your company, you must have a content plan. While traditional marketing focuses on ad placement, social media marketing requires informative content to keep users engaged.
Your social media strategies should be tied in with your content strategies. Are you posting guest blogs? Do you have an industry specific column somewhere? You should leverage your social media following to direct traffic to the content you post around the web. Quite a different approach from a sales pitch, content marketing builds your reputation as a thought leader and as someone who is engaged in the cutting-edge discussions in your field. Not only will you draw attention to their need for your product, but you will be at the forefront of their minds when they decide to pursue it.
Social media is one of the most popular and powerful tools to build a following for your business and build awareness for your product. Mistakes are common, but fortunately they are not commonly expensive. What is expensive is allowing the mistakes to persist so much that they limit the growth of your firm. By adapting to the shifting landscape of the social media stratosphere, you set yourself and your business up for unlimited opportunities.
What to you think? How has social media changed your business, and what are some practices you wish you had adopted earlier?