Is Your Social Media Strategy Discouraging Potential Customers?
In some ways, social media resembles the traditional art of public relations. Both strategies are designed primarily to create a sense of trust and friendship with the consumer, helping to ensure that your company will be the preferred choice for doing business with. This means engaging in genuine two-way communication with current and prospective customers about the things that are important to them, and not using social media as just another outlet for one-way sales pitches.
How Social Media Works
Today’s consumers are increasingly frustrated and annoyed with many of the traditional methods of marketing persuasion. They distrust paid advertisements, preferring to receive information about products and services in the form of informative articles, videos, and product reviews that they can view at a time and place of their own choosing. What’s more, many traditional advertising channels such as local newspapers and phone books have lost much of their audience to digital alternatives.
- Social media helps fill the void created by the decline of tradition advertising channels by allowing users to choose their own sources of information and entertainment, and to share important content with friends and family.
- A large part of the content being shared consists of reviews and comments about the products and services that social media users have bought.
- Above all, active social media users are there to socialize with friends and family. They aren’t looking for information about your product, or seeking you out as a solution to a problem. That doesn’t mean that they would never buy from you, it simply means that sales are not going to happen in the same manner as they might with more direct and intrusive digital marketing methods.
How to Win Friends and Followers with Social Media
One of the oldest and truest principles in sales is that people don’t buy from someone they don’t like and trust. That’s the whole idea behind social media marketing: creating a forum where your company can strike up a two-way conversation with present and future customers that creates and strengthens that sense of like and trust.
- Don’t spread yourself too thin by jumping on every social media channel. Focus your energy on the 2 or 3 channels that the majority of your customers are most involved with. Social media is not a “set it and forget it” proposition – to do it right requires time and work. Depending on your industry and niche, a combination of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google Plus and YouTube might be the best way to go; Facebook drives the most traffic referrals of any social media, Google Plus offers a number of rank-building benefits, Twiiter is realtime posting/news, Instagram is image and video based, and YouTube provides the most engaged traffic.
- Mix up your social content with an emphasis on useful, informative, and humorous content. About 80 to 85 percent of your posts should be devoted to news and information about your industry and the local community, and the remaining 15 to 20 percent used for “soft sell” product news.
- Offer a variety of content vehicles such as text posts, videos, and graphics.
- Create and adhere to a consistent publishing schedule. One of the fastest ways to turn off your fans and followers is by irregular and erratic posting; it sends a negative “we really don’t care” message.
- Never pass up an opportunity to respond and engage with the public through your social media channels, especially when you encounter negative posts about your company or products.