7. RELATIONSHIP BUILDING

1. Be real. Use social media to promote the exchange of real ideas, and participate in the conversation in an authentic way. As Seth Godin once said, networking is always important when it’s real, and it’s always a useless distraction when it’s fake. Solicit feedback from your customers—get a feel for what they want and what matters to them, and respond accordingly.

2. Don’t censor your followers. We do not filter any of our 200,000+ fans that follow us on Facebook (unless they post spam or comments that insult another person). Sometimes this can hurt—people say a lot of things, and are especially emboldened when it’s not face-to-face. But because we let them be honest, they know they can trust us—and they’re incredibly loyal as a result.

3. Don’t pass the buck. My biggest pet peeve is seeing a customer ask a company a question, only to be directed to another point of contact for the answer—creating an extra step for the customer. Social media shouldn’t be used as a stopgap; it’s an opportunity to engage with your customer right then and there. Equip your social media person with the tools and knowledge to respond directly, or let them find out the answer if they don’t know and communicate it with confidence.

4. Find your niche. Sure, having a million followers is great. But what percentage of that group really represents your target customer? It’s your core audience that is most worth engaging via social media. It’s the people who like you from a recommendation from a friend or from your website who truly want to connect with your brand. Zero in on them; talk to them; connect them with each other. Keep the conversation going.

5. Create brand ambassadors. Once you’ve found your niche, develop it! The reality is, you don’t need to convince everyone about your brand; rather, you need to find a few people who are likely to convince others for you. To get them to do this, make sure you’re worth talking about! Take an “under-promise and over-deliver” approach to your offering, and to the service around your offering. Go out of your way to make your customers happy. Deliver outstanding customer service, engage them with relevant promotions and contests and treat them like people rather than customers. Never take a single customer for granted—make them believers in what you do. If those few people are excited about you, they’ll share. Through sharing, commenting and linking, they’ll help you spread your message. And if they don’t? Keep going until you find the ones who will.

Social media has quickly become the face of your business to your consumers, so it’s important for companies to think of it like customer service on steroids. Take the opportunity to show everyone what it’s like to interact and do business with you. Don’t worry about the numbers—worry about making your numbers count!

5-6. KEY PLATFORMS

The following is what I use social media platforms:

We’ve put together a brief overview on how to use social media for marketing according to each platform’s unique environment. Various social media marketing sites will require different techniques, so develop a unique strategy tailored for each platform.

Facebookmarketing social media

Facebook’s casual, friendly environment requires an active social media marketing strategy that begins with creating a Facebook Business Fan Page.  You will want to pay careful attention to layout, as the visual component is a key aspect of the Facebook experience. Social media marketing for business pages revolves around furthering your conversation with audiences by posting industry-related articles, images, videos, etc.

Facebook is a place people go to relax and chat with friends, so keep your tone light and friendly.

Google+

Pinterest

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is one of the more professional social media marketing sites. LinkedIn Groups is a great venue for entering into a professional dialog with people in similar industries and provides a place to share content with like-minded individuals.

Encourage customers or clients to give your business a recommendation on your LinkedIn profile. Recommendations makes your business appear more credible and reliable for new customers. Also browse the Questions section of LinkedIn; providing answers helps you get established and earns trust.

YouTube for social mediaYouTube

YouTube is the number one place for creating video content, with can be an incredibly powerful social media marketing tool. Many businesses try to create video content with the aim of having their video “go viral,” but in reality those chances are pretty slim. Instead, focus on creating useful, instructive “how-to” videos. These how-to videos also have the added benefit of ranking on the video search results of Google, so don’t under-estimate the power of video content!

Using social media in marketing does more than improve site traffic and help businesses reach more customers; it provides a valuable venue for better understanding and learning from your target audiences. Hopefully this guide has helped you better understand how using social media for marketing  can improve your business.

4. PLANNING

social-media-strategy-goal-planning-tree-steps

his 5-step guide will allow individuals and businesses to get the most out of their social media efforts by helping them identify, plan and execute their social media goals. Complete content strategy checklists, perform a social media business survey, and much more with the help of this simple, hands-on guide.

The Guide to Creating a Social Media Strategy teaches you how to:

  • Clarify your business’ social media goals

  • Audit your current social media status

  • Develop your content strategy

  • Use analytics to track progress

  • Adjust your strategy as needed