For social media to be a successful part of any business’ marketing plan, first and foremost, it needs to benefit the customer. No matter whether you’re working B2C or B2B, it’s essential that what you offer via social media is useful and valuable. Otherwise, you’re just another company tweeting and Facebooking into the void.
Social media strategists always start by asking: “What is it you want social media to do for your business?” which is all well and good, but often, it’s a good idea to begin by looking at the situation from the opposite side:
What can social media do for your customers?
What will actually encourage viewers to click that link, or view your site, or comment on your post? What’s in it for them? Worrying prematurely about ROI or traffic increase or brand strength is secondary to the simple act of getting your customers’ attention.
Where your targeted customers hang out – Are they Facebookers, Twitter addicts, serious LinkedIn types, multimedia sharers, Redditers or Diggers? Do your research and make contact where you’re most likely to get a response.
How you can be unique – What are your competitors doing and how can you differentiate/offer something better?
Content – What is going to be most useful to your customers and what is going to turn them off? Mix up your posts – don’t just feed in endless blog posts. Offer them product information, up to date news, exterior links to relevant industry news, promotions, local news and most importantly – your own opinions and thoughts – entice them to join your conversation and keep them interested.
Support and customer service – one of the great things about social media is its capacity to act as an almost instant customer service platform. As long as you monitor your profiles regularly, you can help and appease customers extremely quickly and show your clients some attentive love.
Exclusive discounts and promotions – social media is fantastic for luring in customers with competitions and special offers. Try to get them involved by adding an extra dimension to their participation – ask for their best stories/ideas/jokes on a specific subject, rather than having them just clicking ‘like’ to be entered into a prize draw. Get them talking and engaged with your company and your brand.
Fun – social media is an ideal way to show your business’ personality. Stay within the realms of good taste and political correctness of course, but utilise the chance to display a human face behind the company – show your customers you appreciate them and value their opinions.
Once you’ve implemented these considerations into your social media plan, then you can start thinking about how to approach each aspect to achieve your marketing goals. All of these things can be adapted to suit different approaches – whether you want to see higher search ranking, more traffic to your site, brand awareness, customer loyalty, ROI – you first need to work out the best way of appealing to your desired audience.