Monday, September 23, 2013

5 Steps for Successful Social Media Marketing

Parenthetically you've gotten the approval to get your company associated with social media marketing and are ready to launch your time and efforts. How will you define success?
It is really an important question, because a large numbers of companies have jumped into social media with no clear business strategy. Before the financial meltdown from the last few weeks, some companies had the resources to realize social media without worrying about financial accountability. Great, most businesses must demonstrate an ROI on any new work.

Actually the lack of good metrics is cited since the biggest barrier to marketers' adoption of social networking. Particularly within this shaky financial climate, measuring impact is among the definitive measures of the marketing strategy's value. If you wish to skip the blind experimentation, particularly consideringg our current global financial crisis, we've assembled a listing of 5 tips to help you start leveraging social networking with minimal investment and with strong systems in position to measure success.

Steps #1: Identify Your Own Target Audience and Listen to Them

The initial step to measuring success in social internet marketing is proper scope. There are new social support systems popping up each week. From the waste of resources to join every new social network just to find you have no time to manage them. Discover where your most active customers & influencers spend some time online - then listen and take notes.

Here is some tools you may use to tune in to the conversation: Technorati, Google Blog Search, Ice Explode, Bloglines, Twitter Search, AideRSS as well as HubSpot's HubFeed. More complex social networking monitoring tools include Radian6 and Techrigy.

Steps #2: Get Involved with Conversations

The second thing you want to do when success is consistently utilizing social media to engage potential customers. When you start listening to conversations, you may hear some things with regards to your company that aren't very complimentary. That's ok. Your work now is to engage these customers and find a method to help. Be willing to acknowledge mistakes once they happen. Customers are surprisingly forgiving if a company partcipates in an honest and egoless manner.

If you're among the lucky companies who only has enthusiastic and happy customers, identify their wish to interact with you and be generous together with your time. Be open to engaging with them on the turf. They'll reward your brand with greater enthusiasm - that is a message that spreads through social support systems like wildfire, and solidifies your brand.

For example, on Twitter both Starbucks and Whole Foods share customer remarks, local specials, and inquire customers what their favorite goods are. It's casual and open, yet subtly attracts the attractiveness of the brand. Check out a few of the brands on Twitter, and implement a selection of their conversation techniques.

Steps #3: Give! Provide! Give!

How involved is the team in communicating with potential customers, influencers and current customers on online communities? How often are you publishing great content in order to your prospects do their jobs? How often would you blog, Tweet, post photos on Flickr, discuss other blogs, Podcast, upload videos, etc? The greater content that you produce and publish on online communities, the more traffic you can attract returning to your website. If your site is designed well for converting visitors into leads, these activities can help you increase sales.

Steps #4: Learn the Various Tools of the Industry

"Social media strategy should tie to business and conversation strategy, instead of being based on the available tools. But it is not really possible to develop a social media strategy without a minimum of having an understanding of the various tools that are offered, their functionality and purposes, and the types of audiences and conversations for which they might be suitable. " - Joel Postman, Principal Socialized PUBLIC RELATIONS

It's critical to tie your business technique to your social media strategy. However, without a understanding of what social media and social networking sites allow you to do, it's hard to know how to do this. It's important to establish a blog as the home base. Then, learn the capabilities of every site to help you interact. Like Twitter provides an almost unfettered ability to interact with your prospective clients. But, it only enables you to type 140 characters at a time. Therefore maybe a video posted to youtube might be a better way to build a "how-to". Linkedin & Facebook allow you to see who your contacts know. But, facebook can make it much easier to connect with them. LinkedIn Answers is really a much better place to answer business focussed questions than every other social network.

It's important to learn to use these sites to get business value out of your social networking activity. Talk to an expert to determine where you can spend your time for the most powerful return.

Steps #5: Use Website Analytics Software Program to Measure Leads and Sales

Many experts concur that social networking will affect the next generation of seo techniques as search engines start to make use of the signals we collectively leave once we network and share media online. Even today, social networking activity affects the success of a number of other inbound marketing techniques:

  • Website positioning
  • Social bookmarking action
  • Social networking cable connections
  • Video/podcast views/listens
  • Backlinks
  • RSS subscriptions
  • Comments on the blog
  • Mentions of your brand name
  • Number of times people search for your own brand name
  • Visitors (first-time and repeat)
  • Prospects & Customers!

The finish goals is lead generation and sales. But, there are many leading indicators as you ramp improve efforts.

Use tracking codes, a good analytics package and closed loop marketing to be able to track the visits, leads and sales that occur due to your social media activities.

by Peter Caputa

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