Social media marketing is the practice of maintaining conversations on social media platforms that focus on promotion or customer service for commercial brands. Personal interaction concerning products and services in social spaces is seen by many companies as a valuable activity that personalizes their brand and builds trust among current and potential customers. Other stakeholders, like journalists, employees and the general public are given a sense of the organization’s corporate culture and tone through textual and graphic content posted by marketers.
Some arguments in favor Reasons to think about investing in putting your business on social media
Marketing in a personal space? Thoughts on why to market on social media
The Coolness Factor Keeping up with the memes
Brand Loyalty Build this with social media
What to Post? Where do I get ideas and inspiration?
Taking a Stand The risks and rewards of letting your conscience show
Adapt or Die Expect your feeds to go out of date quickly
Offer your audience something they want- A word on gated content
Social Media Advertising Be careful here!
Geotargeting- Where, oh where are my customers?
Good New Fashioned Networking social media is today’s word of mouth advertising
What Now? Steps to take toward Social Media Greatness
Every sale starts with a question.
"Where can I find a good CPA?"
"How will a new regulation affect my business?"Where might you get your answer?
Most companies would like to boast about their loyalty and responsiveness in their customer relationships. They know that word-of-mouth advertising yields the best and longest lasting customers. They also know that new customers asking "the question" don't search for the Yellow Pages, they search online.
Potential customers read reviews of your company and listen to conversations about you before you even have a chance to engage them. Can you make those reviews, tweets and status updates work for you?
Yes! Social Media is all about staying in touch on a person-to-person level, and for the first time in history, you can converse with unlimited numbers of people on their terms, in a social setting. Opportunities for communication are wide open - anyone with an internet provider can take advantage of them. And it's not always the biggest companies that get there first. The playing field is truly level, and the best listener wins.
Social Media Marketing is low cost.
Your current employees are a great way to start - empower them to include status updates on company news. No fancy website or e-commerce site needed, just a willingness to spend some time talking with customers.
Great questions. We can answer all of them and more. Let United WebWorks help you navigate the channels of social media in a way that lets you in on more sales! They say that when you peer into the mysteries of subatomic particles like electrons and such, that you can never determine both the location and the speed of anything. Measure one and you lose the other. Putting the phenomenon of social media under scrutiny reminds us of Heisenberg's famous uncertainty principle. And injecting the act of marketing into a realm of unpredictable social interaction reminds us that we tread on shifting sand.Even so, we'd like to argue that you can actually gain some insight into some possibility of proven success in a space that might seem at first hostile to building brand loyalty.
You know a good oxymoron when you see one. Like an "unbiased opinion," or "old news," the phrase "social media advertising" sounds like a self-contradictory phrase- how can you market your product or service in a medium that is perceived as personal?Think about your interactions with others. We do give our favorite brand names some space in our personal interactions, sometimes quite a bit if we really like something. Whether it's asking a friend for an evaluation of their new car or mentioning a positive or negative interaction with a brand, there is no commercial-free exclusion zone around our person-to-person conversations. We might think our social media space is somehow tainted by the mention of a brand or product, but not so, according to social media advertising pros. Is there a way to approach an effective plan for social media advertising without killing the medium?
A group of researchers in Turkey set out to identify the most effective aspects of social media marketing on brand loyalty. They began with this question: What seems most natural and appropriate to establishing relationships with buyers and creating favorable impressions of brands in the public eye? The authors surveyed the issue from a consumer's perspective.1 They found that the most significant force behind creating brand loyalty was what they called "advantageous campaigns," or content that adds tangible value to a social media based interaction. For example, answering a question in return for a coupon for the product. Or posting advance notice of an advantage that only followers of that brand can access, like an access code that saves on a purchase, or bringing an item into a store for a discount. Try offering specials on a certain day and informing only your brand-loyal social media followers, and those with whom they share the message. In second place was relevance of content. This takes some diligent and continually refreshed familiarity with your social media audience.
Relevance moves extremely fast on the internet. What was buzz last week is not even background noise this week. Just think about trends like the old "mannequin challenge," Planking or the ALS bucket challenge. And you might have missed the one where kids were donning bathing suits and diving into the deepest snowbank they could find. A brand that is serious about loyalty has no choice but to keep probing current trends and everyday water cooler gossip outside the bubble of their company.
Popularity is in third place. This is an elusive, difficult-to-control aspect. Many times your "coolness" factor just happens and you can do your best to ride the wave. Other times, a very perceptive organization can anticipate what has a good chance of becoming cool based on general opinion or perception. One window into the soul of popularity is current mass media: movies, TV, magazines, music and the like. Tie in your social media posts to current events, styles, fashion trends, holidays, etc. Think about brands like Levi's, which dressed the general public in heavy denim work pants and found ways to keep it cool since the 1950's. One popularity factor Levi's stumbled into was the perception of established authorities in the early 50's that blue jeans were the preferred pants of "juvenile delinquents". This predictably led to an explosion of demand among teenagers.
Popularity has a lot of back doors. Word of mouth is an additional layer of diffusion, so a focus on opinion leaders or respected voices in target communities should not be neglected. Television shows like Saturday Night Live have an outsized influence on our cultural milieu; it's what people talk and laugh about in every corner and level of American society. What's done on SNL can spread on social media like a virus (see what we did there?). When your post's shares go up, you know something good is happening. Finally, the study revealed that pushing content out to multiple venues linked to social media in the form of apps, games, contests, sponsored content and other creative, interactive means was a boost to popularity.
Consumers' brand loyalty is also affected positively by maintaining a wide array of platforms and applications offered by the brand through social media, implying that consumers are asking for creative reasons, variety, and multiple experiences for engaging with the brands on social media. Thus, companies may work on creating more engaging, participative, interesting applications, games, content on social media to draw their customers' interest.
The aforementioned survey tested 22 types or themes governing content. Overall the general finding was that social media consumers in general tended to respond much more favorably to upbeat, positive or humorous posts as reinforcements to brand loyalty. The top ten themes were: Music, Tech, humor, instructional videos, extraordinary or weird topics, movie and TV, sports, product reviews, art, and travel. Your brand will increase its loyalty strength by keeping to the positive side of the content ledger. Want some examples of brands that are doing well in reinforcing brand appeal in social media? How many of these have you seen?
Followers of Denny's know that their posts are irreverent and silly, as if there were no corporate marketers keeping an eye on a room full of giggling teenagers. It really does create an association between the delight of seeing what they might post next and the brand.…Like pancake shoes
Creative, surprising, high quality and very short videos have done well for Oreo, like this video of The Spilling, a send-up of Stanley Kubrick's eerie scene in The Shining, just in time for Halloween
GrubHub came up with this brilliantly interactive graphic as a way to get people to stare at an image that stands a good chance of eliciting the use of their service. It ties into our tendency to resolve ambiguity (is it a painting or not?) and our quirky habit of taking pictures of our food before we eat it.
GoPro adds value to their brand by soliciting user-generated content. Imagine seeing your photo or video on the official GoPro Instagram feed. What a great feeling that ties a customer into the brand! It also shows their product in action, tempting the viewer to consider it further.
Companies don't always embrace firm positions on social issues, for the mere fact that they don't want to alienate anyone who might be a buyer. Always products breaks the mold with their YouTube campaign in favor of supporting a more positive social status for young girls. Granted this is a fairly safe bet, their audience being almost entirely female, but they do generate a place for loyalty to attach. In the race to garner brand loyalty from their audience, we'd have to say that Always got there first. So don't be afraid of social media advertising. Embracing the medium can boost creativity, make you identify and pursue your identity, humanize your brand and forge deeper relationships with customers that are increasingly the lifeblood of any company.
Whether you like it or not, the internet isn't static. Brands that exist on the "world-wide-web" must adapt and change to fit trends and exist on every major platform. If you don't have a presence in an intentional way, you're leaving a void that your competitors are more than happy to fill. While the internet world is indeed a great equalizer, where anyone with a connection can broadcast to the planet, it can also be a detriment to those who haven't found the will to engage. Social media for lead generation is an essential tool for businesses tackling the internet, and it's a very attainable system. You just have to know where to start... If you're ready, as you should be, to tackle social media and gain leads through an inbound marketing strategy, there are a few steps you should keep in mind:
Trade something customers want for something you want …that's why so many successful internet marketers use "gated content." Usually the key to unlock the high value content that you're offering, is your lead's contact info (at minimum name and email address) entered into a form on a landing page. Once past the gate, the offer is accessible to the visitor and the content producer has access to a lead's basic online identity. This exchange makes lead generation via social media, mutually beneficial for both parties involved. Your new contact has given you their information (which YOU want), while they have been given an instructional e-book, slideshow, etc. (that THEY want). Win-win. What kinds of content work well as Gated Content?
These documents originated as non-binding written policies published by various British government departments to test public opinion. The marketing world has adopted the practice of crafting long-form written proposals for the purpose of informing and eventually persuading sales leads to consider a business, product or service. Marketing white papers usually fall into one of three forms:
Background paper- explains the technical or commercial benefits of a product or service.
Enumerated list- a set of questions, suggestions, rules or tips , or informational items that present a business in a positive light
Case Studies- Showcases the implementation of a product or service that positively affected a set of business problems by both anecdotal and factual content.
A well-produced presentation of material by video, often broadcast live online using an online webinar application WebEx, GoToWebinar, Google Hangouts, or Skype. The production can take the form of a discussion, demonstration, presentation, training, or educational installment. Shared video and audio make it possible for the audience to interact with the material.
A short book-length piece on content of interest to leads. The best eBooks deliver what they promise, i.e., they have truly useful material that helps the reader. They can be presented in dozens of different formats like ePub, iBook, Kindle, Microsoft Word, PDF, or Mobi. Many eBooks feature well-designed and attractive graphics and well-written text.
A Landing Page is presented through your social media networks, like a Tweet, Facebook post or Pinterest pin in the form of a highlighted link. Once the link is clicked a form is presented and upon entering their information, the visitor is taken to a download screen and they access the content on their own
Offering gated content is a great way to generate filtered leads who want your material enough to present you with some contact information. People who think your offer is worth providing you with their valuable information are more likely to enjoy what you are selling. These are good leads!
And the Winner is… People love getting stuff for "free," although contests on social media are tricky. Try a contest that focuses on the product that you might offer to any qualified lead or customer: an extended warranty/upgrade, fee waiver or subscription. How do you do this on your social media channels?
Have contestants enter by sharing, retweeting, responding of following. Be aware that some social media frown on overt requests for readers to "like."
Consider that everything you add to the ease of entering your contest decreases the volume of click-throughs, but that may be appropriate for your sales team. For example, Clicking "Like" is way easier than clicking on a link and typing in 6 or 7 data points about themselves and their business.
Using social media for lead generation can be delicate since most venues are designed for personal interaction. Not only that, but getting established in your ad sweet spot can take time getting over a difficult learning curve. That said, it can also be a gold mine if done with determination and a willingness to learn. Targeting audiences down to a fine-grained level is possible, you'll need the data about individuals collected by various social media outlets. Twitter, for example, enables you to target followers of certain interests, people or events or who patronize similar businesses. Facebook also allows you to zero in on people who have specific interests, for example, who have donated to medical causes, "liked" quite a few posts related to political conservatism or added friends who all have the same TV show in common. Take the time to learn how advertising on each major social media platform works in terms of how you're charged- it will definitely affect how you design and deploy your ads. Also, make sure that you think about mobile screens when you construct your ads!
Marketing can't get enough of targeting. The more the better, and targeting ads is getting better as we connect increasingly with electronic means. It's gone way beyond gender and zip code, folks. It's now possible to shoot your message, for example, to women in their 30's who are interested in locally-grown food that live within 15 miles of your outlet.Not only that, but geotargeting allows you to listen in or join conversations that are relevant to very specific parameters, including location. Social media just got a lot more interesting as a marketing tool! Mining the metadata associated with users' posts is the key. Along with an IP address, you can access age, gender, languages spoken, general interests, and connections with others (they are networks, after all). If you have ever liked or retweeted a post, it was recorded as another bit of data added to your personal file, waiting for a chance to help advertisers deliver ads that you are actually interested in. Do some research on how geotargeting or geofencing works and be prepared to do a lot of testing in the initial phases before you uncover the formula for success. Hootsuite, Geofeedia and Simpli.fi are examples of avenues you can take to get started. Larger sales and marketing players like HubSpot and Salesforce include social media marketing in their array of tools.
Rotary meetings aren't nearly as crucial as they once were, no sir. While live face to face networking is still super-important, There's a place where that style of interaction is going on without the mediocre lunch and unexciting presentations. Especially if you're a B2B company, LinkedIn has a lot of potential to make your networking job easier. This resource has rapidly become a robust online meeting place where keeping your profile up to date is now a regular activity, along with some broadcasting of your marketing message. Create your own affinity group or join one. Start off by posting a few questions, and move on to supplying answers for others' inquiries. Then move on from publicly answering questions to using the "Reply Privately" feature. From there you can use other methods of communication based on their view of you as a trusted expert. Again, it will take some social skill to hit the right tone: Not pushy, available. Not aggressive, passionate.
Social Media for lead generation is just one of the things we do for businesses. We understand that this part of your marketing plan can be tricky. Witness the many, many social media posting faux pas committed by companies who didn’t carefully consider the impact of a post (or just weren't paying attention). Whether ill-timed ill-worded or ill-conceived, a bad post has the potential to put a big ‘ol target on your back that you must deal with or risk permanent damage to your brand. On the bright side, many marketers have figured out ways to spin a boo-boo in a positive direction.
Social media marketing is not simple. It takes experimentation, patience, time and sustained creativity. Don’t feel like reinventing that wheel? United WebWorks has plenty of experience and the talent to fill your Facebook and Twitter feeds that coordinate with the rest of your online presence.
Social Media is a giant audience with billions of eyes that you should not ignore. Where better to invite people to your site than a place where everyone is looking? While possible, this lead generation is not necessarily easy, especially through a channel that is as fluid and ever-changing as Social Media. But, don't worry. United WebWorks can help.
Thinking about what it takes to be an expert social media marketer? Many larger companies have a full time staff that does nothing but oversee the brand's image on their social channels. Get some idea of the array of responsibilities held down by a full-time professional in our Social Media Manager Job Description. Much of what is covered here is what we do for our clients! Click on the graphic to get your copy.
1- The Study: rem Eren Erdo mu and Mesut Çiçek / The Impact of Social Media Marketing on Brand Loyalty© 2012 Published by Elsevier Ltd. Selection and/or peer-review under responsibility of the 8th International Strategic Management Conference Open access under CC BY-NC-ND license.
If you want to work with a team that’s fun, energetic, meticulous, detail-oriented, and most of all talented, choose United Webworks! We are so grateful to their team for all of their efforts!
-Kris Bartiromo, Ledesma Sports Medicine