Businesses need to promote and market themselves directly to their customers, on every possible channel that is available to them. This means that in order to be successful, a small business needs to employ a diverse variety of marketing strategies, including traditional off-line advertising techniques, online SEO strategies and various online marketing tactics including e-mail marketing, ppc advertising, video marketing, and social media marketing.
What is Social Media?
Social media is a powerful platform that is used to bring people together to engage, share information and collaborate with one another. It is a critically important business tool because it presents an excellent platform for businesses to increase visibility, build their brand, build relationships with their target audience, generate qualified leads and stand out from the competition.
What is Social Media Marketing?
Social media marketing is the process of effectively communicating your authority, expertise and values through various social media channels. It is a successful way of gaining awareness through social media sites.
It is also a powerful and highly effective way to generate qualified business leads, increase customer loyalty and build a strong brand while at the same time pushing down your cost of sales, marketing, customer service and much more.
Here are some key points to bear in mind when generating leads through social media marketing:
Don’t try to be everywhere.
Results will not happen overnight, and your main focus should be on building an active presence on social networks where your target audience hangs out. You don’t have to be on every single social network. That would be a waste of your time because you’ll only be able to spend a small amount of time on each network, and that’s not enough to generate meaningful results on each platform.
The best way to find out if your customers are on a particular platform is to go through the conversations that are happening on the platform and see if people are talking about your product or service. For example, if you are considering Twitter, go to search.twitter.com and type in topics that are relevant to your product or service. Are people having conversations or asking questions about it? If you’re not able to find any conversations about what you sell, then there’s no point building an active presence on Twitter.
Social engagement is key.
Generating quality leads requires constant interaction and engagement with your followers. Note that you’ll generate higher quality leads when you are able to demonstrate your knowledge, skills and expertise and build relationships with your target audience. Consequently, your aim should be to build a reputation as a credible professional and authority or expert in your niche. This is the perception you should be aiming for. Engage in conversations and share useful and meaningful content that informs, educates and solves specific problems for your prospects.
Track customer sentiment.
Customer sentiment is a meaningful signal to track because it’s a good indication of how a customer feels about a particular brand, service, product, industry, etc. It can be positive (if the user has had a good experience), negative (if the user has had a bad experience), or neutral (interested but has never had any experience of the product or service).
Start by identifying relevant conversations that reveals customer sentiment about your brand, product or service. This provides a good opportunity to enter the conversation and start engaging with prospective customers. You can use tools such as Twitrratr, Google Alerts and Social Mention to track sentiment around a particular tweet, keyword or brand.
Focus on building authority as an expert.
Even though you may be an affiliate or representing a business or product/service that is not your own, it’s still important for you to establish credibility as a trusted expert in the specific niche or industry you are promoting. This means you need to know the business and industry you are representing inside out so that you can actively participate in meaningful discussions on the topic.
Search for your existing customers on social media channels.
If you already have existing customers, reach out to those people where they hang out online. Connect and engage in conversations with them by sending them helpful information and tips related to your industry, products and services. As you actively interact with them, you’ll be exposed to contacts in their network which will provide more opportunities to demonstrate your credibility and build new relationships.
Identify and engage with thought leaders and industry influencers in your niche.
In addition to reaching out to existing customers, look for respected thought leaders and influencers within your industry. Engaging with thought leaders will help you increase your credibility and reputation and hold the key to accessing a large group of people. Influencers are great people to connect with to help expand your prospect base.