Four Social Media Planning Essentials for Businesses To Find Customers And Fans Online
Last week, I was invited to speak on social media marketing at a Local First Chicago panel. It was great fun, with lots of conversation and amazing questions. Here’s a summary of my presentation.
I want to emphasize that social media marketing, also known as inbound marketing, is just like traditional marketing (outbound), and is more successful when it is purpose-driven and planned. Social media marketing doesn’t just happen. It must be done well for businesses.
To build a successful social media presence, there are four things you must do. These are the four Cs. They are:
Writing, blogging, tweeting and Facebooking all require someone to do the communicating. Businesses have many options, depending on their budget and how much social media engagement is required. Many businesses hire interns. Check with local colleges to find out more. As a business owner, it is okay to not have the time for social media. It’s not your responsibility to. However, if you want social media to bring you the rewards it can offer you will need someone to help you expand your network.
Online business reputation and online presence are built on your ability to make your business relevant and interesting. This is achieved through the creation and sharing of content. Social Medial is inclusive and fair. It includes business news but also personal notes, industry news, as well as conversations with others online. You don’t need to be a journalist or a writer. It takes only conversation in most cases. Here are some examples:
Video blog posts
Commenting and sharing news that is popular or interesting
News from the company
Notices of events
Chats/conversations online (see the Connections section).
Producing all of this information may seem daunting. These don’t all have to be covered. It is a good idea to start with just a few.
If you enjoy taking photos, think about how you could use them to create your primary Facebook content. Post photos that show interesting things around your business with comments and questions.
You can also use Google search to look for news articles about your business. Then, you can publish links to these articles on your Facebook account or page. Don’t over-think it. Facebook, Twitter, and any other social media platform can be broken. It’s very difficult to make a mistake as long as your content doesn’t offend.
It is the glue that binds you with your potential customers and fans. It will allow you to build relationships.
Your results will come from the connections you make online. Search engines will help you find people who are interested in your topic and then chat with them, or comment on their blogs. Add them to your networks and then follow up with them.
Hypothetical example: My company helps homeowners make greener decisions about their homes. I want to spread the word about my services and meet new customers. I created accounts on LinkedIn, Twitter, and invited all my family members and friends to connect with me. Now I need to find more people to connect with. I use search engines to find people who are talking about this topic.
I look for groups that are related to my topic. I might want to join the Mommy Bloggers Group and the Chicago Home Builder Network. I join as many groups as I can.
To start a conversation and promote my business, I post a question about green home design in each of the groups that I joined.
I use LinkedIn Advanced Answers Search to search for the green category. Some of the questions that I find there I answer.
To those who engage in the conversation, I send a LinkedIn invitation.
I repeat approximately once per week.
To search for Chicago, I use the search function. I read the Chicago tweets.
I choose 2-3 people to reply to. I then add them to my network (use “follow”) right away.
I use terms such as “green” or “eco to search for topics that are closer to my business.
I chose 2-3 people to answer. I “followed” them right after.
I repeat each day the instagram panel daily exercises.
This strategy will allow you to add people to your network each day. Your network will grow, and so will your customer base.
Although commitment is not often discussed in social media, I believe it is essential for the success of any online business or any other business. If you are ready to take the leap, it is essential to keep up the conversation and see results. Do not give up.
Online communication should be a daily habit. Just like checking email every day, you need to keep it consistent and persistent. It will pay off.
- Does my company really need to be on all these websites?
A: At least one presence on major social networking sites. What if we asked 20 years ago whether a business should be listed in the phone directory? Social media sites, which are also known as business directories, are the new phone books.