What if someone said,
“Today we are announcing three revolutionary products that will transform your business
The first one allows you to self publish to the world with one click
The second enables you to market your brand without begging the gatekeepers or paying big media. It doesn’t cost a cent
The third is a breakthrough two-way communication platform that is free
But they are not three separate products – it’s “Social Media”.
Would that interest you?
This take on social media…..inspired by Steve Jobs famous presentation to launch the iPhone in 2007, highlights the three vital components of social media.
It’s unrivaled power to publish, market and communicate to a global community in real time.
In essence it is the biggest change to publishing in 550 years (Gutenberg would be pleased), the biggest shift in marketing since the invention of the television and the most important communication revolution since the telephone.
Social media is many moving parts
Social media marketing has moved beyond just being a cool looking Facebook page. Its integration into the web means that you need to consider blogging, multimedia content, search and mobile as integral parts of your social media marketing strategy.
Consider the trends
The maturing of social media is highlighted by the emerging trends that illustrate the creativity of the medium. This includes:
- Brands becoming media companies and publishers. (Red Bull)
- Visual content as a component in your contagious content armoury. (Eg. Pinterest, Instagram, Infographics and Vine)
- Paying to play as Facebook reduces your free organic visibility
- Brands bypassing mass media. (Beyonce)
- The emergence of social media management platforms to help manage, monitor and measure the many components
We also mustn’t forget the rise of Google+ and its implications for search.
What are the challenges?
Despite many people understanding that they can’t ignore social. And they have moved beyond “why” to “how”, there are still many challenges.
One of these is the need for “unlearning”. John Maynard Keynes summed it up well when he said
“The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as escaping old ones“
This includes flipping old marketing habits on their head. Social media marketing is not about your brand, your products or selling. It’s about your customer.
It’s not about control but it is about managing the splintered chaos that is social media.
These challenges will push many comfort zones to the limits in traditional business models.
Despite the chaos that social media has brought to media there are many opportunities for making your brand visible and credible. Here are four worth embracing.
- Publishing power is in your hands. No longer do you need to beg the mass media gatekeepers for newspaper inches. publishing has been democratized!
- Tap into the the potential of free crowdsourced marketing. You can build your own online networks on social media and motivate your own fans and advocates to share and distribute your content.
- Accelerate the building of your owned and earned digital assets
- Build online credibility and trust by becoming ubiquitous online as you publish to YouTube, blogs and even Slideshare. Research by Edelman with its annual “Trust Barometer” shows that being seen 3-5 times will create a trust factor of 60%.
So what are the steps for managing this social media beast?
It means making the investment and taking the time to create a strategy and plan that will provide a cohesive and integrated approach.
Step 1. Get clarity on your target audience
This means not only knowing the demographics but the social profiles and the personas that lay beyond the sterile data and this means asking some questions.
- What are their key problems and fears?
- Where do they get their information?
- What are their aspirations?
- What primary social networks do they use?
- What media do they consume?
Step 2. Set goals
What are your goals and their priorities for your social media marketing? These could include:
- Increase Facebook likes
- Improve brand awareness
- Drive traffic to website, blog online store
- Increase sales leads
- Grow your email list
- Customer engagement
Once that list is done then the priorities need to be assigned.
Step 3. Create content
After you have defined your audience and the prioritised goals are identified then the content can be created that will resonate with your potential prospects and customers to meet those marketing goals.
This will include but not limited to:
- Blog posts
- YouTube videos
- Images for engagement on Facebook
- Twitter updates to drive traffic to online stores or websites
The content creation will vary depending on your target market and also whether your are a consumer or business brand.
Step 4. Marketing tactics to achieve the goals
You may have many goals but you need to pick your most important ones. Here are a couple of examples.
Goal: Build an email list
This can be done a few ways.
- Offer a free e-book on your blog that requires an email address to download
- Create a custom tab on Facebook that captures an email to download a whitepaper or watch a free video
- Run competitions on Facebook that require registering with an email address
Goal: Increase your social networks fans and followers
The importance of developing your own online distribution network that bypasses the traditional media model of paying for attention is becoming paramount.
So here are a couple of tactics for possible implementation.
- Offer free premium content for a Facebook “like”
- Follow the “followers” of other online influencers on Twitter in your niche
Step 5: Monitor, measure and manage
The digital web has one big advantage over the old analog world. You can measure.
So what are some key components to measure, monitor and manage?
- Social network growth
- Leads generated
- Retweets on Twitter
- Shares on Facebook
- Comments on your blog
- Website and blog traffic
And that is just the start of the metrics. Finding out what works and what doesn’t means you can adjust your tactics for optimal results.
So what are the takeaways?
We now live a world driven by the social, mobile and knowledge web and we need to play and to sum it up we need to embrace some realities.
- Unlearn the old paradigms. This means pushing your comfort zones.
- Sitting down and start planning that strategy
- Start thinking like a publisher
- Growing “your” online distribution networks to provide marketing independence
So start building your digital and social assets today.
This article was written by Jeff Bullas, Business2Community Contributor. His book – “Blogging the Smart Way – How to Create and Market a Killer Blog with Social Media” – will show you how to create in-demand content and grow your social following.