My social media resume (which you can skip if you’d like):
Very active for about two years. Read about it daily online and follow the feeds of 20+ media leaders. Write about it often. I’m a featured contributor at SocialMediaToday.com. Consume books about it. Attend conferences. Member of many communities. Have a client, SocialStage, in the Facebook biz. Play around with Pinterest. Starting to get Google+. Pretty fair Klout standing (whatever that means). Love Twitter. (Kids love Instagram and YouTube.) Just joined the local chapter of the booming Social Media Club. References available upon request.
What about you?
Do you follow, friend, like, tweet, #hashtag, circle, search, share, upload, link-in, link-to, favorite, discover, connect, bookmark, filter, share, pin, post, upload, comment and connect? You should. For business, it’s become an imperative—for marketing, PR, personal branding, customer relations—you name it. For life outside of work, it’s a ton of fun. And when you think about, you come to realize social media kind of blurs the lines between work and play making it easier to get news, pick fights, spout off, opine, share wisdom, survey customers, track competitors, do research, make offers, make announcements, make friends, make money, make progress, make the world a better place, or make whatever you want to make. (Exhale.) Social media is what you make of it.
What’s on your mind?
If you’re a Facebook faithful, you answer the question daily, or hourly, hopefully with stuff more important than your coffee prefences. But what if, say, er, God-forbid, (pause…) maybe, you don’t have an itty bitty clue about what social media is, what it’s for and how to go about getting started. There’s no shame in it. I read somewhere 50% of businesses don’t even have websites. Could that be true?
This isn’t a how-to tutorial. I can—and I will give you one—or point you to the real experts. But if you’re going to get into social media for marketing, this does offer some solid advice for using it effectively.
Here’s your social media marketing starter plan.
A good chunk of this stuff comes from an informative article I found at socialmediaclub.org. (First lessson: it’s good protocol to cite your sources in this online journalism free-for-all.) Here goes, according to experts at the club, successful social media campaigns have eight characteristics, eight to-do’s for you.
1. Aim for a target
Successful social media campaigns have clear objectives and success criteria. They’re targeted. You MUST think through what you’re trying to achieve, the audience you want to engage, and forge your plan accordingly.
Are you going mostly for awareness? Influence? Buzz? Sales? Job hunting? Aiming to heighten your stature as an expert? You have to aim for something specific.
2. Make your point
Marketing campaigns aimed at raising brand awareness big time and in large scale generally require deep pockets. Small businesses tend to get left behind in the spend-a-thon. However, the Internet has proven to be quite the Goliath slayer and social media can be a real potent player when the playing field needs leveling.
But you have to focus. Pick your battle. Bang away at a specific issue, customer pain point, challenge, idea, etc. When you know exactly the point you’ll be making, you gain a great advantage for developing and/or delivering meaningful content that will make the impression you need to make your efforts worthwhile.
3. Measure and manage
You’ve heard it before: you can’t manage what you don’t measure. Social media marketing (SMM), any marketing actually, demands metrics—a basis for measuring the success of your campaign. Set ’em and don’t forget ’em. Parlay what’s working, dump the stinkers, and refine the ones that fall on borderlines between.
4. Deliver great content
You might have noticed: it’s noisy out there. The good news is anyone can publish and the bad news is they do. Junk abounds.
If you want your campaign to stand out, make a commitment to making it great. It might take time. It might take money. Faking it won’t fly. The cornerstone of an effective social media campaign is great content presented in an engaging way.
Make sure you have a solid grasp of your audience’s passion and pain and feed their needs with the appropriate words and images.
5. Keep it simple
(Though I have no idea how this photo tracks to the subject matter, I had to reuse it.)
I’m not going to elaborate on what I mean by “keep it simple” because it’s a simple concept.
6. Make the media work
For your great, on-point, focused message to make a mark, you need to deliver it via the right channels. Yes, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube rule today, but that doesn’t mean your target audience is there or the nature of the beast serves your purposes.
As a newbie to these or any social media channels, pay close attention to who’s there and how they behave. You want to be relevant. Remind yourself to match the media to the message. And consider how your online efforts will jive with what you’re doing offline. 900 million Facebook fans made it a big deal, but it didn’t make trade shows extinct.
7. Do something memorable
Rockin’ sockin’ social media campaigns touch a nerve, stir the pot, inspire, make a connection, get a laugh, or do something to make them memorable and share-worthy. Try to make an emotional connection. Tell a great story. The brand should mean something real. Apple is one helluva great example.
Truth be told, the article that inspired this article ended with a point about profitability. Profitability doesn’t suck, and though making money is fair game for social media marketing, it’s not the common denominator. You could have a different agenda.
No, really. You might say conversion could be as simple as starting a conversation.
So I want to close by insisting your SMM efforts engage viewers and inspire interaction. Make your social media messages personal. Show each and everyone you care. Make them feel like they belong in your circle, club, community, tribe, following…. Ugh. You get the idea. It’s time to make your way into the fascinating world of social media.
[You invested all this time in my article. I implore you to write something now. And seriously, I don’t implore all that much. Say something in the comment box below. This page is your page, my friend.]