I have had the opportunity to work with a couple of different social media marketers, and it’s always fun to get the different perspectives! Of course, I have experience with social media marketing. And, over the past several years, I have had the opportunity to work with many strategic alliance partners who are experts in the field of social media and online marketing.
Lots of times, people think of social media just in the context of various platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. But social media marketing is a subset of online marketing, and there are many layers to marketing online beyond these communication platforms.
Social media marketing is certainly about setting up profiles on those social media platforms that are most closely aligned with your business model and your target audience. But it is also about getting attention online to your business, amid all of the noise out there on the Internet.
I’m sure you’ve all heard by now about SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. The goal of being online is to be found online, so you can gain clients and prospects for your business. And with the vast number of businesses marketing their services and products online, you must be able to be found. Search engine optimization is kind of the Godfather of this process, and is at the core of a why all other online marketing methods are employed.
But let’s get back to social media.
When looking to establish a social media program for your business, it is important to ensure that you are reaching them on those platforms where they are most likely to be found. Different platforms have different purposes, different reaches, and attract a different audience. There is, of course, some overlap. For instance, Instagram is a great platform to showcase your products, given that it is a social platform for posting pictures. LinkedIn, on the other hand, is a platform that is meant to engage a more business-focused audience, providing opportunities to share knowledge, discuss topics, and network with other business professionals.
But what all these platforms have in common is that they are about social interaction, and that is where many businesses fall short of the mark.
You want to be sure of your purpose for social media interaction as well. Why are you on the various platforms? Are you looking to share knowledge and expertise? Awareness of your brand or your product? Are you looking for social interaction with people who have similar interests as you?
Whatever your purpose, make sure that you approach your social media marketing with a plan. Unfortunately, many less-than-ethical individuals and businesses exist in the big, wide world of Internet marketing who will make extravagant promises to businesses, for a specific fee, over a period of time – usually a minimum of three months. And then they fail to deliver on the promises. These entities are doing a great disservice to everyone involved; the business who paid and didn’t receive the promised results, the optics of the value of social media marketing, and the services of legitimate marketing professionals.
But there is some complicity on the part of the client here as well. We’ve all heard that adage, “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”. So if someone approaches you and promises you a front page Google listing practically overnight for a mere $XXX per month, do your homework and find out how this will be delivered. Too many of these unscrupulous marketers will engage in black hat techniques that could end up getting your company banned from Google listings completely. And once these folks have your three month fee in their pockets, they just move on to the next company, without care or concern about your level of satisfaction with their services.
And another important note – don’t get hung up on the number of Likes, Friends, Followers etc. that you have, compared to others on social media platforms. Stay focused on the purpose for being on these platforms and don’t get sucked into thinking it is a popularity contest. It is better to have 1000 legitimate, engaged Followers who are most likely to convert to clients than to have 154K Followers who never engage.
We’re responding to requests to provide more information about this topic, and are in the process of developing a new video series about the 10 best ways to utilize social media marketing, so watch for it soon. And until then, be clear on your intent when integrating social media marketing into your business.
Until next time…
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