If you are not using social media to raise awareness of your business or brand, you’re missing out on reaching a huge audience. The following article by Allison Kahn* originally was published by SiteProNews on July 14, 2011. I like this article because it has all the basics to get you started, so I asked and received permission to publish it here.
Photo via commons.wikimedia.org
Social Media Marketing is the act of using social media (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.) in order to promote a business.
Many companies will want to start their own social media marketing campaign and create a Facebook page or Twitter account. The problem is they don’t have a clue on how to run a successful social media marketing campaign. Here, I have listed 10 of the most basic rules when it comes to social media marketing. Follow these rules in order to have successful accounts with Facebook, Twitter, etc.
The 10 [basic] Rules of Social Media Marketing
1. Update! I shouldn’t even have to list this as a rule, but many forget how important it is. You should try and update daily because when consumers visit your page and it has not been updated in over a month, they will assume it is inactive and decide not to follow your business. Also, they could easily go with your competitor because their page is so active they feel that business will give them better service. You do not want that to happen, so update your social media accounts regularly!
2. No pitching! You are not Billy Mays. Therefore, you do not need to yell at consumers telling them to buy your product or use your business. Social media is meant to connect, not pitch. If your consumers feel they have a connection with your company through your Facebook page or Twitter feed, they are more likely to use you over another business that does not make an earnest effort to connect.
3. Communicate with your audience. If you do not feel it is necessary to reply to comments, answer questions, or join in on conversations on your page, then social media is not for you. You need to be a part of the conversations on your page. If not, you will lose touch with your customers and what they want.
4. Choose Wisely. What you say will forevermore remain public record on the internet. Choose what you post on your page wisely. I cannot stress that enough. If you hire a company to post for you, be sure to hire someone you can trust. And, remember, if you manage your social media outlets yourself only post what you would want to see on the front page of the New York Times (or the Huffington Post).
5. Handle angry customers with class. Some customers will just have a bad day and want to take it out on your page and blame you for everything. Do not delete any negative comments. Instead, ignore it if it’s only one comment (unless the comment has foul language and is completely inappropriate). If you are in a predicament like Nestle was several years ago where everyone protested on their Facebook page, post an update saying your business is making moves to fix the problem. Never directly respond to one individual, you will never win. Also, never make promises you cannot keep.
6. Link to others. If you find something interesting (and relevant) on the web, link it on your Facebook or Twitter page. Explain why you find it interesting (and relevant) and ask for their input. Link to other companies, articles, cool websites, whatever. Just be sure to ask yourself before posting, is this relevant to my business?
7. Share! Don’t be afraid to show your consumers what your company’s employees are doing when they are not in the office. Take photos of your office picnic, philanthropic event, or even a run/walk for a good cause. These photos create a positive image about your company for your consumers. They want to know you’re human and don’t wear ties all the time. If it’s casual Friday in the office, take a group photo of everyone wearing the company polo and post it immediately so others know what is going on in your office in real time.
8. Start a weekly trend. If you do something once a week, on the same day each week, your followers are bound to come back that day every week. For example, if you own a shoe store, every Monday you could post the shoe of the week. Include an image and a promotion for the shoe, such as a percentage off that week only. If you posted every Monday, consumers are bound to check every Monday to see what pair is being promoted that week and come into your store to buy. It’s a great way to get customers onto your social media pages as well as into your store.
9. Link to your blog. You put so much effort into writing that awesome post about trendy heels for the spring, but no one ever reads your blog. Link it on your Facebook, Twitter, etc. Don’t do it all the time, because if that is the only thing you do to update your social media outlets, people will get bored with you very quickly. But at the same time, don’t be afraid to link back to your blog. You put a lot of hard work and effort into it, and you want people to read it!
10. Spread the word! If you have a Facebook, Twitter, blog, YouTube channel, etc. you really need to tell people. They are not just going to assume you have them. Put them on your company website, on your business cards, put a sign up in your store saying “Add us!” with all the little logos for each site next to the copy. Don’t be afraid to tell your customers you’re on Facebook. If they like you and your product, they will share it on their Facebook account and say, “Hey, I’m a fan of Sally’s Shoes and I want everyone to know!”
Until next time …
*Allison Kahn is the Marketing Assistant at Princeton Marketing Group in Greensboro, NC. She has a BA in English Literature from Wesley College in Dover, DE. She has a passion for Social Media Marketing. http://www.princetonmarketing.net and http://www.princetonmarketing.net./princetonmarketingblog