I wanted to state a couple principles of social media marketing.
Whenever you start with working in any new area the key is to understand several basic principles:
- The headline has to be compelling and grabbing. This is not a new concept. Any writer knows the headline has to grab a reader or they won't read the article. This concept just means more in the digital age when we are inundated with information and our mind has to work through hundreds of messages a day.
- Everything happens in real time and needs to be immediate. If you wait 3 days to respond to a customer comment on your Facebook page they will have moved on. People expect almost immediate responses from everyone.
- Use social media to entertain and educate. Too many people try to sell through social media. They figure people want to look at your product and want to buy your stuff when they "like" your Facebook page or follow you on Twitter. People primarily follow others to get a deal (see below for more about that) or to learn. People will also come if they are being entertained; games, contests and great videos draw people in.
- Give aways. People love free anything and the web is so packed full of free things that it is essential that you give something. Whether it is an actual product or just information it draws people in.
- This one I think is the most powerful idea out there and it is: go niche. This is well known in marketing. If you have a corner on the market you win. The key is to find experts in your small niche area, connect with them, and become an expert yourself.
- Become a publisher. This is huge! You want to be the one sending out information and getting others to work for you by having them give you information.
- Be passionate. If you don't love mountain biking don't blog and create a Facebook page about it even if you think you can make money. You are spending a lot of time in this area and insincerity can show through, even in an online world.
- Listen. This is one of the most commonly talked about issues with social media. We spend all this time shoving things down other people's throats that we don't learn from our customers, followers and readers. This is what makes social media marketing so powerful: you can connect directly with customers and experts.
Now I would like to delve a little more into number 8. Many experts have learned that you need to be monitoring many different words and ideas, not just your brand name. In an article on Quirks blog by Joe Rydholm, he talked about how Kraft doesn't just monitor its brands; it looks for what people who are talking about grocery shopping are saying. They went as deep as to see what type of people use grocery lists and what these shoppers are saying. This wealth of information allows you to connect with others and also to understand what they are looking for.
Everyone wants to feel like a winner and most consumers "like" pages to get deals; not because they love your razor or whatever you sell (unless you're Apple or maybe Google).
Remember to be smart in your social media marketing endeavors and to have a plan and a way to measure the results of that plan.