Social media marketing for businesses changes daily and is no different to many of the changes occurring in various web marketing channels. Businesses need to change with the times in order to make their marketing communications effectively. Social communities are being inundated with postings from businesses and many of them through marketing automation services. The question is anyone listening anymore? If there is any listening going on, is anyone engaging in a conversation?
Big brands may not have this problem, however, the average business spending time and money in social media marketing needs to find ways to make this marketing process more effective. Time has come to stand out from the noise and change how social media marketing is executed.
The changes will come in two distinctive areas. The first will be what is being posted and how to prepare the strategy. The second will come in the form of nurturing your social community presences.
Understanding The Four E’s Of Social Media Marketing
These four E’s can help guide your social community posting to build interactions, discussions and engagement.
When posting to social networks it can be difficult to know what to post, or what content is of value. Educational content can be helpful to the community in the short term, while over time it can present the business or organization as an informational resource or industry expert. If one has knowledge to offer, social media is a great place to share advice and tips using personal expertise.
Educational content is different based on the industry and organization. If you’re selling a product, sharing details that your prospective buyer may find valuable will help gain interest. If your organization takes pride in being a part of the community sharing current events or job opportunities will be appreciated by the audience.
While educational posts grow the trust and allegiance the community has for your business or organization, it’s important to convert the audience into sales. Posting available offers or social media deals will entice the audience to buy.
Again, enticing content differs depending on the industry or business. If your sales require visits to a brick and mortar location, offering a coupon to customers who check in using Facebook can entice the current audience to visit while further promoting the business to their connections. Any limited-time price or discount will entice your audience to act swiftly.
Posting social media content is a great opportunity to increase communications within your community. Engaging posts consist of anything requesting feedback, such as questions, polls and reviews. If you sell a household product, ask your buyers why they love it. If your organization hosted an event, ask the audience what their favorite part was.
But engagement is more than asking and receiving. This is also your opportunity to participate in conversations. Collaborating with your audience will make them feel important and increase the sense of community. It’s also important to participate outside of your own network, communicating with other organizations in your industry.
While posting to social media is increasingly important, it’s also important to take action when necessary. If your page receives any negative feedback it’s important to address it immediately, acknowledging issues and doing whatever possible to make things right. Managing your reputation online is just as important as monitoring word of mouth.
In certain situations, it’s important to escalate the conversation by taking them offline. Establish a plan that goes beyond social media to deal with customer service issues should anything arise.
A Dialogue Will Go A Long Way
Consider the Four E’s of social media marketing as your way of curating your social media strategy. In other words it is about organizing what you’re posting and the strategy around your engagement in social communities.
The process of creating a dialogue in order to get engagement requires a process known as nurturing. You will find one nurtured post has more impact that 10 un-nurtured post. In order to nurture your post in a social community, you need to start by adding a comment to your post. As part of your comment, you will want to tag people in your connected network.
Once a person is tagged in a comment they will receive a notice informing them of the tag and recommending they respond.
Who you tag is equally important. You will want to have identified influencers from your network, which means developing a relationship with them and engaging in conversation before you start to tag them. This might include that you reciprocate and engage in their posts.
Not only is this proper etiquette within social communities, but you have to keep in mind that you’re developing a relationship with other human beings. Granted you have a keyboard and a computer screen in front of you, but on the other side of that is someone else you need to help you communicate your business message.
After the people you have tagged have engaged in the conversation it will be time to take this dialogue to the next step. This will start by re-engaging in the conversation, comment on what was said and starting tagging more people to engage in the conversation.
As the conversation takes life the views, comments, and likes will start to grow giving that post more exposure and thereby getting your brand name out to the community through thousands of people.
You will find spammers wanting to get into the middle of the conversation and if that happens clean up their comments by removing them. Keep the conversation clean and healthy.
The Affects of Active Social Media Marketing
The recommendations to actively post and nurture your social media presence will come across as requiring more labor time and therefore have a higher labor cost. It’s important to consider the effects they will bring. Does it make sense to keep spending money in a process that has changed and is no longer achieving the results you are seeking? Or is it most valuable to update the process and become more cost-effective?
There are ways to reduce your costs in social media marketing, particularly with social media advertising. “How To Reduce Your Sponsored Update Expenses In Social Media Advertising” helps you see how nurturing is quite effective with examples and statistics.
Consider your audience changing as you contemplate your next steps, particularly Millennials. You may enjoy reading “Millennials’ perspective on traditional media: Enlightenment in a sandwich shop”
- Millennials make up about one-fourth of the US population. (Nielsen Study)
- Millennials in the US wield about $1.3 trillion in annual buying power. (The Boston Consulting Group Study)
- Five out of six millennials in the US connect with companies on social media networks. (SDL Study on Yahoo Finance)
These statistics are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the reasons for changing your social media marketing strategy, especially if you are a baby boomer. Unlike advertising tasks, marketing processes take time and are an investment in your brand. The good news about marketing processes on the web is they have a shelf life of years.
Baby boomers tend to have a disconnect between advertising tasks and marketing processes, especially since the Internet has separated the definition of these two terms. Baby boomers tend to be in the position of having the authority and responsibility of budgets. For this reason, it is important for baby boomers to understand how to use these budgets in a medium they are not necessarily comfortable with.
Social media marketing is about longer term results in which we are talking about marketing investments vs. a advertising expenses. Are the baby boomers ready to make this commitment to tap into the millenials?
Kelsey McCormick is a digital marketing professional having graduated with her Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from Western Michigan University, and her Master of Arts degree in New Media Journalism from Full Sail University. With a unique background in traditional journalism and social media management, Kelsey shares her educational and professional experiences in social media marketing.