Boy that Mark Zuckerberg was really on to something! Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social media platforms are turning out to be a boon to businesses of all kinds. Here are some tips to help you take advantage of this remarkable new selling medium.
Powerful, Free, Marketing. (Any of that not sound good?)
So what makes social media so effective when it comes to reaching and persuading prospects? Put simply, they asked for it. Since you have to “Like,” subscribe or follow an entity to learn what they have to say, pretty much all social media is a form of permission-based marketing. And people who raise their hands and say yes, talk to me, are more likely to act on what you tell them. And if you know what you’re doing — and you should have a pretty good idea after you’re finished reading this — you can even make a 140-character Tweet paint a compelling picture of your business.
Converse, don’t just communicate.
While the point is to use social media to disseminate your marketing communications, don’t sell, pitch or even try to persuade. Instead, try to establish a dialogue with your prospects. The attitude of social media is, well, sociable (friendly, approachable, conversational). Craft your messages to sound like one friend talking to another: “Announcing New Facebook Marketing Tools” sounds like a corporate memo, and a scary one at that. Instead try, “Did You Hear About Facebook’s New Marketing Tools?”
Yeah, but what do I say?
Consider a strategy that provides helpful hints, valuable insights and/or important “goings-on” – don’t merely provide updates about your company. Whether you choose to post daily or less frequently, make sure to keep your content super current. And always ask for feedback — any readers with relatable experiences they can share? Another almost sure-fire way to engage prospects is to pass along information and then ask for opinions; people love to tell others what they think.
And it doesn’t have to be Web-related; cull topics from the print or live media. Do a post about the Federal Reserve possibly raising the prime rate. Ask if this move will be good or bad for small to medium-sized businesses and why or why not. And never forget to acknowledge participants. Re-post a few of the best answers (both pro and con) and thank your readers for their responses. You’ll be amazed how many future posts are generated from one initial post on your end.
How do I get “Liked” or “Followed” in the first place?
The rules of social media are pretty simple; share and share alike. If you want people to Like or Follow you, you need to do the same with them. Make participating in social media part of your daily work routine, just like checking on the stock market or reading the morning news might be. It’s not just about knowing what’s going on, it’s about being part of it. Of course, every time you communicate with anyone — be it a vendor, colleague, client or prospect — your message should include links and addresses where they can find you on social media. If you’re posting on Facebook, make sure your message includes links to your business on Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest and any other platforms you have a presence on.
And finally, have fun! Remember, that social media is, after all, about being sociable.
Nel Reed writes for several higher ed blogs. Interested in advertising? Several universities offer a mass communications degree such as University of Florida and University of South Carolina.