Everyone seems to be online these days. Each day, people with different backgrounds spend more and more hours in front of their computers and holding their tablets and smartphones, faithfully using social networking sites. It is the new way of being connected, after all.
But apart from just being connected and being able to deal with friends and loved ones without actually being with them physically, these social networking sites also allow us to see more of the world. Social media, in fact, has already evolved from a simple means of communicating with the ones close to our hearts to something through which we can gather information.
No wonder, we now depend on it the way we depend on radio and television. We learn about news through the social media and in the same way, we learn about the latest crazes in town through it. And since you know that so well, you, too, know how promising it is as an avenue for marketing. Since more and more people and becoming fond of it as a source of information, why don’t you use it as a tool through which you could raise brand awareness?
This process is called social media marketing. It’s basically using social media as a primary platform for raising brand awareness and marketing specific products or services. And, to be able to do it properly and effectively, you have to be aware of these top 8 principles you can make use right now:
1. Social Listening
Have you ever been given something you do not want or need in the first place? It’s annoying, isn’t it? Now, imagine if someone has been bothering you about a product or a service you do not need or want at all. You’re more likely to feel the same way, right? The thing is, these things could have been avoided if people are able to understand what you need or want in the first place. If someone has just took the courage to listen to you, this could have not happen at all.
In the same way, you should listen to your prospects in order to get a better understanding on what to market to them. It can also help you to determine which approach to use, in order to avoid giving them negative impressions.
Social listening can be done by carefully observing your intended market through what they share on their social networking sites. It is basically taking note of their thoughts and concerns, which will serve you well during the time you are about to offer something they might need or like.
Just because you are communicating through social media does not mean you have to simply wear a mask the way people would sometimes conceal themselves behind their avatars. Remember, social media requires a certain level of personal touch. Unlike broadcast media which simply throws messages intended to be picked up by the crowd as a group, social media is more engaging. It is two-way, which means that there should be some input from both ends.
This means that to be able to succeed at social media marketing, you have to be transparent. You have to be honest and make your prospects feel that you are human, that you are not just another computer configured to produce automatic and impersonal responses.
Engagement is another helpful principle in social media marketing. After you have gotten information about your prospects through social listening, you may already start your engagement with them.
Before you start doing so, keep in mind that your goal here is to have a more personal connection with them, which can be made easier by social networking sites. Instead of addressing your prospects as a group, you can get in touch with them individually. You can talk to them casually, similar to how someone would address an acquaintance or a friend.
But of course, it is also important that you know how to initiate these kinds of conversations with each of them. One way of doing so is by creating engaging content you think they would find interesting. You can use the facts you gathered through social listening for this, actually. Sure, an interesting and engaging content is always a good starter for every conversation. This way, you can build relationships with each of them, little by little.
Now that you already have an established connection with your prospects made possible by effective social listening and engagement, it is time to empower them so they can help you spread the word. Of course, this is doable as long as you have a certain number of followers who believe in what you are doing.
To make this possible, you have to make sure that you equip these followers with the right information to carry around as they spread the good news. Providing quality and useful content for them to share through their social media accounts is one thing you can do. To make it even more fun and easier for them, make sure that a content does not just bear something worthwhile and present it in such a way that would attract more people but to eventually convert them to become believers, as well.
This is an effective way of empowerment. You don’t just give your prospects a chance to move and do something. You are also inspiring them to become influencers in their own little but great ways. At the same time, you are also allowing them to become a part of your brand so it’s not just your personal property; it’s now something you, as a group, own.
So you have just succeeded in empowering a new breed of influences who can share the good news. What’s next? It is then time to provide support to them.
Since you have already built a strong relationship with a satisfactory amount of individuals who have faith in what you are doing or promoting, it is about time to provide them support so they can become better influencers. It is also one way of making them more confident about your brand, most especially that your brand is no longer a personal property but already a collective one.
To do this, you have to continue producing interesting and engagement content to further reinforce what you have already established.
There are too many people and content online. How can you make sure that your brand will get noticed? The answer is simple: sharing.
Through sharing, you can raise brand awareness and even increase the conversion rate among people who come across your brand online (granted, of course, that you have compelling content). And what’s really cool about social media marketing is that sharing has become a lot easier. Almost every site have share buttons through which you can easily share the content you view and yes, social networking sites also have easy-sharing features that allow you to post or repost anything you find interesting without breaking even a single drop of sweat.
So, to get the most of social media marketing, make sure that you always aim to produce shareable and even viral content that would transcend not just geographical locations but also time.
Another effective way of making sure that your message is able to cross boarders is through reinforcement. Given that there are always people who are willing to share and help you spread the good news about your brand simply because they believe in it, why not reinforce their positive behavior?
Remember, people want to feel that they are being appreciated. Besides making them feel in such a way by providing information that are useful to them, try to give them other things they would appreciate even more. Give rewards. Go for gimmicks that would make them love your brand even more. Think of something that would hook them and get their loyalty for good.
Everything is fast online, most especially when we talk of social media. Your Facebook newsfeed alone is already a good proof. Every now and then, it changes its contents, making each post ephemeral. In fact, grabbing their attention and making them click on it for complete viewing cannot assure you anything. With people’s short attention span and short term memory these days, forgetting about something is no longer a rare case.
So if you really want to have a recall and be remembered even after days, weeks, months, or even years, always be consistent. Have a sense of regularity and make sure that at all times, your content is of good quality and compelling. Don’t ever give them any chance to forget about you.
Social media marketing, indeed, is both fun and efficient. While it appears to be simpler compared to other modes of marketing, it still has its own complexities you must know in order to do it well. But of course, things could be easier and more manageable when you have proper guidance in the form of these principles.