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Does every business need a digital marketing strategy? Part 2: Social Media

by Kelly Exeter | April 26th, 2013 | 1 comment

This is the second post in a series about digital marketing. You can view the first post about using email for digital marketing here.

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The biggest marketing question I get asked these days is do I need to be active on social media, and if so, which platforms.

The easy answer is yes.

The real answer is ‘it’s complicated’.

As far as creating connections, nothing allows you to do this faster and more easily than social media. I am going to generalise here but:

  • Facebook allows you to connect with customers
  • Twitter allows you to connect with like-minded people and influencers in your industry
  • Linked In allows you to connect with people in your industry and other professionals.
  • If you have a visual business then Pinterest can drive huge numbers of people to your website.
  • Instagram is a great way to run visual challenges.
  • Google + is good for connecting with people of similar interests (like say if you’re a writer … there are great writing communities on there) and it is good for getting your blog posts indexed quickly by Google.

So where should you concentrate your efforts?

For most of you, your clients – potential and existing – are on Facebook. And even though Facebook insists on constantly changing things up when it comes to business pages, it is still the fastest and easiest way to connect with people and build a highly engaged ‘fan base’.

That said, the basic philosophies that apply to Facebook (that I talk about below) apply equally to ALL social networks.

Creating connections

You will notice above that I have mentioned the word ‘connect’ a few times. That’s because an effective social media strategy is not about selling, it is about connecting with people in a meaningful way. By creating these meaningful connections you are building a network of people who are dead keen to see you and your business succeed. These people may not be prospective clients for you, but you can bet they know people who are your prospective clients.

If ever you’ve tried your hand at networking, you will see that social media is like networking on steroids. The people you are connecting with gain useful information or inspiration from you … and you gain goodwill from them. And this goodwill leads to the very best kind of new business, the kind that comes from word of mouth recommendations.

So how do you create meaningful connections?

  1. Be useful: Share information that is interesting and useful to the people who follow you. Swish Design is a web and graphic design business, but the majority of our clients are time-poor small to medium enterprises who want advice about marketing their businesses. So we share a lot of articles about marketing (as opposed to design).
  2. Be inspiring: Things like motivational quotes, or news about someone doing something amazing are always well received. So if we hear about one of our clients winning an award, or doing some cool fundraising or the like, we will share that on our Facebook page. We also share articles where other small to medium enterprises (who aren’t necessarily clients) are doing cool stuff that might inspire our likers.
  3. Interact: It’s a bit hard to create meaningful connections if people talk to you, but you don’t talk back. That’s why they call it ‘social’ media right? So when people comment on something you’ve posted on Facebook, or Twitter or Instagram or  … wherever – respond to them. This gives you a rare chance to show the personality and people behind your logo and is hugely invaluable when it comes to building that network of raving fans.
  4. Be relevant: Let’s say you run a cooking school. Which means that everyone who follows you is most likely interesting in cooking. So sharing an article about drugs in sport is most likely not going to be of interest to your social media connections but a review of Jamie Oliver’s new restaurant or cookbook probably would.

And that is it really. When it comes to something like social media it’s easy to get overwhelmed by everything that you can do and overcomplicate things. As with most things in life though, if you keep things simple you will reap far more benefits than you will by overcomplicating things so much that you never actually do anything 🙂

CHECK OUT: Who is doing it well

If you want to have a look at some businesses who are doing the Facebook thing well check out:

Image credit: Pan Xunbin

 

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