Jan 2010

Top Ten Tips on How to Approach Social Media Marketing

People often tell me that "social media doesn’t work” for my business. And that might be true, as social media does not work for everyone, but before giving up on it completely make sure that your approach is not preventing you from maximising your potential through social media. When trying to explain how social media works to business owners and managers that are unfamiliar with social media  I often use a dinner party as an analogy.

Within the world of social media you are both the host and the guest – you must make people feel welcome and show an interest so that they will come back. If you want others to let you back in you must be courteous, show respect and above all, if you want to be remembered, be interesting.

In order to achieve the latter you must have a strategy in place – i.e. why are you there and what do you want to get out of it? The same is true for a dinner party – are you just happy to be there and going along for a good time or do you want to make good contacts and raise your own profile. Think of everyone you meet as a potential opportunity, find out what they can do for you and what you can do for them. As everyone is different the way you do that must vary, some will be interested in certain aspects of what you do that others will not – to make the most of it you need to find out what makes the people in your world tick and by that I mean those you follow and well as those that follow you.

The biggest mistake I see is people that talk about themselves and their business all the time. Try that in the dinner party scenario. Yes you might get some interest initially as people are genuinely inquisitive and want to find out who you are, but if you don’t make them feel part of the conversation and can’t give useful or insightful information, like social media, they will walk away. 

If you are good at working the room you will have a captive audience, one which will listen attentively to your every word and all eager to have lots of smaller, more intimate conversations with you on their own. 

To do this you must talk about things that lots of people will be interested in - give them things that will attract attention and then ask them to contribute their feelings and ideas to keep them engaged. When they do this it opens up the opportunity to have the smaller, intimate conversations with those that catch your eye that you want to get to know better.  And remember you are the host and the guest so don't make the mistake of thinking that you are the most important person there - if you want your followers to engage you must engage and contribute too.

With social media you have to remember that other people have invited you into their online world because they think you might have something interesting to say or that you can give them something in return. Everyone is different, therefore to remain interesting and make the most of your social media profile have a look at my top 10 social media marketing tips below:

1. Show Your Interest

Make sure you regularly update your status (every day if possible) but instead of telling your followers or fans what you are doing, try asking them a question. This will make them feel involved and will invoke more of a response. The question could be based on anything of interest – either directly related to a project you are working on or something that you have seen or heard elsewhere.

2. Use Good Visual Content

Video and photos are a great way to create interesting posts and the good news is that it doesn’t even need to be yours! This could shed insight into your own personality or be related to your industry, quite often if you find it interesting your followers will too. This will allow people to get to know you better and make your profile more interesting.

3. Link to Useful Resources

If you talk about yourself all the time people will switch off so show them you are not afraid to promote other interesting sites that are related to what you do (even competitors sites) as no doubt they will have heard of them anyway and some might even be following them too. This way they will see a friend in you and be more likely to do the same in return.

4. Encourage Participation

It can be difficult to hold a discussion or debate on some social media platforms therefore direct them back to your blog or forum asking people to contribute and debate – this will not only engage with your followers but will also provide great quality content on your site.

5. Publicise Yourself

Although I have warned of the dangers of talking about yourself too much, if you get the balance right you will find yourself with the holy grail - engaged, loyal customers. When appropriate make sure you let them know about your events, services or results.

6. Follow & Be Followed

Contribute to others profiles as you want others to do to yours. In time they will add status and authority to yours when they contribute in return. This is also a good way to get the attention of the people that follow them and grow your circle. When people follow you make sure you follow back (of course ensuring that they are genuine) as if you don't you run the risk of them removing themselves just as fast as they added. Also remember to use keywords in your posts so other people can find you through search!

7. Incentivise

There is nothing like a freebie to get people interested. Competitions & special offers will not only get people’s attention but will also get you some free publicity as they tell their peers.

8. Ask For More

On your website, blog or any other digital material such as PDF’s ask people to follow you. In addition you can ask existing followers to recommend you to their friends and followers – if you don’t ask you don’t get.

9. Don’t Ignore

If someone takes the time to message you (sensible ones anyway!) always try and make the time to reply. How would you feel if people kept ignoring you!

10. Thank Them

Following on from 9, if you have regular contributors or outstanding posts then make sure you take time to publicly thank them by including their profile name as a link in any response


Written by Stephen Hunter at 17:31


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