While I was searching in Google for the term ‘social media marketing’ Google Suggest gave me the term ‘social media marketing for dummies’. And that means people are appearantly searching for that.
Google Suggest is a really handy tool to get a grip on long tail searches and it is also a source of inspiration for blog topics. And that’s why I am now writing this post for ‘social media marketing for dummies’.
7 Things Social Media Marketing Dummies need to know about Social Media Marketing
1. You’re not dumb!
That’s right. You are not dumb. It’s mostly about unlearning rather than learning. You need to unlearn many things that you’ve become used to as a marketer. For instance …
You cannot interrupt people. They need to proactively ‘like’ you or follow you. You cannot broadcast. You need to engage in a conversation. You cannot only talk about yourself. It’s all about them.
Phew! Sounds like you are marketing with two hands behind your back. But it’s not that bad. You just need a head flip. You need to start thinking differently.
2. Know what you want to achieve
Bottom line, marketing is about selling stuff. So, sales and higher conversions are good goals to set. But the social web is a big place. Customers and prospects might want to get to know you better. Especially in B2B marketing. Trust is a big thing.
So, if you are an expert in your field, it can be a great strategy to start working on your thought leadership and build infuence in your industry.
For B2C marketers, building customer satisfaction can be a great goal for social media marketing. Think about the Zappos case for instance. But you can also focus on managing online reputation. This is how Dell got into social media.
3. Discover what you have to give
It’s not called the ‘social’ web for nothing. Social doesn’t just mean ‘hanging out’ and letting your followers know what you had for lunch. It means actually being social and doing something of value for people.
Think of these friendly IT people who give you an answer when you post a question in a forum. They do this because they know something that you don’t, and they like to help.
If you adapt that kind of headset towards your clients or prospects, you’ll soon find out that you have loads to give. It’s about giving something of real value – without demanding anything in return!
4. Say it with content!
Once you have figured out what you are going to give, you need to realise that they way you are delivering this value is through content. It’s all about the content.
Content is the currency of the social web. It’s what makes people click, follow, subscribe, like, share, donate and buy! It builds Influence, Loyalty and Trust with your customers, prospects and other stakeholders. And it drives people through their decision making process about you and your products or services.
Whether it’s a white book you publish, a video you put on YouTube, a status update on Linkedin, a blog post on your blog, a tweet you send on Twitter….as a marketer you need to learn how to become a publisher of valuable content.
5. Think targeted – no, more targeted than that
What is of value to the one person, is not of value to the other. That’s a major challenge for social media marketers! You are not targeting market segments based on demographics. Instead you are targeting real people with real individual needs.
This means, you are not targeting males, in their forties with above avarage education and salary. Instead you can be targeting for instance ‘HR managers in health care who want to improve the regional mobility of their workforce’. And instead of targeting women, between 20 and 35 with a higher education, you are now targeting ‘pregnant moms in Amsterdam with an iPhone’.
You will find yourself targeting people much less based on their demographics and much more based on their behaviours!
6. Think more about their needs than your ‘benefits’
So, you need to offer something of real value, you do that by publishing useful content and you are targeting that content towards individuals.
As a marketer, you used to create one marketing message based on your product benefits and broadcast that message on TV, radio or print. This is how you used to find customers. But on the social web, your customers find you! (This is called inbound marketing).
Where you used to use a fishnet and drag everything in that moved, you are now using a hook and some bait. The bait is the solution to the individual need of your potential customer. This is how you get found in Google and in social networks. People don’t search for ‘cleans cleaner than ever’. They search for ‘what kills germs’. Catch my drift?
7. Don’t go in without a strategy
Many businesses try out social media marketing by starting a Twitter profile or a Facebook page. Or a blog even. In 99.9% of the cases, these initiatives fall dry. And always for the same reasons: either you run out of things to say or it’s not getting you any results. Actually, the reason you don’t get any results is because you run out of things to say!
So before you start, make sure you set clear goals. Then develop a strategy. A strategy ties up an action to a specific target group (or persona) and a specific business objective to specific content.
So, you could for instance ‘publish a white book, targeted at industry influential to build thought leadership’. Or ‘publish a series of video tutorials for your customers to raise customer satisfaction and reduce call centre traffic’.
Bottom line: don’t go in without a strategy. If you find it hard to come up with a strategy: get help.
A last note:
Social media marketing ain’t terribly difficult, but it is quite different compared to how you used to market your products and services.
If your company doesn’t have a presence on the social web yet: you are late! But don’t dive in head first without a plan. To help you kick-start the process, here’s:
Thanks for reading this post all the way through to the end.
You have now officially left the club of social media marketing dummies!