No matter what your thoughts and feelings about social marketing are, social marketing is here to stay. It was once knocking on our doors. Then gradually it entered in and has become an integral part of our lives. But what exactly is Social Marketing?
Years ago, in the 1970s, Philip Kotler and Gerald Zaltman discovered that the same marketing principles that were being used to sell services and products can also be applied to “selling” attitudes, ideas and behaviors to people. Social Marketing is a combination of methods, principles and tactics that is designed to influence, change or maintain people’s behavior for the benefit of individuals and the general society. Unlike traditional marketing where the focus is to benefit the marketer, social marketing benefits the individuals and the general populace.
Why Social Marketing?
Whether you are an individual, company, agency, government or NGO, the relevance and advantages of social marketing cannot be easily ignored. These include growing a larger audience, generating more leads, making more sales and money, increased brand awareness, increased website traffic and connecting with your audience better.
How Then Can We Improve Social Marketing?
- Take Stock of Your Present Social Presence – Recognition, it is said, is the first step to positive change. Therefore, your first step in launching or improving your social marketing plan is to take a current and realistic stock of your social presence. What networks are you presently on and which of them are active? Which are optimized and giving you the most value? How is your social presence compared to that of your competitors?
- Research, Learn and Document Your Target Customers – Carry out a survey of your target audience. Understand, compile and analyze data on their demographics (such as age, location, salary or income, job profession and title, what social networks they are on and which they regularly use, what are their likes, interests and hobbies. Create forums among your audience for them to discuss like matters and this gives you an avenue to know their needs and concerns. Be open to feedbacks – favorable or otherwise. Respond to all comments and when you make commitments and promises, ensure that you follow through.
- Design Your Social Marketing Mission Statement – This is a simple statement that summarizes what your aims and objectives are. It defines who and what you are, gives you a branding and becomes the focal point for all your activities and operations.
- Define Your Progress/Success Metrics – “When performance is measured, performance improves. When performance is measured and reported, the rate of improvement accelerates.” Design factors to measure your progress and success such as total shares, time spent on website, your reach, conversion rate, brand mentions, and sentiments. Define acceptable and warning limits. Set reasonable deadlines for achieving goals and targets. Ensure that your defined metrics is based on, supports and contributes to your defined mission statement.
- Create Your Content – Many ignore the above steps and just jump straight into this step. That is unwise and dangerous. Having defined the above you can now create meaningful and effective content. Embellish your contents with blog posts, impressive images and videos, info graphics, company news, interviews, e-books and even cartoon call-outs. Follow copyrighting procedures and ensure that your content is SEO optimized and related to your mission statement. Review and update your content regularly for relevance and appropriateness.
- Invest in Marketing Tools – Don’t try and be a “jack-of-all-trade, master-of-none” because you simply can’t. You do not have the time, skills, knowledge and resources to do it all. You can invest in viral marketing and social media management software tools that will do the job more effectively than you can and a lot faster. A viral marketing software will enable your existing clients to refer/recommend your product or services to their friends, colleagues and associates. This is a very effective way of “word‑of‑mouth” advertising. A social media marketing software, on the other hand, helps you to monitor and manage all your social media networks in one centralized platform.
- Everyone Loves a Treat or Reward – Even humans, like our beloved pets, loves the challenge of receiving a reward for a task well done or just simply to say “thank you.” So, endear yourself to your customers by periodically offering them contests, rewards, promos, sweepstakes and giveaways. Do not default on such promises as such would fast destroy your credibility and you will lose your customers.
- Promote Yourself – Blow your trumpet, because if you don’t, no one will. Again, there are automation software tools that can help you promote your content. They maximize the traffic your content receives and, in turn, increases your profit. Be sure to promote your content across all your social networks. By making sure your content is SEO optimized (using hashtags, popular keywords in descriptions and titles), you increase the chances of content being discovered by online users. Link your customers across all your networks. A client that likes your page of Facebook, with a reward or contest, could be enticed to follow you on Twitter and other networks.
While social marketing may be challenging, it has many pleasant rewards. Ignoring it would cause you to miss out on its huge benefits for your business. The above tips will not only help you get on board but ensure that your social marketing strategy improves and succeeds.
About the Author: Subhankar Sarkar
A fitness lover and a Tech blogger by profession, Subhankar also love to ride bikes in his free time. Staying fit and writing blogs are two things he swears by.