Many business owners don’t realize the value of social media for their brand and the reason many successful companies are on it. When you’re on social media, you can build your following, interact with your people, and expand your network. Smart marketers don’t just put up Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram pages just for visibility. They do so because these sites allow them to promote their content, explore influencer marketing opportunities, and build brand advocacy and loyalty.
However, we all agree that social media marketing is especially challenging. It’s not difficult, but it’s not that easy. As much as we want you to be optimistic, we also want to be realistic so that we can have a balanced perspective and we have healthy expectations.
Rule 1: Listen
Social media is not a one-way affair. It’s not even just two way. It’s a multi-dimensional platform with people interacting with other people on different levels in numerous ways. You want to spend most of your time talking to them about your brand, but that’s not going to work.
When you’re selling your brand to people, listening is much more important than speaking to them. That sounds counterintuitive. How can you sell to them if you’re just paying attention and not actually actively putting your brand out there right in front of their faces?
If you want to just talk about your brand, you’re pretty much doing advertising. We now know from data how much consumers despise advertising. They’re deaf and blind and oblivious to it. That’s the reason companies, especially small ones and startups, have explored other ways to reach consumers.
One of the important starting points in your marketing strategy is to listen. Pay attention to what consumers in your niche are saying. That’s how you get to know what they want, and that’s where you start planning your content so that it focuses on their needs.
Rule 2: Specialize
You cannot be good at everything. You can’t be all over the place all the time. You can’t be the jack of all trades and do everything at once and spread yourself too thinly and get good results. That’s true whether we’re talking about work, business, or obligations in life. There’s only so much you can do. You can only truly devote your time to a few tasks.
In marketing, specializing means knowing your strengths, honing them, and putting much of your resources into them. If you’re an awesome web designer, exploit that strength in crafting your website. That means you need help for things you can’t do — copywriting, SEO, social media marketing, influencer marketing, and email marketing.
Specializing also means focusing your energy and money on things that work. It means focusing your strategies on avenues that drive traffic and conversion. If you’re not doing well on Twitter after tweaking your approaches, then it’s time you shifted your energies to venues where people engage with you.
Rule 3: Find your selling points
You can’t market like your competitors. You can’t sell your brand like your competitors sell theirs because your brand is different from theirs. And if you think your brand is similar to theirs, you have to find unique aspects of your brand that makes it stand out in the market. Never make your business blend in the status quo. Offer something only you can offer from the get go.
Rule 4: Build a community
Don’t build a following. Followers don’t necessarily care about your brand or your message. They don’t necessarily engage. Don’t just look at the numbers. Look at engagement. Look at the conversations. Look at the relationships. What good are ten thousand followers when you only get ten likes and a few comments on your posts? It’s better to just have a thousand active followers.
How can you make sure your social media channels become a community? It’s simple. Treat your followers like you treat your friends. Talk to them. Ask them questions. Answer their questions. Actively pay attention to their concerns.
Rule 5: Look at the numbers judiciously
Data is of chief importance if you’re monitoring the results of your social media marketing strategies, but data doesn’t tell you everything. You can look at graphs of rising engagements or increasing likes and shares. But data doesn’t tell you the quality of these factors. Are people sharing your posts saying good or bad things about your brand? Does the increase in comments reflect good or bad feedback? If you want to take a closer look, do a survey. Look at the comments yourself. Check out what sharers have to say.
Looking at numbers alone is a fatal flaw in digital marketing in general. If you’re doing influencer marketing, for instance, and your sole criterion in picking an influencer is their follower count, you’re missing the bigger, more crucial factor.
Rule 6: Be patient
Unless you have huge funds to shell out for advertising, social media marketing for us mere mortals is a painstaking process that takes months to yield appreciable results. You’ll be working hard for weeks, posting content and waiting for your following to creep up. Digital marketing is a lot of hard work at the beginning and entails so much frustration. It’s not for the fainthearted. If you want quick results, things like SEO, content marketing, social media marketing, or influencer marketing are not for you.
Rule 7: Keep posting the good stuff
People gravitate towards good content. Content can be anything like a blog post, a message, an article, a meme, or a video that you share with your audience. Good content is content that informs, entertains, amuses, and moves people. It’s content that encourages likes, comments, and shares. When people share and discuss your content, Google will likely to pick it up in keyword searches, because it sees your content as relevant. In turn, it allows more people to see it. That’s why it’s always important to keep quality in mind in content creation.
You don’t know who might stumble upon your posts. If at some point a person with huge following finds your posts interesting, they might share it with their followers. A surge in engagement happens to that particular post, something every social media marketer craves. Well, let’s just get to the last rule.
Rule 8: Borrow influence
Finding influencers is hard and time-consuming. You may not get replies most of the time. Some of them may not find your page or brand interesting. But you have to keep looking for people who can help you market your brand online. Potential influencers may ignore your posts. Keep looking, though. Keep connecting with them, and you may just find someone who finds the true value of your posts.
Influencer marketing isn’t just about finding influencers. It’s about fostering a relationship with them and marketing through and with them. However, it takes quality content that resonates well with an influencer in order for you to catch and keep them. Acknowledge an influencer whether they only shared one of your posts or shared ten of them. Give them a plug too. Introduce them to your own audience and help them gain more following. Everyone loves reciprocity.