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Make social media work

It’s one thing to create a Facebook page or buy ads on Twitter. But smart marketers know lead generation requires more than scheduling tweets and status updates.

Social media can be an effective way to increase trust about your brand. But you can’t start a campaign without planning or knowledge of what you are doing, otherwise its like  trying to drive a car with your hands tied and no idea where you are trying to get!

The following steps provide a practical guideline for using social channels to drive demand.

 

1. Start with awareness
Before you can engage potential buyers, you need to grab their attention. Fortunately, social media provides cost effective ways to extend the reach of your marketing; but cutting through all the noise requires skill.

Social mediaFirst, find out what your target customers are talking about, who the key influencers are, and where these conversations are taking place. There is little value in having a huge presence on a social channel if your market isn’t paying attention.

Similarly, don’t jibber jabber for the sake of it! Produce the kind of content that your key audience will want to share, paying particular attention to the style and formats that are more likely to get passed around. Adding components like streaming Twitter lists, YouTube videos and Facebook comments to your landing pages can add social stickiness to your content.

 

2. Engage your leads

Once you’ve taken stock of what your audience is saying and where they’re saying it, your next step is to engage. There are several ways to do this, ranging from the simple to the sophisticated.

Join Twitter chats or LinkedIn groups centered on the topics impacting your industry. Place your content on platforms like Facebook and Google+. But do it in a way that starts a conversation rather than just broadcasting a message.

Also make it easy for people to see and share your links.

Discover your key influencers – the endorsement from these influencers can result in faster conversions.

 

3. Injecting personality into your brand

There can often be a delicate balance between ensuring your social media sites represent and compliment your plan and delivering content that demonstrate that there are real people and personalities behind the company. Many businesses shy away from a personal approach, but people like engaging with people, not human robots!

 

4. Enrich your data

If you’re successfully converting leads from social web, you’ll want to take advantage of the rich data social networks provide. Capture data by analysing which social channels are driving traffic to your existing marketing assets (i.e. websites etc.).

 

5. Measure, again and again

To repeat success – and build on it – you need to measure over and over. Measure which channels are driving traffic to individual pages, which campaigns drove the most conversions and where you’ll want to focus your efforts going forward.

Over time, you’ll be able to see how social campaigns stack up against traditional marketing campaigns. New tools and platforms make it possible to close the loop on socially shared campaigns and signed deals.

 

6. Enjoy

Social media can be one of the most enjoyable forms of marketing. Where else can you test so many different tones/images and videos for little or no cost. Embrace the instant gratification of posting different messages through different channels. Of course each post should still compliment your brand but don’t be afraid to throw a wild card in occasionally!

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