Is the number of “likes” you see on a company’s Facebook page sincere or purchased? According to a report by Garner Research, up to 15 percent of all social media reviews in 2014 will be fake. With a few dollars, you can purchase as many as 500 Facebook likes and just as many Twitter followers.
However, the social media accounts that are on board with this practice may not be ones you want associated with your brand. With the integration of social media in website marketing, businesses can easily lose focus on what matters. The number of likes or followers you get doesn’t necessarily translate to increased traffic, leads or sales.
Social Media Strategy
Social media and its various networks make it simple for businesses to get caught up in trying to be popular. What companies need to remember, however, is that website marketing needs as much planning and research as traditional marketing. This planning and research includes defining and knowing the target market; effectively solving a problem for this audience; understanding the lifestyle and purchasing habits of the target audience; and understanding about the competition. Without a concise marketing plan, social media strategies may be heavy on promises but often lack clarity in regards to the problem your company is solving for others.
When developing a website marketing plan that includes social media, you can make more effective connections with the following practices:
Communication. Genuine, quality followers want to know about your brand and how it can help them. By using the right social media channel, you can communicate with your target in the manner they prefer – with short bursts of information or in a responsive, public dialogue.
Lead nurturing. Posting pictures of cute cats or clever observations won’t convince your target customers – those who are most likely to spend money – to trust your brand. To increase conversion rates, make sure the content you post is valuable to your target, addresses solutions to their needs and nurtures them through the buying process.
Lead generation. Social media is a tool you can use to meet new prospects. By having meaningful conversations with prospective customers, you can generate new leads. For example, a wedding photographer may join a social media group for brides and post helpful tips.
Build a community. A social networking community should be like an email list that receives your company newsletter – the followers are interested in your brand and want to learn more. When those who “like” or “follow” your brand are genuinely interested, your communications and promotions will be more effective.
Leverage keywords. Search engine results often lead to a company’s social media page. By using appropriate keywords and creating content that produces inbound links, quality leads will come your way.
Monitor conversations. When you create a professional social media account but ignore the chatter on it, you can miss out on valuable feedback. By monitoring and being responsive to communications posted on your page, you can enhance your customer engagement and support services.
Follow other conversations. Your target customers have a set pattern in regards to how they use social media to learn and communicate. By studying the actions of these consumers on social media networks, you can learn more about their behaviors so your content stays relevant.
Fight the temptation to be a social marketing “cool kid.” By devising a website marketing plan that’s goal-oriented and has a clear tactical path, your efforts will bring you quality leads and the highest return on your marketing investment.