B2B Articles - June 01, 2014

Take Command of Your Social Media Marketing Strategy

As customers have become more in control of how they learn and engage with a brand, so too has the need to actively participate in social media in order to control messaging, nurture relationships and guide users through labyrinths  of stories.

Social media command center

As we accept the reality that inbound marketing is ever-evolving, there will never be a moment when one “knows it all”. The key is to get into the game, try, learn, and grow. For those committed to fully integrating social into their overall brand strategy, there are tactics and strategies to consider.

Content is King

Strong and pertinent content is the best way to get shared and receive a positive reaction from your audience. Even if the content relates to information about the brand, the chief mission should be to educate and entertain your audience. This is what gets shared and buzzed about and it’s what a customer finds the most rewarding.

Selling a product by marketing its description is a technique of the past. Take the time to establish your professional reputation, tell your story, and engage with your audience. They will then come to you to learn about your product.

To get attention to your content, you have to consistently work hard for prolonged periods of time. Besides publishing meaningful content, you must comment on others’ blogs, write guests posts, build a following, connect to industry leaders, and spread your content through as many networks as are relevant to your brand.

As you should be open to more than one outlet to present your content, you should be open to more than one type of content. Infographics are a great way to share relevant information in an organized way. While inforgraphics can be an engaging way to present complex information, your audience will eventually crave for more than can be conveyed in a graphic. Do not limit yourself to heavily on only Infographics. Besides blog postings, write eBooks, publish presentations on SlideShare, and use video.

There is a rule in social media that only 1% of participants will start discussions, 9% will respond and 90% will do neither.

Accept this fact and do not be disappointed if not all your audience converse with you. It is hard to find the first reader to start a conversation. You can help by always responding, include some discussion points into your content: ask questions, and mention controversial viewpoints to spark discussion.

With Contacts, Quality Trumps Quantity

Followers help you spread what you have to say. A handful of real connections are worth more than thousands of unengaged, or worse, purchased contacts. Real followers are attracted to, interact with, and they share your content. Fake contacts will not. The best way to build a social media following is the natural way, being visible with good content amongst people engaged in your interests.

A social media following is essential for gaining exposure. The more followers you have, the more likely it is that someone will listen. But not all your followers are your listeners. The larger a following, the less you will notice particular posts, and the more important direct contact becomes. On Twitter, mentioning people will sometimes get their attention, but overdoing it means losing impact with these people and losing a follower.

It can be hard to get attention on today’s social networks. If you post a Facebook status update, it will eventually get lost in the massive flood of updates. The same goes for Twitter and LinkedIn. And shouting, posting the same status update multiple times in a short period of time or writing in CAPITAL LETTERS will only annoy your followers who will likely stop following you. Instead, be consistent and persistent with quality content. Keep producing high quality content and people will eventually notice. When they do, you will have active, loyal followers.

Does a big network automatically mean an engaged audience? Not necessarily. You must be actively engaged before you see results of your efforts. In some networks, you can easily find related content and initiate a repertoire with the author. In other networks, you have to rely on contact and connections with people you already know. Regardless of which network you want to use, you have to connect before you can expect people to listen.

In social media, sharing information without listening to and participating with your audience will limit your opportunity for success. You must listen as much as you talk; you must communicate to connect. Start listening and your social media channels will eventually get you the exposure you desire.

Finding thought leaders from your industry and field of expertise and connecting to them is a good start for building your social media channels. Online marketing is the interaction of different channels, well-placed content, connecting with the right people and eventually building relationships to potential customers. Social media and content marketing are not quick and easy solutions for business success. Take the time necessary to develop your online reputation and understand that it’s not a one lane road. Social media engagement is a multi-way highway that requires precision, stamina and awareness.

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