Investor *Sales and Marketing Pioneer * Author* Technology Champion *Philanthropist * Leadership Mentor
Social Media Marketing has become an indispensable part of digital marketers.
Today, social media is the barometer of consumer’s pulse and behaviour. They have become indispensable for marketers in search of prospects, brand engagement and customer interactions. Since the focus of online browsers has shifted towards social media sites, marketers are learning how to leverage social media – for nurturing relationship, understanding the market, promoting the brand and impelling the prospects even before they have become qualified leads.
Buyers wait until they have completed 60-80% of their research before reaching out to the vendors.
Senior Director of Global Marketing, SAP
Social Media is a Wonderful Medium
The beauty of social media is that they are extremely democratic platform. Social Media dynamics runs on the currency of information sharing and validation (likes and comments) – when people find interesting and meaningful. Marketers are integrating social media links on their company websites. In fact, social media marketing has become business imperative for companies to reinforce their social presence and connect meaningfully with consumers through relevant and valuable content.
Everything we do is about getting people to be more open, more creative, and more courageous.
JACK DORSEY, TWITTER
Marketing Opportunities in social media
Consider some of the following tentative facts:
+ For every seven minutes online, one minute is spent on Facebook
+ Everyday 340 million tweets are posted
+ Everyday more than 300 million pictures are uploaded on Facebook via Instagram
+ Approx. 65% of LinkedIn members use it as their primary networking sites
+ Pinterest is fast emerging as the most popular social media sites just behind Facebook & Twitter in US
Clearly, there is a big universe for marketers to be tapped.
Social Media Marketing is Essentially Content Marketing
Let’s get this fact right. Social media sites thrive not on academic or heavy content but rather something which is interesting, engaging, and relevant. Problem is – it should not be longer than a teaser. So this aspect has to be kept in mind while setting up the Social Media Team. People who can deliver strictly on prescribed parameters. Once the team is ready, marketing policy needs to define in a clear –cut way. Starting form guidelines to how social media should be engaged to promote brand and connect with the audiences. So ultimately it boils down to one thing- content. They are the bread and butter of marketing activities. One needs to come up with text, videos, infographics and host of other shareable content – to keep the audiences engaged and entertained. And in social media sites, visual content like pictures and videos attract more traffic.
On an average, B2B marketers employ eight different content marketing tactics to achieve their goals.
B2B Content Marketing
Platform for B2B & B2C campaigns
While there is no denying the fact that SEO, PPC and email still forms the currency of the marketing campaigns – but social media sites also contributes a healthy chunk of B2B interactions on the web. Social media sites bring followers, increases brand visibility and spread message and awareness through peer to peer sharing model. It renders a platform for creating a meaningful business relationship that encourages sharing and engagement. And thus, credibility is built.
And for B2C campaigns, well, it won’t be audacious to say that social media is the best platform.
The thing that we are trying to do at Facebook is just help people connect and communicate more efficiently.
CEO & Founder of Facebook
Lead Scoring in Social Media Marketing
Scoring leads from social channels require a smart and organized plan of attack. Marketers tend to make capital mistake when it comes to social media marketing. They over focus on driving traffic without doing the spade work on the vital acronym –AIDA – awareness, interest, desire and action.
The dynamics of social media sites are usually built for creating awareness and piquing interest. They don’t function as a point of sale. Smart marketers know this and employ relevant tools like content, blogs and videos to promote their brand and create fan following.
Marketers must garner vital insights from user traffic to decipher what exactly they should be publishing to enhance visibility. The overall idea is to remain constantly engaged with the fans. This will build up strong desires among the fans and eventually they will end up taking business decision.
SOME BEST PRACTICES FOR SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING
+ Superior Content: Success of digital marketing is directly proportionate to the quality of content. Marketers cannot afford to drop the guard, letting inferior content to engage with the audiences. This will spell disaster.
+ Creating Value: It is important to put the thinking cap on from audience point of view. When that is done, it becomes easier to produce content which will interest and pique them.
+ Facilitate Conversation: Interaction is the blood line of social media sites. Facilitating frequent conversation is a great way to establish trust and relationship with the audiences.
+ Stay Neutral: It is always advisable to post neutral information and avoid post which has an anti-tone and feel to avoid legal troubles. After all, the objective is social media optimization and not getting into trouble of any kind.
+ Maintain Credibility: Credibility enhance brand value and helps greatly in conversion. And simple way of building credibility is to use only original and fresh content which is relevant to the audiences.
Social Media sites present goldmine of opportunities for marketers. But it is much easier said than done. It is a very unorganized and unstructured channel so tracking and measurement is a bottleneck. Many new social tools are coming up. But metrics are not still as measurable as in the case of email marketing. While more number of likes, comments, followers might be indicative of brand promotion, it will be difficult to say how much traffic has been generated and ROI on marketing spend.
Best a marketer can do is to create more peer to peer sharing through superior content and keep them engaged. And these basics are followed; social media marketing will yield handsome rewards.