We understand the term “Social Media” better when we talk about Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, etc.These are the networking sites where people can interact and update each other by exchanging posts, comments, news, etc. Earlier these sites were known for interacting purpose but now they have become a market place where you can publicize your products and services. You can promote your business online via these sites and can also engage people to give reviews and ratings for your products since people believe more upon the comments and reviews given by others before they themselves use them.
When we talk about small to medium businesses, the majority of them have their businesses online and now they are making efforts to integrate social media into their marketing. For these businesses this is required since this technique lets them build their online reputation, spread their brand messages, lets their business convert and drive sales. Integrating social media would alone not do these things, you need to have a proper plan of action to let your strategies work the way you want. Now the question is how exactly do you develop this plan of action to save yourselves from being sucked into a social media time sink?It is not that tough, you just have to be careful with the following practical approach to develop it:
1. Know Your Strategy and Goals: The first thing is that you need to be very clear and precise with your own objectives. Know what you want to use social media sites for? Is it for awareness or sales or for loyalty and retention? Your goals should be measurable, realistic and attainable. Remember you are trying to make your mark in a market where everyone else is trying to do the same or have already earned that place. Everyone wants more clients and more money.
2. Listen and Analyze: “Listening” is good advice that is often ignored. Try not to jump altogether in the pool of social media. Listen and observe first what is out there, what is your target audience saying. You should not forget that your customers and competitors can be a good guide to the places where you have to be active in social media. For this you can carry out activities like developing a list of social media sites, doing additional research, etc.
3. Think “WE” not “ME”: Businesses are no longer about “me” but they are now more of “we”. You need to focus on people in order to gain more opportunities and for your business to grow. Think of helping others with your knowledge and you can attract your customers and clients towards your business.
4. Build Relationships: Learn that building relationships is the new currency of social media. Don’t make it count in numbers but make it a practice to connect with more and more people. When you invest in people, they will in return promote your brand.
5. Connect with Influencers: Begin with connecting to the most popular social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, Pinterest, etc. This will let you gain more number of clients and customers since the majority of people are familiar with these sites only. Start from these and then eventually drift to others according to your target consumers.
6. Analyze Results and Improve: Review your progress after some period of time to analyze if your strategy is proceeding in the right direction. Learn and adapt from the surroundings if you find anything new. Improve in the areas where required. This will help you harness the power of social media in an appropriate way.
Apart from this approach, you should also not ignore one of the most important aspects of social media and that is SEO. Social media and SEO were treated as completely separate departments earlier but now businesses have realized that they go hand in hand with each other. If you want to leverage the complete power of marketing then you should not miss the link between Social media and SEO.