How the world does business is changing rapidly and like it or not, more and more people are turning to digital technology, with social media in particular becoming the marketing battleground for the attention (and wallets) of customers.

So how do you enter the fray and ensure your social media efforts will reap the rewards?

1.       Know your audience

It is well worth your while spending a considerable amount of time defining and fleshing out who your ideal customer is.   You should be able to talk about them as if they were actual people or to model them on someone you know.

If this is not possible, pull together composite parts from real life and use that to flesh out your ideal client. You should be able to describe that person in minute detail to the point you are able to get inside their heads.

Climbing inside their heads (metaphorically speaking) will enable you to predict what they will think and/or say in (nearly) any given situation.

This knowledge will help you structure your marketing efforts to suit that client – the language they use, clothes they wear, slang they identify with, TV shows they watch, technology or social platforms they consume and so on. The list is endless.

2.       Go where your customers go

Target your social media efforts to where your customers hang out.  If your customers or potential customers are on Facebook, go there.

If your clients turn up their noses at Facebook and spend their time on LinkedIn, it’s a no-brainer.  Go to LinkedIn.

Going where your customers aren’t, is a fruitless exercise and a waste of your time and money.  You may feel you are achieving and making progress, but you aren’t.  You’re simply ticking a box and generating a false sense of success.

3.       Be clear about your outcomes from each social media channel

You need to know what outcome you expect from each and every social media tool or channel you use. That old adage “You can’t manage what you can’t measure,” couldn’t be truer when it comes to using social media.

You need at least one measure or metric to determine whether your efforts are helping you achieve your business goals – either directly or indirectly.

Keep in mind, it isn’t always possible to directly measure the impact on the bottom line, for example, the number of Twitter tweets resulting in direct sales (although it may be possible in some instances).  However, you may be able to create a proxy or indirect measure that will indicate how effective your social media marketing efforts are.

A proxy or indirect measure might be the number of comments or likes or visits to your home page thanks to a blog post you’ve published.  It could also be the number of warm leads generated for your business.

You might also have a measure of the costs of engagement i.e. how much it costs you to get one person to interact with your brand on social media.  Alternatively you might decide to measure how many followers you have and how much it costs you to get each new follower or what percentage of followers buy your products.

In the short term, the more clearly you can measure the impact on your bottom line, the better.

However in the long term, customer engagement is what really matters.  Customer engagement activity signals how strongly users relate to your brand, products and services.  Over time and with the right analytical tools those levels of engagement can be used to help predict sales.

  1. Seek engagement over ‘likes’

 When it comes to engagement, the more interaction the better.  Views are one thing, likes another, but comments are the Holy Grail – be it to praise or censure. Having people discuss your business services and products online is what you truly want.

But what if the comments are really negative and put your company in a bad light?

First rule of thumb … don’t panic.  Take your time considering your response.  Remember, negativity provides you with an opportunity to build rapport and customer satisfaction.

I once had a boss whose mantra was: “Feedback is GOLD…doesn’t matter if it is good OR bad!”

He was right.  Social media tools offer the opportunity to collect feedback.  If that feedback is positive, great!  Use it to improve your products and services.  If the feedback is negative, that’s even more fantastic.  It gives you the opportunity to fix things that are stopping your customers buying from you … or even more importantly, raving about you to their friends.

 5.       Call To Action

Always include a call to action in your social media activity.

You want people to follow you, like your comments, comment on your products, visit your website and eventually buy from you. However you need to spell out clearly what you want your customers and potential customers to do. Don’t take it for granted that they will understand what steps to take.

Put these five social media mechanisms in place and you’re halfway to achieving a successful social media outcome.

Should you be interested in improving your social media presence or simply meeting for a cuppa, don’t hesitate to call 0422 694 503 or email wendy@parkerpublicrelations.com.au

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