There is no denying that the advent of social media has greatly changed the way companies do business. With online social networking, business blogging and other various aspects of social media, businesses have a new way to connect with customers, promote their brand and grow their company.
It seems these changes in marketing are coming faster than many can keep up with. It is times like these, when we look to the experts for little nuggets of inspiration. In a recent webinar entitled The Future of Marketing Microconference, 60 experts each had one minute to present their fact, opinion, or insight on what they think will bring marketing success both now, and in the near future.
Here are three key elements that, according to the experts, will have the most impact and the most success on social media marketing.
If you’re involved in the realm of social media marketing, I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “Content is King.” You may have even had it beaten into your head. You’re probably sick of hearing it. However, what exactly is good content, and how will it help promote your company?
There is a lot of content out there on the Web. Some of it is quite valuable, but a lot of it is garbage. Unfortunately, you are competing with all of it. How will you stand out and be heard above the noise?
Writing about how great your company is or boasting about your accolades will not engage people and win over new customers. By creating helpful content that engages readers, provides valuable information, or tells a story they can relate to, you will rise above the noise.
Good content is also content that people will want to share with others. If people share your content, either by sending their friends or colleagues a link to your blog, retweeting your tweets, or telling people about your site, they are promoting for you. Essentially, this is free advertising.
Aside from providing helpful and interesting information, you want to add some personality to your content. Stop being faceless and start being human.
As mentioned above, if people want to share your content with others, they are advertising for you. Using your customers as a marketing channel is a good way to promote your brand. It might sound a bit devious, but it actually isn’t. If people like your product, content, or way you do business, they will want to tell people about it. How many times have you dined at a great new restaurant, and immediately recommended it to friends? You probably don’t see it as marketing for the company; you see it as introducing your friends to a great place to eat.
Location-based social media like Foursquare and review sites like Yelp are great ways to market via your customers. If your customers like your product or service they will talk about it on these sites, giving you free promotion. However, the downside is they can spread negative reviews as well. The best way to handle this is to respond to these negative reviews by apologizing. Be sincere and professional – if you attack them you’ll just look worse in their eyes and the eyes of others.
Your customers are the heart of your business. Without them, your business would not exist. So how you treat your customers and interact with them is of utmost importance. Gone are the days of advertising at your customers. Now are they days of interacting with them. If there is one common thread that was repeated throughout the webinar, it was that customer relationships are a vital part of social media marketing.
Online social networking gives companies a great way to connect with their customers. Listen to what they have to say and respond in a professional, yet still human, manner. What are the unmet needs of your customers? What do they love about your product or service, and what do they want to see changed?
Building trust is important. However, you can do this by being upfront and honest with your customers, do what you promise, and respond to them in a timely manner. Show that you are human, and not just a brand. And most importantly, treat your customers how you would want to be treated.