Since the beginning of time, word of mouth has always been the most powerful and effective form of advertising. It was used long before we had television, radio or internet, and is still used despite all of our technology advancements. Social media is a marketing strategy that essentially increases your word of mouth advertising – with the goal of encouraging other people who have worked with your business to help promote the services and products you offer. Social media allows us to build relationships through various online communities where people gather to communicate and connect. The relationships you create help establish trust among the community, and trust in turn results in the ability to sell a product or service indirectly. Connections on social media communities will also generate traffic to your business website.
Here are 3 steps to using Social Media as a Marketing Strategy:
STEP ONE – a large part of any social media marketing evolves around the use of a blog. Your blog is like the center of your marketing wheel, with other methods radiating outwards from the blog as the wheel's spokes. Your blog is not only a place where your prospective clients can come for information, but it should also become a place where people can interact with one another through your blog comments. Encourage people to leave comments on the blog by asking questions in your blog posts.
You'll use the sidebar space on your blog to link to your social media profiles, or to display feeds from them. Most social media sites offer widgets that allow you to quickly paste the code into the blog. You should also link to the blog from your main business website, from each of your social media profiles, in your email signature, from your newsletter (online or offline), whenever you post to forums and message boards, and when you leave comments on other blogs and websites.
STEP TWO – if you aren't already a member of some of the most popular social media sites, sign up and create profiles for your business so you can interact with others. Some of the more popular social media communities for businesses include LinkedIn.com, Twitter.com, and Facebook.com. Begin interacting with others, but don't consider it a marketing task – just sort of “mingle” online like you would at a party and participate in conversations. Help people connect with others who share interests or can offer valuable information to someone else. In the process, you will build genuine relationships and trust with your online contacts.
The best results will be gained from people who use social media consistently. You can't do one hour of social media tasks and forget about it for a month and expect to get results. You'll need about an hour of time set aside to work with social media a few times per week.
STEP THREE – After a few weeks of activity on various social media sites, take time to analyze your results. Take a look at where your traffic and profits are coming from. If one of the social media sites aren't offering any results, you can consider spending more time on it to see if you can improve your results – or dropping it to focus your time on the platforms that are working for you.
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