Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is the process of generating leads, traffic and attention while reaching influencers using social media networks. Social media marketing encompasses activities such as social selling, content marketing, audience reach and status updates.
Social media marketing also impacts on SEO or search results as content marketing (articles, blogs, whitepapers) and status updates (news, press releases, stories) when shared or published leads to search engine discovery around a set of keywords or a title. Research also shows that people also search on social media sites like LinkedIn, Tumblr, and Facebook etc. to find relevant social media content. Social connections who share a company’s social media links can also impact the position they show up on search engine results for keywords, whether within a social media network or on Google.
In marketing, harnessing the power of content marketing, social selling and social influencing can deliver big increases in traffic, audience and customer engagement. Before a business talks about marketing automation, social bookmarking, social sharing or social data they should discuss how to get the fundamentals of social media marketing right. Whether your social media marketing is designed to drive traffic, generate sales leads or reach a wider audience, following these ten simple rules will help lay the foundation to serve your marketing, customers, brand and business better.

social-media-marketing

#socialmedia rule 1. Listen
Listen to the sounds, chatter and conversations on social networks. The success of social media and content marketing efforts follows the rule of more listening and less talking. No point talking about what has been talked to death. Read your target customers and competitor’s on-line content, join social discussions in a meaningful way (not for self-promotion) to learn what’s important to them. Only after listening and hearing what is being shared can a business create content and ignite conversations with well-crafted words that add value not clutter to people’s lives.

#socialmedia rule 2. Be a hedgehog
“The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.” In social media it is better to specialise on topics you know than to be a jack-of-all-trades. A focused social media plan and content marketing strategy will be more successful in engaging a target audience and help build brand awareness than social media activities that attempts to be all things to all men.

#socialmedia rule 3. Quality counts
Quality over quantity. The beauty of quality words will be remembered long after the promise of a low price has faded from memory. It is far better to have 100 influential social connections who read, share and talk about your content to their own network than 1000 connections who disappear after reading your sales pitch.

#socialmedia rule 4. Be patient
Patience allows content the time to fall into place and make an impact. Social media results and content marketing success will not happen overnight. Quality always stands the test of time, social media requires time to filter around so have the patience to work steady and focused to achieve results.

#socialmedia rule 5. Publish often
Social media is not a one hit wonder. The article may be a masterpiece but one swallow never made a summer. Publish quality content regularly to build the on-line audience of followers and fans, quality content published at regular intervals is far more likely to be shared on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and on other blogs.
The network effect of the sharing content or article links on social networks and the discussions that follow regarding the content will tap into search engines like Google, so the content will show up for keyword or phrase searches. These links could grow from ten to hundreds or thousands, reaching out to connect you with people searching on-line.

#socialmedia rule 6. Connect with social influencers
Social influencers can be a conduit to spread your content to a wider range of people who could be interested in your products, services and business. Seek to be and connect with social influencers, spend time building relationships with them through the power of words. If a blogger or brand is seen as an authoritative, interesting source which shares really useful information, the likelihood of your content getting shared with social influencers follower’s increases, which can put the business message in front of a huge social audience.

#socialmedia rule 7. Be a teller not a seller
Craft and tell great stories to get people to listen, too many businesses believe social media marketing is about promoting their products and services. This has the effect of people switching off. Create content that adds value to social conversations. Jumping in on existing social conversions has limited value, better to be known as who creates amazing content. This is what really develops and builds relationships with social influencers. In time, those social connections will become a powerful channel to spread the word on your business.

social-media-networks

#socialmedia rule 8. Build ties even weak ones
Social networks ties people together for shared interests and conversations. Building relationships and connections is one of the most important parts of social media marketing success, so always acknowledge every person including weak ties who reaches out to you or favours your content as six degrees of separation means that everyone is just six steps away by way of introduction from any person in the world.

#socialmedia rule 9. Remain constant
Apart from publishing content on a regular basis, you need to be available and have a constant presence with your audience. You need to participate in conversations, share other people content, get involved, and be seen to be engaged and active. Eaten bread is soon forgotten and social media followers can be fickle. They or your competitors will replace you if you are not seen on social networks for weeks or months.

#socialmedia rule 10. Share and show
In social media there is always room to share for a story that is not your own. Show people you care about the industry by sharing content, it is unrealistic to expect others to share your content and talk about you but you won’t do the same for them? So, plan to have a portion of your social media marketing showing content published by others. Showing you value content, articles and social conversations that are not your own will make you a social influencer.

Social Media Marketing – Powering Sales

The use of social media within digital marketing and inbound marketing has become an important gear in the sales and demand generation engine. The sales and marketing engine needs fuel (supply of traffic or prospects) which the engine turns into visitors and leads where sales converts to customers.

social-media-marketing

The use of social media and lead generation are the gears which powers the engine. The bigger the social media gear size the harder the marketing gear works. And the harder the marketing gear works, the faster and more productive the sales machine will work to generate revenue.

Social media (blog, content marketing, and articles) is the gear that gets the marketing and sales engine working. Social media pulls in the traffic and prospects and converts them to visitors or leads. When driving a car, we push the pedal to the metal in the highest gear to get to a destination faster. The same logic applies to inbound marketing and lead generation. A business needs to work the biggest gear, social media, to ensure a constant supply of visitors, leads and buyers to power the business growth.

Social media also impacts SEO and long tail keywords. So if social media is the gear, then content marketing and blogging platforms like WordPress, Medium, Svbtle, Postach, Ghost, LinkedIn Pulse, Storify, Tumblr, Blogger, Buzzfeed etc. and the traffic they can generate is the fuel that turns the social media gear.

To put the potential impact of social media into perspective, here is some insightful statistics’ on buyer decisions.

  • “57% of the purchase decision is complete before a customer even calls a supplier.”
  • “67% of the buyer’s journey is now done digitally.”

Big business or small business, it is vital to have social media in the marketing plan for lead generation and inbound marketing strategy. Every marketing team has to see social media and inbound marketing tactics as a critical gear in the buyer’s journey.

Social Media Marketing Is Critical for Inbound Lead Generation Success, so is Sales.

The days when demand generation meant only using paid search or media placement and email marketing are over. Today’s buyers are on a different journey where business buyers and consumers are using keyword search and social channels to find content upon which to make informed choices. In fact, they are now in control of the buying process where they are start the demand generation process without any seller being involved.

Social media does not replace selling, good sales or selling practises, as research shows that talking to a sales person still has a strong influence on buyers vendor selection. Social media and inbound lead generation is just a gear (a vital gear) in the lead-to-revenue path that enables marketing to funnel leads to the sales machine, which turn them into customers.

Another reason that social media is a gear which needs to be connected to the sales engine is that while social media and inbound marketing can deliver more leads at a lower cost than outbound marketing or sales, inbound leads take 30 to 40% longer to move through the sales funnel.

The other Digital Marketing Gears

Like any engine, the sales and marketing engine needs more than one gear to power it, gears like social media selling, SEO gear, paid search (SEM) and email marketing gear all play a key role in lead generation and lead nurturing. Successful inbound marketing is about getting the mix right between short term tactics, longer term tactics and tactics that deliver demand now.

The Actions and Actives in getting the Social Media gear moving.

  1. Publish and Attract. This is about pulling in the fuel (traffic, prospects, suspects) into the engine. The greater the reach via multiple blogging platforms for content marketing, research papers, articles, the bigger the awareness a business can generate by posting the content via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, Pinterest, SlideShare, Google+, Reddit and other content marketing sources. But attracting traffic and visitors is only VANITY, leads and customer engagement is SANITY.
  2. Convert. This step is about getting the traffic into visitors who will convert into at least repeat visitors to gather more information or as leads (newsletter signup, free trial, landing page, and request for information form). This convert point means the traffic the social media gear is attracting is the right profile plus they like the content or messaging pushed out. Other good convert points should include the visitors who follow, shared, liked, commented or republished the content. This convert point means a business has taken a step closer to building a relationship and nurturing the lead through the sales process.,
  1. Lead Nurturing. The lead and customer nurturing process fits between the attracting and closing stages. Returning visitors will seek out fresh content or product information, people who signed up for newsletters or email updates need to be influenced. The sales team should now be engaged with social selling to the prospects. This stage is where prospective buyers are sourcing, digesting and reviewing information and content. A recent report by Act-On showed that 85% of Business-to-Business buyers said it takes three or more pieces of relevant content to help make a decision on progressing with a supplier. So, a business can lead nurture by influencing the buyer to take action by feeding them with relevant content on their terms or personalised preference.
  2. Close. This stage is where leads are moved through the pipeline to become customers. Returning visitors will reveal themselves to enter into the sales funnel and existing lead nurturing prospects move down or out of the sales funnel. The key measure here is conversion, what is the lead-to-revenue conversion rate? What is the cost of customer acquisition? Closing is both a sales process and a workflow process so marketing and sales management need to work together to audit the attract, convert, lead nurturing and closing stages to ascertain what is working and what is not.
  3. Pipeline Replenishment. Reduce the cost of marketing by getting customer referrals or customer net promoters. The stage has to do with social media monitoring and sales teams using social selling to stay in touch with customers and expand their network. This stage can include surveys, feedback, and publishing new content and listening to social media chatter

Social media marketing is a process to generate leads via well written content that is published across multiple social channels resulting in lead nurturing activity by marketing and sales where strangers become customers