Remember some years ago, when people were speculating that soon, social media would become a norm? Well, that time is now. Today, social media helps bridge all sorts of gaps from family members, acquaintances, friends, and now, even consumer to business owner. People spend a lot of time on these social networking websites and the ease with which business owners can reach millions of users makes it easy to understand why marketing has leapt into the social media circle.
The idea behind social media marketing is simple: you make your product available in different social media websites by creating a page or a profile for it. The goal is to attract attention and gain traffic to spread awareness of your product. This can be measured by the number of likes and shares (for Facebook) or the number of followers (for Twitter). The idea of marketing in social networking appeals to many business owners as it is cost efficient, and if done well, can yield a sure increase in brand recognition and consequently, sales. Sounds easy? Apparently, with the simplicity and ease of social media marketing, there are still a handful of ways to fail. The key is to identify the fine line between maximization and overuse. You must maximize you social media market, but do not overuse it. Remember Avinash Kaushik's social media metrics?
Maximize: Plan and Analyze
The danger with many a social media marketing plan is that, to begin with, it does not have a clear strategy. The plan should not simply be composed of just creating an online profile for your product. You need to carefully plan what you are going to put in this profile, what kind of information will be available and what image are you going to portray to communicate your brand to social media users. Identify the strengths of your product and the potential audience you can target. Though social networking websites provide you with a wide range of potential customers, you cannot expect to market the same product to all of them. Determine your target market then strategize your social networking activities in such a way that you get their attention. This strategy will determine what pictures you are going to post, what write-ups your profile will require, and what gimmicks will work for your product.
An increase in likes or shares does not immediately translate to increase in sales. But if you carefully target your market and strategize you online activities, it just might. The ultimate goal is to increase sales so what you want is to acquire traffic and attention from potential buyers. Analyze your online activity by evaluating data on sales and try to find the translation from online marketing to actual sales. What you want to know is if your social media marketing is working. If it's not, then a change in strategy is in order. Otherwise, your continuous online presence if faulty, however accessible, may put your business in harm.
Don't overuse the social media
With the kind of communication that social media provides (impersonal, slightly artificial), it is easy for business owners to forget that social networking website users are actual people, therefore, have immediate reactions to online marketing in social media. Don't make the mistake of forgetting that users react to your online presence as soon as they see it and judge whether your product is worth their time and attention. Do not overuse your social media by making your product too present in all kinds of social networking websites. Online users have a penchant for hating pop-ups and online advertisements that are present whichever site they go. Remember: make your product available online, but not too available that people get sick of it. Control the number of social media sites where your product will be available.
Always check the content of your posts, pictures, status, ads, and tweets; basically whatever you put out there for the social media users to consume. Remember that they are rational beings with "built-in" opinions and if you happen to post anything offensive, social media has a way of letting them voice out. A lapse in common decency or a play on cultural stereotypes may lead to a huge backlash for your brand. If online users find anything offensive with your posts, they can easily broadcast and share it with other people. Your product may trend for all the wrong reasons.
Ironically, the best part is that these groups of people are also the main determinants of your success. They could either make or break you. It all depends on how you wield the social media. Do not overuse it. That's a very simple rule to follow, but much too tricky than it sounds.
(maximizing social media / shutterstock)