Are you struggling to engage online?
Do you know where your potential customers hang out? Do you how to connect with them in the way they like best?
Are you suffering from the social media blues?
To optimize your social media marketing efforts, it’s important to understand who your customers are and which social networks they use the most. But as a business owner, you probably have other things to think about. So how do you fill the void?
Step 1: Know your customer
Whenever we start with a new client, our first question is: Who is your customer?
Of course, we receive many different answers to that question, ranging from “everyone” to the fine-tuned and detailed answer that describes a potential customer in detail. And while all of these responses may be true, they won’t help you find your audience online because they don’t help you prioritize where to find them and spend time with them in a manner to their liking.
Many businesses jump on every platform trying to fulfill all needs. Only to fail because they rarely post to anything.
Who is your customer and what are they looking for? Do you cater to professionals or consumers? LinkedIn may be perfect for reaching out to CEOs while consumer products may do better on Facebook. Is your product visual? Pinterest or Instagram may be your perfect choice.
The important thing about whichever social media sites you choose is to have them be an extension of who you are. This means developing the right persona, having the correct message, and posting on a frequent basis – a time schedule that meets your potential customers’ needs.
Step 2: Determining your audience size
Many of our customers are surprised by how detailed the demographics are on social media sites. But if you think about it, it should come as no surprise.
If you’ve ever filled out a profile on a social media site, you know you include valuable demographics of your life. Your marital status. Your age. Your interests. Your favorite music. Your travel habits. Your food choices.
Social media sites use this to create a profile of who you are. And when you target people with social media marketing, you have the ability to define your audience by specific details.
Want women between 30 and 40 who like Mexican food? You can select demographics for that. Prefer men 20 to 30 who like to workout? Yep, you can create campaigns just for that.
In fact, you can select so many specific demographics and target people individually, you might start thinking of new ways to market your goods and services. It’s no longer a “shot in the dark” marketing. Instead, it’s about being as specific as possible to reach out and “speak” to your customers’ needs.
Of course, every social media site has its own way of doing things. And what you find on Facebook won’t work the same way using Twitter or LinkedIn. That’s why having an expert on your side; one who understands the nuances of social media marketing will help you achieve the results you are looking for.
If you’ve been in business for any length of time, a survey may give you results you weren’t expecting. Instead of guessing at what clients and prospects prefer, head straight to the source and survey your existing customers instead.
To create effective social media marketing campaigns, start by asking your customers a few questions:
- What social media sites do you use regularly?
- What websites do you visit on a frequent basis?
- Do you read and follow blogs?
- What people do you pay attention to online?
You can also use free tools like SurveyMonkey or Google Forms to help collect answers. Be sure to make the process easy to have more results. You may even wish to incentivize it to get more customers to provide answers. This will only help you market better down the road.
Step 3: Use online behavior tools
Are you fairly new to business? Not sure who your customer base is or what they want from you? Not a problem. With the online tools available today, you can clearly define your online target audience with just a little bit of research.
Start with statistics. With just a little bit of research, you can find stats for just about anything. Pew Research Center is known for their market research. And you can find statistics for just about anything you desire. When it comes to social media marketing, Facebook continues to be the biggest player in the industry. But that doesn’t mean it’s the right tool for you.
Look through portal sites, or find trade organizations within your industry or demographics. It’s not difficult to find studies and infographics that provide specific information on whatever needs you have.
Step 4: Connecting with your prospects and customers
Ready. Set. Go!
Once you have goals in mind, it’s time to put your knowledge to work across the different social media platforms. But don’t start without a plan.
Each social media network has its own way of reaching out to your audience. You can do so in an organic or a PPC way. That means if you want instant results, a pay-per-click campaign may get your information in front of select audiences quickly. Yet over time, you can build out a more organic approach that lets you communicate with people that like what you have to say.
Organic approach means having things to say. That means having content in a variety of ways, providing your prospects the potential to learn more about you, how you are an expert at what you do, and discovering you’re the company to trust when they’re ready to move forward.
That doesn’t happen quickly. It can take hours, days, even weeks, depending on what you have to offer.
But then again, marketing isn’t something you do once and forget. If you’re in business for the long haul, you realize marketing is all about keeping your name front and center, to be there when a prospect or customer has what you desire.
Social media marketing just gives you a different approach to “be there” when they’re ready.