The recent boom of social media and related applications has created a slew of new marketing opportunities for business owners. However, using these new tools and applications effectively requires a solid understanding of the medium in order to bring in more leads to a business.
Although all of the latest social media darlings, including Twitter, LinkedIn, Plaxo and Facebook, have millions of users, tapping into these large crowds requires the most basic of marketing skills – the ability to create relationships. Remember that just as in real life, your potential customers don’t want to be aggressively marketed, such as simply using your Twitter account to blast out promotional message after promotional message.
Instead, consider Twitter or Facebook as a platform to hold a conversation with your followers or fans, where you can offer tidbits about your market or industry that provide people an understanding of what you do and why you are good at it.
Let’s take an example business, say, a carpet cleaning company. An ineffective social media marketing strategy would be to simply send out waves of Twitter messages about how you offer carpet cleaning. Why would people be interested in following your Twitter feed if all you are doing is spamming them with nothing of real value? To put it bluntly, they won’t. They certainly don’t want to be hammered with advertising by some faceless company.
Instead of sending out ads, try sending out tweets that might point out what’s wrong with some carpet cleaning specials advertised nationally or sending out tips about carpet cleaning services that will help people at specific times, such as before the holidays. Consider writing about an unusual carpet cleaning situation and how you solved it creatively, and then send people to your blog by talking about it on your Twitter feed.
You can be funny, serious, helpful, or any other emotion that you would express to customers face-to-face. That is where the real magic of social media comes in – the ability to transfer your personality into your business through your advertising.
Imagine a carpet cleaning owner who uses Twitter to ask if anyone has questions about how to clean certain stains in preparation for guests arriving or a holiday party. By making themselves available to potential customers, they will not only set themselves apart as an expert, but they will be creating a relationship that can continue to be cultivated. When someone who interacts with the owner does need carpet cleaning, why would they go to someone they’ve never talked to, when they have a pal on Twitter or Facebook with whom they already have a relationship?
Consider social media tools as an extension of yourself, not just and advertising platform.