Rachel Minion

Social Media Marketing: 4 basic tips for getting started

“I’m so far behind. Everyone tells me I need to be on social media, but I don’t know where to get started!”

Today’s MarketingSherpa Blog post is for the late adopters, those not yet deeply engaged in social media marketing.

But even if you are engaged in social media marketing, these tips may help you. Marketers all experience the same type of consternation when it comes to social media and receiving questions like these from peers:

  • Are you on social media?
  • Which platforms are you on?
  • How often do you post?
  • What are your engagement numbers?

Let me put your mind at ease. You are not alone. It’s a pressure we all feel within the industry. Companies large and small experience the same pressures.

  • How do we get noticed?
  • How do we create our social brand image?
  • How do we drive sales from a social-oriented platform?

At MarketingSherpa, we have many more resources to help you dive into the complexities of social media marketing and I’ll end this blog post with a few links to help you answer some of the above questions. But first, let’s back it up a bit, and take a 10,000-foot view of the essential elements of any social media marketing endeavor.

 

Essential Element #1. Realistic goals

To start, we need to keep this in perspective.

Does social interaction and engagement directly correlate to conversion? No.

So, if social interaction does not directly create conversions, what are we spending our time, money and resources on? While we cannot directly correlate brand engagement, brand recognition and brand interaction with engagement on a social media platform, we can say the personality and presence of a brand helps to inform consumers and keep them engaged in the conversation.

 

Essential Element #2. Organic conversations

First of all, we do not need to be on every single platform to get to the next level. Start with one platform (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Vimeo, Vine, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.) and start the conversation.

To start a conversation, we need to understand our audience wants to engage in an interaction. Start by asking questions (i.e., I’m having a case of the Mondays, how are you doing today? or TGIF! What are you planning this weekend?) then move on to talking about what you do or want to promote.

Obviously, these questions should be relevant to your brand. The goal is to engage visitors in a conversation and keep it going.

Ask more questions, respond and follow up. You do not want to be that company that puts something out there and doesn’t respond. It’s the same as sending a message to a friend to ask them out to dinner, having them respond to you and never setting a date or time.

 

Essential Element #3. A (growing) community

Grow your following.

I know! I know! How do I grow my brand’s following?

Once you pick where to start and you have a conversation going with your followers, this is an easy transition.

Let’s talk about the demographic you are targeting. Let’s get specific. I know. This is a hard thing to do. This is where you are probably saying “Come on Rachel, my product is perfect for everyone.” I get it.  I’ve had the same trouble myself.

So, let’s pick your top demographic and go from there. Pick your top demographic and find out:

  • Where they visit
  • Who they follow
  • What they read about.

Why is this important? It’s simple. Once you know where they go, start networking.

Social media marketing is all about the connections and creating conversations. For example, if I’m looking to help a company that is coaching boys soccer, where would I go? What would I search for?

I’d start searching locally. I would Google the top Facebook pages for the area by typing “Jacksonville” and “boys soccer” and “facebook.”

This search criteria would pull together the right information for my competition – Facebook pages I should start interacting with.

Essential Element #4. Homework

Want to know more? Now that you’ve gotten a look at the basics, here is more reading to help you answer the questions I asked above, and many more …

 

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  1. July 16th, 2013 at 08:16 | #1

    Rachel — Nice post to help get companies engaged in social media. Two thoughts come to mind that companies should also incorporate into their social media planning:

    1.) Build a schedule and stick to it: Most companies need help keeping up with regular social media activity. As a new tactic, they just haven’t developed the “muscle memory” to regularly post, add content, participate in industry blogs, etc. One of the things we recommend to our clients is to build a schedule, almost like magazines go about creating an editorial calendar. Even if they don’t stay exactly on schedule, it makes a big improvement.

    2.) Use the right content type for each outlet: Rather than cross-link, post, etc. from one social media platform to another (which feels like the impersonal automated approach that it is) companies should consider which content to promote on each platform. For companies just starting on social media, they can keep it simple and use images and longer content on Facebook, interesting links and commentary on Twitter, and company updates on LinkedIn.

    Alan

  2. July 16th, 2013 at 09:03 | #2

    This blog post serves as a great way to start social media marketing, but also reminds those that are utilizing social media outlets what we are trying to achieve and the best ways to achieve it. Thanks, Rachel!

  3. July 16th, 2013 at 10:38 | #3

    The main takeaway for me is “Realistic goals”.
    It’s easy to get disappointed when the amount of followers aren’t what you’d expect.

    Thanks.

  4. July 26th, 2013 at 08:55 | #4

    Great points, particularly about having organic conversations. This is one of the things i have found many businesses struggle with when it comes to social media marketing – the come across as insincere or selling all the time. The result is that they never really make a genuine connection with the market. great article, thanks.

  5. August 1st, 2013 at 22:09 | #5

    Hey rachel! This is a good post.
    I agree to start with a a single platform like facebook, twitter, linkedin etc.
    It is better to focus your interaction for your consumer than having all those platform but are not able to interact with your consumer. In addition to your post i suggest that you research on what platform where your consumers stay before choosing a platform to focus with.

  6. August 14th, 2013 at 01:53 | #6

    Hi Racel, thanks for sharing your innovative idea, they are accurate and to the point which makes it easy to understand and implement especially the 1st one which suggest to initially start with one platform so that we can the idea and requirement we need go for social media marketing

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