Social media is vast and intimidating place to be. With all the smooth talkers, posters, bloggers and writers out there it isn’t easy to know who to trust, or what to believe. Trust me on this, it’s all written by people like me … If you search hard enough you’ll find enthusiastic research or authoritative articles to back up anything you want to. With this plethora of information it’s hard not to become cynical about the hype and think of social media and one huge rumor mill.
Whatever you have read or heard remember this one thing, social media has huge value in the marketing world because social media has a huge value in the life of ordinary people. Knowing how to use it to reach the people you want to influence is the art of social media. Before you can embark on a successful journey into making social media work for you, you need to understand several basic facts.
Firstly, whatever the latest post or article you read says, social media is not a panacea for all marketing ills. There are many that would tell you that it will reach every person on the planet and a few little green men on Mars with one post, but it just isn’t true. Social media alone will not make a great impact on your marketing, at its most basic level, social media is simply another tool to implement your whole digital media strategy.
Another thing to remember as you begin to work your social media, is that it works best as a prospecting tool. It also has a lot of value with PR, but it will not produce AND convert leads without a significant amount of labor and a total digital strategy. Social media puts ‘you’ out there, it can get you noticed, it can inform. If you want to make the most impact – be memorable. Be relevant. Most of all, be interesting. It’s not called ‘social’ media for nothing. It’s an avenue to ‘talk’ to people as you would face to face, rather than through a promotion. It has a ‘human’ element about it that attracts potential customers, but without being memorable, relevant or interesting it won’t attract many, and retain even less.
One of the biggest advantages of social media most often overlooked is the ability it has to let you listen. With a good digital strategy, you can use social media to tap into what people are saying, liking and buying, but more than that, you can also see what they need, don’t have or could use that isn’t available. If you take the time to listen, rather than promote like a bull at a gate, you’ll be much more in tune with your market and be there with what they need, when they need it.
Have you tried social media and it hasn’t worked for you? You need to wait for the snowball. Being persistent in your efforts will cause a little ripple, so don’t expect to post three things on a Friday afternoon and be flooded by orders on Monday. As you consistently post, listen, work the chat and nurture your followers on a daily basis the magic of social media starts to take effect. It can take months, but it will get to stage where you are being quoted, reposted, retweeted and liked like a boss, and you haven’t posted a thing because you’ve been on beach in Ibiza for a week. It’s what you do every day that contains the power of social media, and once it has gained momentum, it won’t stop – even if you want it to.
There is an art to social media and it is one that is worth learning. Social media may not mean the death of hard promotions, trade shows and sales men, but it will be powerful ammunition in your sales armory. Social media is not about selling to people you’re connected to, it’s about being connected to the people you sell to. Learn it. Work it. Love it. It’s the future.