What You Need to know in 2012
Social media marketing (SMM) is all about building loyal, engaged communities who will purchase your products and services, and advocate your brand. Tactics such as social gaming, QR codes, and coupons have their place. But they will ultimately fall flat unless they are built on a foundation of three timeless marketing principles:
1) Prepare a Solid Strategy: Plan very specifically how to best use social media to grow your brand. Create a 12-month plan identifying key audiences, messages you want to emphasize each day/week/month, and tools/apps that will best convey those messages to your audience. Determine how you will integrate SMM with your overall marketing strategy.
Evaluate your expectations. If you expect social media to dramatically increase sales in a short period of time, you may be disappointed. Use social media to gain valuable information about customer preferences and consistently delight them by being responsive to their feedback. It’s more realistic to think of SMM in terms of slow and steady growth of brand loyalty, punctuated by spikes in sales and interest when you present special offerings. Marketing, including social media, is more like farming than hunting, so plant the seeds, tend your garden and you will reap.
2) Attract with Eye-catching Design: It’s worth the investment to have your social media professionally designed to be attractive and immediately identify who you are, the benefits you offer, and why your audience would want to look further. Facebook changes, which become mandatory this month, include a much larger cover photo: 850 x 315 pixels.
This cover photo cannot include calls to action such as “Like Us” or any contact information, so have your cover image designed to take advantage of the extra space. Your profile picture is changing to 180 x 180 pixels; use this space for your logo or a compelling photo. The new “Milestones” feature gives you the opportunity to highlight events in the life of your company—the more visually attractive you make this, the better.
3) Grab Readers With Engaging Content: “Social media is opt-in and holds brands/people accountable and puts a burden on the message to be intelligent, interesting, and say something that matters,” according to Ryan Hart, Chief Creative Officer at Million Dollar Earth. David Bradfield of SapeintNitro says that businesses have “rushed to incorporate social media” with other media “without thought about the role each medium should play.” He advocates a “concentrated focus on creating valuable content that subscribers are eager to share with their networks.”
Utilize these three timeless marketing principles and reap the maximum benefit of social media, regardless of the twists and turns of technology.
Kelly Walker, M.S. is President and Brand Communications Director for Incyte Marketing in Bend.
Kelly@incytemarketing.com. To read more blogs by Kelly go to http://incytemarketing.com/blog.html.