The Single Most Effective Social Marketing Strategy

For the past 5 years social media has been a constant topic of conversation in the media and a buzzword in business. Although it’s talked about a lot, there are very few people who are really talking about social media in a way that small businesses fully understand how they can generate results for their business.

Very few businesses in general – small or big – truly understand how social media should be used to drive results. Many companies look at social media solely as a marketing channel and they’ve been attempting to shove traditional marketing tactics down a new form of media they have not yet fully understood.

Many of the social media gurus out there are experts on a specific social platform; meaning, they only know Facebook or they only know Twitter, etc. They have great information and they do a great job of sharing best practices within the area of their expertise, but their knowledge is deep, not wide. It’s focused on small tactics, not the overall strategy.

The challenge with this scenario is that social media is almost always talked about in vacuum. Most of the time, social media gurus don’t have an adequate understanding of how small businesses should be integrating social media into their business’s overall marketing strategy. They might be able to help you make a few extra sales, short-term, but most tactics that worked 6 months ago don’t even work today; just a couple months ago Facebook completely eliminated “Like-Gating” which was one of the most effective tactics to growing your Facebook Fans extremely fast.

The point is: Tactics will always change. Having a sound strategy is essential. I recently heard Frank Kern, arguably the world’s greatest online marketer, say, “Tactics generate sales. Strategy builds businesses”, and I couldn’t agree with that statement more.

Simply having a social media presence will not compensate for a lack of overall strategy.

You first must have a marketing strategy and then determine how social media can play a role.  I believe integrating social media into your current marketing efforts is one of the most effective and fastest ways to drive results for your business with social platforms because social media is an exposure tool.  If you have a great strategy, social media will help you reach more people.

 

An Integrated Social Media Marketing Approach

Social media is one of the few, if not the only communication channel that can be integrated with every aspect of your business’s marketing efforts.

All of your marketing tactics should be working together strategically to achieve the objectives you’ve set for your business. A marketing strategy that involves tactics in multiple channels is called an integrated marketing strategy.

This is a topic that an entire book could be written about, so, the purpose of this post is simply to spark some thoughts in your mind about how you can use social media in conjunction with your other marketing efforts. If you have questions, please post a comment below or reach out on Twitter at @MichaelRHunter.

Website & Blog

Make sure your social media profiles are easily accessible from your website and blog. Your blog posts should have a social sharing function that allows people to easily share your content. In your author bio, include a link to your Twitter profile and invite people to interact with you.

The best way to get people to share your content is to produce great content. Social media has the ability to increase the exposure your content gets, but it your content must be quality in order to drive results.

Email Marketing

If you have an email database of your current customers, give them a reason to follow you on social media. Social media can also be a great way to grow your email list if you’re strategic about it. You don’t want to hurt your social engagement or sentiment to grow your email list though.

Be sure to include links to your social pages in your email signature too!

Speaking & Presentations

If you are in front of live or virtual audiences on a regular basis and are not leveraging social media, you are missing out on a huge opportunity. Find creative ways to engage with your audience on social media. Use a tool like Hootsuite to schedule quotes from your presentation to post while your speaking.

At the very least, create a hashtag and include your hashtag at the bottom of all your slides so people can tweet your content to their followers during your presentation.

Online Video

Massive advancements have been made in the past 6 years as it relates to online video. As technology continues to advance, video is becoming easier and easier to create and share.

At the end of all your videos you should have calls to action to subscribe to your YouTube channel, tweet, share and/or comment about the video.

Direct Mail

Think about creative ways you can use your next direct mail campaign to drive social traffic, engagement, and interactions. Give people an extra incentive for taking action. Instead of sending out a 20% coupon, send out a 30% coupon they can only access if they like your Facebook page. You can use a tool like GroSocial to implement this.

Traditional Media

Are you currently using radio, TV, print, PR, or display advertising? If so, think of creative ways you can incorporate social media into your messaging. Next time you’re watching your favorite TV show, or sports team, pay attention to the commercials. It’s starting to become common to see hashtags and social media icons in commercials.

If you or your business is being featured in a news or magazine article, be sure to make an effort to have a call to action included that directs people to one of your social media pages.

Events

Create special promotional codes for your social media followers that they can use to register for your event at a discounted rate. Determine an unique hashtag for your event so people can easily find and follow the conversation happening around your event.

Depending on the size of your event, you can do some pretty awesome things with social media; take questions for the audience, award prizes, or create a social media contests to spark attendee participation.

Social media has the ability to maximize the exposure of your event.

Even though we are just scratching the surface, I hope you can see there are many ways that you can incorporate social media into your other marketing efforts to drive more awareness, engagement, and interactions with customers and prospects.

If you have any questions about this post, suggestions for future posts, or just want to say hello, send me a tweet at @MichaelRHunter.

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