Social media is changing everything. How we communicate, do business and read our news.
The biggest change to business is that it is democratizing marketing. Marketing is no longer monopolized by mass media, expensive printing firms or marketing agencies that controlled access to your customers and prospective audience.
You are now free to create and publish and market your own 30 second advertisement on YouTube and the world can watch.
Your brand now has its own TV channel
You can publish your own articles and educate your customers with posts created on your blog.
You “are” the publisher.
Then you can engage, distribute and market to your customers and prospects on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
You now “own” your marketing distribution platforms and they are called social networks.
You can gain control over your marketing. It is the end of business as usual.
We as humans are slow to change but technology is changing rapidly with the pace accelerating. Radio took 38 years to reach 50 million users while Facebook added 200 million users in less than 12 months.
CEO’s and management are struggling to cope with the pace of the shift. This is also a cultural challenge.
We think that we are competing with a store across the street or in the same suburb but modern logistics, online stores and the social web are creating competitors in Canada, Korea and Hong Kong and across the globe.
Getting noticed in a daily torrent of over 1.5 billion new pieces of content , more than 200 million tweets and 1.5 million new YouTube videos is like being a grain of sand on the beach. It is hard to stand out.
Online business and appearing high in Google search results is often touted as easy as printing your own money if you believe the spammers and scammers. The reality is much different but there are ways to move your brand and business from invisible to visible.
Many businesses still have not noticed the tsunami wave of change as we move to a digital world. From a distance it looks like a ripple on the ocean. That wave will soon reek havoc unless you have planned for its arrival.
So we need to embrace the world of an increasingly digital and social web. The solutions and answers are increasingly found online.
Accept the fact that most people will find you or your business on a Google search, an email from a colleague or a friend telling you on Facebook.
Social networks and social media are the game changers.
Why Use Social Media Marketing?
The real power of social media marketing lies in its amplification of your message as it is shared on an exponential and low friction web but there are some other reasons why you should step into the social media game.
- It accelerates the speed of your brand message and story. Tweets can be sent in a second while publishing a brochure takes weeks.
- It is networking on steroids (It takes you beyond the Dunbar limitation of 150 connections on a global scale and empowers weak ties)
- It makes self publishing easy and intuitive
- It enlists the power of “World of Mouth”
- It facilitates trust
Any one of these on their own are reason to throw your marketing chips on the table.
Core Social Media Marketing Principles
Social media marketing is not a one way conversation, pushing your product or corporate speak.
It is about creating content that engages and builds online tribes that crowd source your marketing and online conversations.
There are also some core principles in building a long lasting social media marketing foundation that will survive a Facebook meltdown.
- Create “Liquid” (Content that flows and is easily shared) and “Linked” (content that is linked to your core brand values) content
- Publish to multiple social networks with your core content residing on your website and blog.
- Create compelling “Multi-Media Content (not everyone wants to read a 400 word article but would view that same content on YouTube or Slideshare)
- Embrace visual communication marketing with images and videos published on Facebook, Google+. Pinterest or Instagram
- Make it easy to share with sharing buttons for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google+
This will provide the bedrock of compelling contagious content that will be shared and will bring your customers and prospects back for more. These digital assets will be indexed by Google and other search engines that will provide enduring and long lasting benefits.
The Two Step Social Media Marketing Program
Social media marketing is not a one trick pony and approaching with the singular tactic of just publishing a Facebook Page is a risky approach and will not produce any substantial benefit.
Firstly create a social media marketing strategy that defines your audience and marketing goals
Secondly implement tactics on multiple social media channels that set out to deliver on achieving results congruent with that strategy.
You only need to look at the approach taken by the Old Spice brand which was one of the best integrated social media marketing campaigns in recent memory to realize what power a multi-channel and multi-media social media marketing strategy can bring to the table.
Some tips and tactics for social media marketing.
- Blog – Create a home base for your content that you own
- Facebook – include visual content when publishing to your timeline and use it to build engagement with your fans
- Twitter – Learn the art of the headline as you only have 140 characters to tweet (including the link)
- YouTube – Create short videos (2 minutes was the norm but Old Spice videos moved the gateposts and 15-25 seconds is much more common
- LinkedIn – Embrace the power of “Groups” on LinkedIn to position you as an expert and thought leader
- Slideshare – Make your PowerPoints a visual marketing medium that people will download share and embed
- Pinterest – Create boards that suit your business product categories and have some visual sharing fun
- Instagram – Make it personal and humanize your brand as social media is about being human
Just one tip to finish. Keep giving away free content till it hurts!
Social media marketing is not a quick fix but needs to be built on the premise that a long term approach will build an online brand asset that keeps on giving long after your first tweet or YouTube video is published.
You will need to persist and continue to publish and build tribes and keep them nourished with content that educates, informs, entertains and inspires.
It is like building a home “one brick at a time”