Does social media confound you?
If you know you need to do a better job communicating with your prospects and customers on social media, but you aren’t quite sure how to start, you belong to a large club. But you can figure out how to use social media to improve your company’s lead generation by following a few simple guidelines.
Want to improve your social media marketing and find potential prospects on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+? Download theseworksheets to help you get started with social media prospecting.
Make a Plan
In order to get results from social media, you need a plan. Your plan will differ from mine because every company is different and has different needs. But there are basic questions that every company should ask before they create a social media approach.
First, define your goals based on your needs. The most successful businesses leverage social media to generate more leads. Your business may simply want an increase in exposure, or more “followers” and “likes — to stay top-of-mind. For others, social media creates engagement – interaction – so answering questions from users and prospects is a top priority.
With your goals identified, decide what numbers define success for your plan. How many more visitors to your site do you want each month? Will you answer each new inquiry sent via Facebook, for example, in a certain number of minutes or hours? (The exact number you choose is not so important. What matters is that you have a benchmark against which to measure yourself, and experiment with how you do in meeting it.)
Focus on your audience
Your ability to precisely define your audience can spell the difference between a genuine connection and becoming just another unheard voice in the social space, so a detailed understanding of your audience is a critical component of any successful social media strategy. And again, youraudience will differ depending on your company and your goals. The ability to define your audience with clarity will help you connect. It’s important to go beyond traditional demographics (age, where they live, etc.) when identifying your audience. Consider the roles, responsibilities and daily challenges your audience faces. Do you offer products and services that help them solve their challenges? What sources do they use to gather information? How do they make buying decisions? What terms will they likely search for?
Start Where You Are
If you already have some experience with social media, consider what’s working and what’s not. Which sites are currently providing the most interaction with your targeted audience? How much time, money and resources are you spending and how much will you apply to your social media efforts going forward?
A little originality can go a long way on social media. Think of the blackout that occurred during the 2012 Super Bowl and this tweet by Oreo, which was shared about 15,000 times!
Social Media is Social
Don’t forget the social aspect of social media. You are communicating with people and there is a human element and level of trust that must transcend all your online communications. In addition to being a resource, you must be authentic and approachable. Nobody signs up for social media to buy things. Don’t abuse the platform and level of trust you have been granted. Helping is sincere, focusing on desire for personal gain is transparent.
Developing content is the new norm. Content development is directly connected to the research you’ve put into your audience. Your content development efforts should be focused on solving challenges, issues and problems, not escalating your search engine’s results. Be sure the content you are producing is appropriate based on where the buyer is in the journey along the decision making process (See our post; Educate throughout the Buyers Journey). The problem with content is that creating it can feel all-consuming. In other words, if you are not constantly generating content, you may find yourself constantly thinking about content.
Help with generating content
You can spread the responsibility of content generation, and that helps to avoid burnout. When you can’t think of one more clever post, you stop creating content. But stopping abruptly will quickly dry up the lead pipeline and risk losing the goodwill, expectations and momentum you’ve built with your audience. Losing your reputation for producing content that is timely, relative and meaningful (See our post on creating TRM content) can result in attracting the wrong audience — and that will also wreak havoc with your pipeline.
Sources of Content
Luckily, you are surrounded by sources of content. One place to find it is from customer-facing employees. Customer service, inbound receptionists and salespeople are great sources of questions that can be used to generate content. Simply ask them what questions they are hearing about your products and services. Subject Matter Experts (SME’s) are also a great source of content (See our post on Becoming a Subject Matter Expert).
Another favorite place to begin the content development process is your FAQ page. What? You don’t have a FAQ page? Create one! Brainstorming frequently asked questions puts you in the mindset of the buyer. It forces you to think about and address concerns your prospects likely have about your company and what you are selling. The exercise forces you to better understand prospects’ objections and proactively address them with content, educational material, and answers that you can develop content around.
Social prospecting, that is! Social prospecting is the art of scouring the social web, identifying potential prospects for your business, and engaging them with valuable content to draw them to your site and get those potential prospects to your sales team.
Our social prospecting workbook will teach you the fundamentals of how to listen to social media conversations in order to generate leads for your business. It’s beyond monitoring keywords. It’s about engaging people that may or may not know what your business can do for them. Get your copy now.
Social media doesn’t have to be a mystery. Start getting the marketing results you desire. Approach your social media efforts the same way you would any business opportunity: determine your goals, examine the challenges and come up with a plan that supports your business needs.
Next week: Which social media sites are best for your company?
What are your goals for Social Media? What are your favorite sources of content? How do you avoid content gen burnout?
Share what’s working for you and your company in the comments section below.
To learn more about Crest, go to www.crestconsultingllc.com or contact me anytime.
At Crest, we help companies
- Create content that separates them from their competition
- Become subject matter experts in their field
- Measure the effectiveness of their marketing $$
- Generate a consistent pipeline of high-quality leads for less
- Turn clients into evangelists