People are becoming more media savvy than ever before. The advent of social media has resulting in people consuming and sharing more information. A by-product of this is that people have becoming adept at ignoring traditional marketing and advertising and better at spotting marketing content trying to masquerade as something else. The best way to overcome the challenges presented by this new social world is to embrace this awareness and willingness to interact and use it to your advantage.
Marketing in a social word means you need to change when, where, and how you speak to consumers. Instead of sending them a static message (like a traditional ad) you need to interact with them. Here’s a few key things to keep in mind:
First, Listen to Your Audience
If you’re about to start marketing you better know who your target audience is. But instead of letting an age, profession, hobby or some other arbitrary demographic dictate your message, listen to your audience. I mean really listen. Do your research and find out what they’re talking about, what problems they are facing (that your product, service or organization can help them with), what they want to know and how they’re saying it all (that last one is important later in this post). Don’t just preach the virtues of whatever you’re marketing and expect people to come flocking. You need to wrap that product in a way that will attract interest. How can you effectively communicate with a group if you don’t know what they’re saying in the first place?
Ditch the Jargon
Stay away from buzzwords and words that just scream “marketing.” As we said before, people are better than ever at identifying this type of content and they’ll quickly move on without giving it a second look. Leave the marketing speak behind and embrace the language and voice your target audience if using (remember, you learned that from listening to your audience). If you’re targeting a highly technical audience, don’t dumb-things down. Use terms they are familiar with, terms their pay attention to and terms that are trending within that industry. Over simplifying marketing targeted at a technical audience will make you look like you don’t know what you’re talking about. On the other side, if your target audience is more causal or much broader don’t be too stiff. Spend the time to figure out the voice of your audience and adopt that format for your social messaging.
Incent Your Followers
Sure, you can gain more followers/likes/readers with contests, giveaways and gimmicks, but they’ll be hollow numbers – people who act once and will likely never come back. Instead of offering empty incentives offer something that will keep users coming back for more – good content and insights. By regularly updating your social presence with interesting, helpful or pertinent information and offerings users will start to view you as a thought leader. Continue listening to your audience and constantly produce marketing materials (content marketing, webinars, special offers, even ads with different messages) that address current events or topics. If a new trend or issue emerges, write about it or link to an article to help your audience understand it. Capitalize on current events or news stories by marketing around them. Constantly being on top of things will keep you fresh in consumers’ minds and help them see your brand as a knowledgeable, helpful entity. Regular, helpful information is the best incentive social media marketers can offer.
Make it Simple and Sharable
All that great social content you’re producing would be even better if people share it and push it further. Producing interesting, helpful material will help, but while doing so keep in mind that you’re in a social world. Keep blog posts or other content relatively short and easy to consume. Don’t be afraid to be funny, it’ll catch people’s eye and make them want to share. (Be careful that your “humor” isn’t unintentionally offensive.) If you’re sharing something with graphics, makes sure it loads quickly and correctly on mobile devices. Keep an eye of what is being shared on Facebook and retweeted to get ideas of how others are succeeding. Lists, infographics and posts with catchy headlines have all found success as social media marketing materials.
Now Get Started!
You don’t have to sign up to every social media site all at once. Find the platform that you’re comfortable on, and start listening. Look and listen to your audience to discover trends, flow, and topics. Once you get your finger on the pulse, dive in and start getting active. Don’t be afraid to use humor or feel the need to always stay on topic…….after all, this is a platform of communication, and your audiences interest are vast!
See you out there!