Online Social Media Networks are the fastest growing channels. According to a latest report, Internet is about to hit 2 billion users by the end of this year which means, in the future, businesses are going to compete more and more in cyberspace with companies who are using internet marketing strategies, latest tools and technologies much more effectively to grow their business online. In one of our posts we shared how top 100 fortune companies are using social media tools and effectively managing their internet marketing strategies.
In the online world, social media has become an effective way for firms to engage with people not just for getting sales, but also for getting new ideas and solving problems which ultimately help them grow and develop their own businesses. Communicating online is a way of meeting commercial goals through building trustworthy relationships. It is about softly applying your marketing skills to social networks and making business happen.
Listed below are certain ways of effectively using social media to grow your customer base:
- Identify the social media platforms your target customers are on and set up a profile describing you, giving both professional and personal information containing a link to your website. Remember, your profile should not be purely business oriented or it would mean that you only want to sell and are not interested in people.
- Locate your target customers’ profiles; study them to understand them better. Find out what social media platforms they use and how they use them, what information they look for and how they reach their customers. And based on this, customize your approach.
- Writing a good social media strategy, finding right platforms, locating customers and creating presence will not spread your word. Regularly engage with people. Send them messages if you think you have something in common with them. Ask them what they are looking for, what problem they want to be solved. Be ready to have conversations with people and share knowledge rather than just promoting a product.
- Be active on your profile. Update it regularly and check and respond to messages. Offer advice and connections and contribute frequently to maintain visibility. Social networking works best when you help other members in the network and not just push your agenda.
- Demonstrate your expertise and knowledge by engaging in relevant discussions on groups and forums on your chosen platforms and through blogs. Let the customer get a feel for your competence and skill.
- Make it easy for people to find you. When posting in forums or commenting on blogs, include a link to your website, your blog, your social media profile(s), your Facebook page, your twitter account and so on. It is crucial to be found and you just won’t be unless you have links all over the place.
- At appropriate time, arrange offline presentation or meeting or telephone call to convert online connections to potential sales.
- Wherever possible, use relevant keywords about your industry, product or service or expertise, frequently. These will be picked up by search engines and make your potential customers find you.
- Set up your targets and periodically measure and review your progress against them. Many social media platforms have tools that let you know how you are doing. If you are not meeting your objectives, revise your strategy and change your approach.
- Last, but not the least, don’t expect instantaneous results. It takes time to build relationships and reputation. Social media marketing benefits from a slow burning and indirect approach. Remember, it’s a social world where commercial success comes as a by-product of good networking.