Social media is today what websites were five years ago… whether it’s part of your marketing strategy or not, you simply have to have it. In this tip, we will talk about some of the top ways to listen and connect with prospects and customers through social media. A word of caution: always lean more towards using social marketing as a way to listen to your market and less as a way to broadcast your message. Social media sites like Facebook and MySpace burst onto the scene a few years ago as a way for people to stay connected. MySpace has since faded, but Facebook has remained strong, with other social media sites such as Twitter and LinkedIn topping the popularity charts. Social media sites began as a way for people to pursue, rekindle and keep tabs on friends and personal relationships, but have since evolved into an effective platform for social marketing.
Whether you are marketing yourself, marketing your company, or a product you sell, social media has become the way to connect and stay connected, both personally and professionally. LinkedIn is a site specifically devoted to professional networking, but Facebook and Twitter have followed suit by fusing the personal and professional. Facebook and Twitter users now use their homepages as frequently to advertise professional events and accomplishments as they do to keep in touch with friends. If you use these social marketing tools to listen to what is important and top-of-mind in your marketplace, you will be ahead of the game.
Blogs and blogging supplement email as a way to keep in touch with people, and as a way to promote and market yourself. For example, if you go to a seminar or other business-related trip, be sure to take lots of pictures and post them to a site such as Flickr. You can then ‘stream’ your Flickr pictures to site or link to particular pictures from your blog. Why? Your readers and subscribers find the pictures and content interesting. They want to know what you and your business are up to.
Getting ahead and being successful is all about who you know. Social marketing is easier than ever with the professional and social networking sites available, from creating a blog to using Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn–or even Flickr and YouTube if you use photos and videos in your marketing. By the way, the Internet is becoming a place where visitors watch things, not read them. Be aware of that when designing the next version of your website or landing page. The important thing is to engage with your audience through social marketing as much as possible. At a minimum, you should actively post on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and your blog. Everything else (flickr, youtube, reddit, squidoo, tubmlr, digg, etc.) is a nice-to-have.
Are you utilizing social media marketing to its full potential? Are your current endeavors helping to fill your funnel and stay connected with customers?