Social media can be a gamer changer for any marketer, yet it is often misunderstood by the very marketers looking to harness its advantages. Social media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest), if used correctly can bring remarkable success for your online or brick and motor business. First things first lets examine what SMM or social media marketing is at its core, it is a form of internet marketing communication and brand awareness. Social media marketing almost always entails the sharing of content either articles, images or videos that hopefully the customer or potential customer will find engaging and share with his or her friends or network. The best SSM is accomplished when a piece of your content goes viral, meaning it is viewed, shared and liked by many people spreading via word of mouth.

Now lets discuss what social media is not. First it is often not free, you have to invest in it. That investment could be money or more often than not time, which leads us to the second thing that social media marketing is not, social media marketing is not instant. It can take weeks, months or even years for social media to help build up your brand or your offer but certainly it will not happen over night. Any agency promising you instant results is more likely than not lying. SMM is not complicated, anyone can figure it out, it is not rocket science. Lastly social media can not make up for having a poor website, poor SEO or a bad product or service. For social media marketing to work your website needs to be top notch both looks wise and ease of navigation as your goal will be to get traffic from social media to your website where your products or services are fully detailed. That being said there are some keys to success with social media which we will discuss in greater detail.

Key to Social Media Success #1: Engage and respond to your customers and leads!

Between 60% to 70% of all companies online do not respond to their customers on social media. When you fail to respond to customers and leads comments or questions your brand is now just another faceless brand in a sea of competition. When you respond to your own leads and customers and even in some cases your competitions leads you create a relationship. You can even take a negative and turn it into a positive by responding, such as to a complaint. Now most of us do not like complaints and many of us would get the urge to delete a complaint off of our social media pages, but answering a complaint publicly in a helpful manner can do wonders for your business, it shows you stand by your product or service and put customer satisfaction in the forefront.

Key to Social Media Success #2: Listen!

You can learn a lot about your customer base and even your competition by listening. I once ran a sound streaming service where customers could lunch their own online radio streaming. I thought I had all my customers and potential customers needs served, until I visited a rivals Facebook page and discovered that quite a few people were using the service to stream in online video games and needed a higher stream rate and varying sized streaming packages, which my competitor was ignoring. I went back to the drawing board and relaunched my service and aimed it at the video game crowd and increased my overall ROI, all by listening and then responding to my competitions customers, who became my own customers. Listening to your client base can and does reap dividends!

Key To Social Media Success #3 Leads are there for those who merely look
You can easily use social media to find new customers just using social media engines search tools. For example on twitter if you are a DJ simply do a search for “need a dj”. Your customers are out there asking for your services! You merely need to look then follow through on those leads, the success of landing a new customer depends on your sales skills or pitch and the quality of your service.

Key To Social Media Success #4 Share do not hard sell!
Social media works best when you share. Use it to tell your stories, about you, your customers, even how your product or service helped someone. Make it personal make it human, not bland or faceless or filled with “we are the best blah blah blah in the industry”. You can make use of webinars to reach customers live, you can do fun videos, you can write fun or light hearted stories. Inspire your readers to share your story. The key to a good story or piece of content is to ask yourself “Would I share this content with a friend?” If the answer is yes then you are on the right track.

Key To Social Media Success #5 Highly targeted PPC
Social media networks like Facebook know all the little details about their users thanks to massive data mining. With Facebook it is not about having your add seen by 10,000 people a week or a day but being seen by the right 100 or 1000 a day or week, the people who best fit your demographics. With Facebook you can target your ads using details such as age, location, sex, job title, education level and even interests! This means that you can reach a much higher ROI than traditional PPC advertising. Whats even better is like minded people often associate with like minded people so the chance of your product or service being spread word of mouth to their network of friends and family is also much higher.

Key To Social Media Success #6 Give stuff away

With social media you can gain customers for life by giving away value. If you give a small discount of say 10% to 20% you are marketing, if you give 50% to 60% off you are giving away true value. If you give your client base something for free, even just good content and information you can gain customers for life. You can give away samples, content, webinars, articles, and ebooks. If you provide good information on a regular basis you will have return visitors that while they may not buy your goods or services today, they may very well convert to paying customers later on. A good thing about return visitors is that your business stays on their mind, even if only in the back of it, waiting for a time when they do need what you offer!

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