Social Media Marketing

Even though I am here in Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky, the excitement over Facebook’s IPO was as prevalent here as it was on Wall Street. All of that excitement, followed by a great article on social media marketing in Target Marketing magazine, prompted me to share a few things around social media marketing.

Just like any marketing channel, social media is more effective when integrated with other channels. So, don’t feel you can direct 100% of your marketing efforts and budget to social media and get the return-on-investment you could receive through executing an integrated multi-channel marketing campaign.

A recent poll conducted by the Associated Press-CNBC, indicates that 40% of Americans are NOT on Facebook, with 33% stating they have no interest, or need, for Facebook. Many have no desire to connect with long-lost classmates or old friends. And, many have no need for tilling the soil on Farmville.

Steve Jones, a University of Illinois at Chicago professor who studies online culture and communications stated that “We’ve added social networking to our lives. We haven’t added any hours to our days. The decision to be online on Facebook is simultaneously a decision not to be doing something else.”

What this poll should indicate to marketers is that if you are relying solely on Facebook for your marketing efforts, you are missing 40% of Americans. This is the reason I believe so strongly in integrating your marketing messages through multiple marketing channels.

Jeannette Kocsis, in her article, “4 Essential Marketing Strategies”, published in the May 2012 edition of Target Marketing Magazine, warns that we need to stop thinking that all social media falls into the same bucket. You can’t post one blurb, link it to all of your social media accounts and call it a day. Each social media network is different from the others and to be successful marketing through them, understanding their differences is important.

My favorite tip from Jeannette’s article as that there is a distinct difference on Facebook between Marketing and Engagement. It’s really important that we identify which one we are focusing on BEFORE we post. Engagement posts are those that ask questions or encourage people to comment and encourage “likes”. Those comments and “likes” are vital, as Facebook operates much like a search engine – the more “likes” and comments you have determines how visible and relevant your page is.

LinkedIn is the top social media channel in the B-2-B arena. While Facebook is where you may want to connect with your B-2-C customers or post those new pictures of your children and grandchildren, LinkedIn takes a more professional tack. Your profiles need to be structured as introductions of you to prospects, customers, employees and co-workers. Your company LinkedIn page should include links to your website, other company social media sites and include keywords so you can be found.

For those who like to communicate in 140 words or less, Twitter is your channel! Probably the most important thing you can remember about Twitter is that you need to monitor it regularly. If you don’t respond to a direct message on Twitter, it will reflect poorly on you. As Ms. Kocsis states, Twitter is a “one-to-one channel” as opposed to Facebook where “it’s all about community”.

No matter which social media sites you choose to use to market to, or engage with, your prospects and clients, it will be time well spent to develop a strategy, monitor your sites, post regularly and link to relevant content. Keep in mind that not everyone will open your direct mail piece, read your email, visit your Facebook page, engage with your mobile marketing or return your phone call. But, it’s more likely that they will engage with at least one of those channels. That’s the best reason to consider using multiple marketing channels when executing your marketing strategy.

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About Debbie Simpson

President of Multi-Craft in Newport, Kentucky.
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