Creative Ways to Use Social Media in Marketing

Do you remember what fun it was to set up your first Twitter account? How thrilled you were to get your first 100...500...1000 followers? And how discouraged you felt when you realized your sales hadn't gone up, even a little?

Unfortunately, this is a common story. Marketers charge head first into various social media platforms with pound signs in their eyes, only to retreat a short time later in the wake of disappointing results.

It doesn't have to be this way. Social media can be a powerful weapon in your marketing arsenal, but like any weapon, you must learn how to wield it properly.

The following suggestions can help you get off on the right foot.

Start with a Specific Goal

Time management guru Stephen Covey advised his followers to "begin with the end in mind." When you first get involved in social media marketing, you have to know exactly what success will look like for you. Do you want to increase sales, raise brand awareness or do reputation management by engaging with visitors to your social media sites? Each goal is measured differently, and each requires a different approach.

Choose Social Media Platforms Selectively

There are many different social networks available: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, forums and blogs to name just a few. Look for the networks where the majority of your clients seem to hang out. Also, take your own comfort into consideration. If Twitter's 140-character-maximum freaks you out, consider selecting a different platform.

Be Different

Look at your competitors on the different social networks and decide what makes you different from them. Then use every opportunity you can to highlight the ways in which you are unique.

Find an Enemy

Would Cinderella have been half as interesting without the ugly stepsisters and the wicked stepmother? Probably not. In your social media communications emphasize subtly yet clearly how you're the good guy who wants to save customers from sloppy service or excessive fees. (Note: you don't have to name your competitors; your readers know who they are.)

Ask Your Followers to Take the Next Step

Invite your readers to get to know you in the real world as well as the cyber world. Suggest that they drop by your business, or that they call you for a free quote.

Develop a Unique Voice

Don't be afraid to be outrageous and funny. After all, if you try to sound like everybody else, you'll get lost in the crowd. Have fun with social media, and it won't be long before you start meeting the goals you've set for yourself.

APRIL 18TH, 2013 @ 6:19:37 UTC


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