Early last month, a series of studies were conducted among the social media marketing initiatives of small businesses. A study from Pitney Bowes Software looked at small businesses who used social networking to target socially-conscious customers. Here’s some of the findings:
- 57% of marketers say they use Twitter, compared with 31% of consumers who do so.
- 51% of marketers use Google+, compared with 21% of consumers.
- 41% of marketers have established a presence on YouTube, even though 53% of consumers use the video-sharing site.
Going further, insights discovered at the recent BIA/Kelsey ILM West conference in Los Angeles show that an astounding 41.7% of small businesses say they see Facebook most importantly as an acquisition tool.
What we have here is a clear disconnect between the goals brands want to achieve, and what the customer has come to expect. Brands of all sizes make this disconnect grow every day when they don’t get serious about social media marketing, and rely on vague “best practices” articles and college interns to manage their social presence.
Here is our advice to brands to become better connected with users on Facebook:
Become a User First- I can guarantee that there is a large percentage of middle management and first time entrepreneurs who have never used social media (or the internet in general!). Yet, they are the ones responsible for social media campaigns, focusing only on vanity metrics and other minutia.
Companies that are successful with social media (such as Zappos) encourage their employees to have an active social media presence, and remain aware of trends, new tools, and features to remain top of the heap as social evolves.
Diversify your Online Marketing – Search engines are still the primary way for customers and prospects to discover your brand. SEO is still a powerful strategy – The more content you create on your own blog containing targeted keywords and phrases, the better the chances of ranking high in search results. Furthermore, being aware of negative reviews, posts, and news stories is essential. The last thing you want is for a bad customer experience to rank higher than your main website.
Real-world marketing can still be effective without breaking the bank. Consider joining groups hosted on Meetup.com to network with other entrepreneurs and partners who have influence with your target customer base. You will be amazed at how friendly and welcoming groups are to new members, and the benefits they can provide.
Perfect your Message on Facebook – For brands to become successful using Facebook and other social tools, they have to understand it’s role in their ideal customer’s life. Facebook provides for a great solution for customer service, product announcements, specials and deals, and loyalty programs. It will be different for everyone, but by studying every piece of content and interaction, you should be able to determine what your audience expects when it clicks the Like button.