Best practices dictate that you “give to get,” or encourage listening and participation in your social media programs, which has been proven to be a hallmark of successful internet marketing and branding programs. In this post you find the necessary guidelines to get your social media marketing campaign on tracks with a focus on indirect sales effects and long-term value.
Audience participation occurs when you give value to customers before expecting anything in return. Social Media Marketing and Optimization (SMO) is not “sales” as you know it. Rather, it enables your company to increase its sales as a result of employing social media indirectly and in a non-causal way.
Getting the people, goals and intentions right
A social media network is not built overnight; it requires both time and resources for success. Forecast your labor hours and determine why, who, what, when, how and where beforehand. When planning your social media campaign, remember that one best practice is to provide the optimized scalability required for fostering an environment of success.
You must also carefully consider your Human Resources needs and be sure not to take on unjustified headcount with a nascent social media monitoring program. Instead, prepare job descriptions for the roles for which you anticipate a need, so that you will be able to hit the ground running when it’s time to search for new personnel.
Keep your intentions transparent and your identity solid, or you risk alienating the very audiences with whom you are trying to connect. The commercial messages appropriate for your environment should be the product of your objectives, strategy, and the homework you’ve done on your community. What the people within that community want and need is the guideline for all actions.
Demonstrate the transparency of your intentions by stating the purpose of your branding program: “This Facebook page dedicated to Brand XYZ helps consumers make better choices about Topic XYZ.” To get the most out of social media marketing, you have to embrace the fact that the participation you get from campaigns is meant to provide the type of value that expedites sales, not necessarily to increases them directly.
Encouraging chaos and creativity
You do not control the message, and you must understand this firmly to create a successful social media campaign. Old habits are hard to shake, and we tend to want to compartmentalize social media participation as we do advertising, where the messaging is controlled as a matter of course. When people find information or media on the social web, they inevitably contort, pulverize, and re-imagine it as it fits their individual interests. As a brand, you must first and foremost protect your identity, copyright and individual property above all, but instead of feeling pressure to control the message, skillful marketers encourage the chaos and creativity.
You need to welcome participation and feedback and share in the creation of your social media campaign. Companies will bring brand evangelists and other opportunities to encourage participation into the mix as audience comfort and confidence levels rise with social web participation.
Look at more than increasing sales and direct marketing
Successful internet marketers seek out and develop relationships and communities within online social communities to engender audience buy-in to and provide invaluable feedback about their brand.
Direct marketing is generally the first weapon drawn from the arsenal of social media efforts, and it is generally viewed as a cause-and-effect relationship, in which Action A results in Outcome B, is not always the case.
Marketing on social media has much more to do with public relations than it does with direct marketing. Instead of a direct causal relationship, social media marketing provides Resource A, which results in Action B, which in turn influences Outcome C.
To fully see the entire social media landscape, you must look at more than increasing sales. Watch as social interactions occur and the buzz about your product builds, and the incredibly creative methods your audience uses to spread your message.