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You want to get on the bandwagon of connecting and influencing your prospects and customers via social media. You hear lots of things like “it will eat up lots of your time, you need to pay others to do it, you need great content and you don’t have it…”

Clearly some of these things are true and others are not as big an issue as you might think.

The key is to create a strategy around social media and focus on making it work for you. Know this though, it can take a long while to build suitable numbers of followers, keep the content flowing and to build a brand that people will instinctively trust and work with.

Here are a few pointers you might tryout, to see if you can discover what your followers want and if you can make your social media campaigns valuable enough for them to act on.

  1. It’s not what you might think – Social media is not just a series of adverts you throw into the wind and hope they will ‘stick’ it needs to be of value for the person to read, if it’s personalized and has a great story to it (even in just a few lines) then it will get read. It’s not an activity you can throw to an ‘young person’ on the team because they are always on social media… It’s still marketing, it still needs to have a professionalism about it. It needs more of the right messages delivered at the right times to have an impact.
  2. It’s a numbers game – People like to think that if something gets seen five times, they will get five sales… not true. If you have a member list of 2,000 people on your social media page then chances are when you send out some information, some will be away on holidays, and not see it, some will not be online that day and not see it, some will just glance by because they are busy and not see it. Like anything in marketing it’s more about the repetition of the information to make sure it is seen by enough of the right people at the right time.
  3. Know the power – The power of social media is in it’s ability to be very timely, you have a special offer for today, you can tell people about it today (or yesterday for that matter). Use that to your advantage to create a sense of urgency. “Drop in today, mention this post and go in the draw for a gift voucher for $x..” Then you can tell if you have got their attention and they want to act on it.
  4. Sharing and caring – Have a rock solid cause you want to tell people about and not just your business, share it… then people will get into the frame of mind that you care and they can share it to, after a while your sharing will rub off and others will share your offers to their friends and associates. Don’t expect people to just share your material.
  5. There are lurkers – You might encourage people to write comments about the special offers and things you care about and find that no one is responding, you might find that for the many posts you blast out to your members and friends you seem to get little response. Note there are lurkers, people who read what you have to offer but don’t press the like button, don’t write a response and don’t seem to act on anything… until. Until they need what you have to offer and then BANG they buy. They probably won’t even tell you they read your material every time they see it. Note these lurkers are valuable, hard to measure but valuable.
  6. Timing – There are better times to post to your members than others, do an internet search and find out when, and post then, so more of your members can read it.
  7. Stand out – Be creative, be different, be a how to guide, be a source of inspiration, be the go to guys… Whatever it is that you can offer (that fits ethically to your business) do it. If you manage to get people to read what you have on offer then that’s half the battle. Think of any TV or radio advert that you remember solidly and chances are it was a creative departure from just a bunch of words pulled together in logical order and thrown at the audience.
  8. Plan for success – Randomly throwing a post on your favourite social site every now and then might seem like a fine and dandy idea, but without a plan, don’t expect much in the way of results. Sure there will be exceptions but you get the idea. So plan, perhaps start with things you know you can offer regularly, (tuesday sales specials for example) then make sure you have something planned to make that known to members. Then think further, what can we do to keep the momentum rolling? Use some creative approaches, ask your team, develop strategies, stories, interesting chunks of very useful information… Whatever it is plan it and make it happen.
  9. It takes time – Yes anything new will take time to develop, it will take time to put together a strategy, it will take time to put the actual posts together. It would also take time and money to run adverts in any media. The challenge is to be able to set that time aside and make it happen.
  10. Research – Like anything in marketing you need to do your research, find out what your competition are doing, think about how can you do it better? Find out what your members want to read about, find out what are the trends are in social media and work to make your efforts professional and ‘cutting edge’. What will your budget  need to be for all of this. Also research the content having a compelling and useful content is vital to getting your posts read.

I hope these ideas give you a better insight into using social media, like any marketing you should be aiming to measure as much of it as you can to see if it is hitting the spot, so ask your customers how they heard about your business then record the reuslts, regards Steve Gray

Steve Gray - Steve is a business educator - Trainer - Speaker (Steve Gray.biz). You can get his Leadership E Book from http://theleadershipguy.com.au The info provided in these articles is for educational purposes only and is intended as a starting point for you to build your business from, not as specific advice.
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