Contrary to popular belief, social media marketing is not easy! The tasks surrounding customer engagement and interaction take some organizations weeks if not months to discover what works successfully for them through the painstaking processes of trial and error. Social marketing is not about sitting on Facebook and Tweeting all day, it is about engagement and becoming a source for information. It is a daily task and suited for someone with excellent time management skills.
In the social marketing world, certain industries are definitely more responsive to particular platforms then others and will respond differently to online campaigns. Industries such as retail do extremely well on web-sites like Pinterest and Instagram where others will be more successful on Facebook and Twitter. The online retail business is currently thriving on Pinterest because users can create their own fashion collections based on pictures and regardless of brand. Users can opt to click through the pictures and purchase the item, or simply browse the company website. How do industries like steel manufactures, for example, get users as enthused about steel as they are about high heels?
I have discovered that the trick is to stay focused. Stay focused on what the company does, what they are best at doing and what they value. You do not have to be "different" or "funny" unless, of course, they are your company's core.
My first lesson was a hard one; I was doing a Facebook campaign to see how many "likes" I could accumulate for my company. It seemed no matter how hard I tried I could not get any interest. I was constantly changing our Facebook timeline and profile pictures to nice skylines (we are not a travel agency), before and after pictures (we do not flip houses) and pretty landscapes (we are not photographers). It was not until I asked myself, "What we do best (the company) and what are we trying to achieve?"
I created a timeline image that represented our company. Customers and users began to respond to our page. Then it hit me, I was treating Facebook as though it was a competition to see how many "likes" I could get ahold of, not as an opportunity to get to know our customers.
By slowly acquiring our online community, we were able to easily interact and respond to customers as well as smooth out the edges of our social media campaign initiatives. I believe that a quality online community trumps one with false quantity because it is the quality customers that will drive traffic to your site. If you run campaigns strictly to get "likes", you will find that after a campaign or contest has ended, the "others" will leave your page or adjust the settings to ignore it.
Here are my top 5 tips for forming a quality online consumer community
1. Stay focused to the company concepts and core competencies
2. Browse the internet and read what is said about your company and its products by visiting forums and join relevant hobby groups.
3. Do not just push products at your customers, become a source of information to them.
4. Make sure your social media plugins like Facebook and Twitter links work and are displayed at easily accessible positions on your site. Make it easy for your users to "Like" your product or service and comment about company products.
5. A little overwhelming? Start slow, and add-on a little at a time. Do research to determine if certain platforms fit your company objectives and direction.