Tag Archives: social marketing

4 Hard Lessons About Social Media

6 May

So, you finally made the leap to web 2.0 and created company Facebook and Twitter pages.  After a few weeks of excitement and hard work creating updates, your page has seen almost no action.  What’s going on?
You’re learning some hard lessons:

Hard Lesson #1
Social Media Isn’t The Holy Grail of Marketing.

Many high-priced consultants and self-proclaimed “gurus” love to talk about social media as the be-all and end-all of corporate promotional efforts.  Don’t be fooled.

Social media can be a fantastic marketing tool, as long as:

  1. You’ve researched your target market
  2. They use social media

Think about it: running ads that target multimillionaires inside city buses would be a terrible investment, because most multimillionaires don’t ride the bus. Social media is no exception to this concept.

Before you invest an enormous amount of time creating and maintaining a company Twitter page, make sure that your target audience actually uses Twitter.

Hard Lesson #2
Social Media is Nothing Like Traditional Advertising.

With traditional advertising (e.g. print and TV ads), broadcasting messages of overt self-promotion is expected and normal. People expect that when the commercials come on, you’ll be talking about yourself and how great you are.

This approach absolutely does not work with social media! People respond very differently to overt self-promotion on TV than they do on say, Facebook, because they use TV and Facebook for different purposes:

People tune in to TV shows to get talked at.  They want to sit down, turn their brain off, and let the show entertain them.

People tune in to Facebook to talk with other people. They want to show off their vacation photos, talk to an old friend, and share what’s on their mind.

When they check out your page, they want to interact with the people behind the brand.  They want to know that you are as interested in them as they are in you, and that you’re a real, approachable human being.

Hard Lesson #3
Social Media Takes Time. A Lot Of It.

Many social media newcomers quickly become frustrated with their humble beginnings and give up before ever seeing any substantial results.

When planning your company’s social media strategy, your timeline should be measured in months and years, not days and weeks.  Social media doesn’t spring up overnight!

Social media done right tends to snowball, but keep in mind that snowballs start out tiny.

Hard Lesson #4
You’re Going To Fail.

Starting social media is like freshman year of high school: Learning “the rules” on how to talk, act, and portray yourself is difficult, and you’re going to make mistakes and feel awkward.

The two most important things you can do are:

  1. Experiment
  2. Keep your chin up

If you try one approach and it falls on its face, learn from it and move on.  Don’t sweat the fact that your joke or article was met with silence, because now you know that much more about what your audience doesn’t respond to.

Who Is My Target Audience?

22 Apr

We’ve all heard the saying, “You have to spend money to make money.” The problem is that spending money doesn’t always equate to making money.  Sometimes despite valiant efforts, promotions fall short and fail to garner the response you expected.

So how can you avoid wasting money on ineffective marketing?  Know your target audience!  If you don’t know who you’re trying to reach, your chances of finding, interesting, and motivating specific responses from anyone are slim.

So how do you find your target audience?

Look at Your Current Customer Base

The easiest and most straightforward method of learning about your target market is to learn about your current customers.  Invest some time in recording and analyzing information about them.

  • Do they all live in the same or similar geographic areas?
  • How old are they?
  • Are the majority of your customers male or female?
  • Which customers buy the most?

Do your best to approach this research objectively. Avoid guessing whenever possible, even if you think you already know the answer to a question. You might be surprised by what you find.

Use Government Data

You probably remember the national census that took place last year, but did you know that all the results are publicly available?  As with anything that comes out of the government, the website isn’t the easiest to navigate – but the data available is so good it’s more than worth it.

Fortunately, there are tools available to help you sort through the incredible amount of data available.   Click here to see a list of tools, tutorials, and information on how to get the data you need.

Read Blogs

“The blogosphere” is a wonderful thing.  Since you’re reading this, you’ve probably already discovered that blogs are excellent for learning new skills, gathering information, and problem solving.  If it exists, someone has written a blog about it.

Follow blogs about your industry, and pay close attention to the comments– sometimes comments are more insightful than the blog posts they are responding to.

Read Trade Publications

If you don’t subscribe to any trade publications, you’re missing out.  These articles may hold useful information designed to benefit businesses just like yours.  The comments may offer a chance for you to connect with other people in your industry and form mutually beneficial relationships.

If you’re not sure what publications are relevant to you, or simply want to get some secondary research, Google Scholar is a great place to start looking.  It’s like a regular Google search, but only returns scholarly, peer-reviewed articles.

Use Social Media

One of the biggest benefits of social media is the ability to quickly and cheaply conduct informal market research.  Simply ask your followers whatever questions you want to know the answers to.  As long as you’ve spent the time developing rapport with them, chances are they’ll be happy to help you out.

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