Starting Your Social Media Strategy
In the face of modern competitive ecommerce, serious companies and entrepreneurs cannot venture into cyber space successfully without planning an inbound marketing strategy. And in any sound inbound marketing plan, social media is crucial. This is not only because of its current far-reaching influence on the Internet as a whole, but also because its dynamics are perfect for inbound marketing.
So how can you use social media as a starting point in your inbound marketing strategy?
1. Go Where the Crowd Is
Where is the crowd? Where is your market? NM Incite says the Internet crowd is in social networking sites and blogs. In their report “State of the Social Media (Q3 2011),” NM Incite found that active Internet users spend nearly 25% of their time online on social media, with Facebook being the top destination in the US. The best marketing venues are where the market already is - growing socially is the right way to go if you want to establish an effective inbound marketing plan.
2. Attract, Don’t Interrupt
Have you ever come across the term ‘banner blindness?’ According to the Nielsen Company, banner blindness occurs when active Internet users tend to completely ignore banner- or ad-like elements within a website. It is one of the most devastating effects of a short era of online interruption marketing to the display advertising industry in the web.
Marketing is all about “permission” and “attraction,” and through social media, both can be executed flawlessly, and more importantly, cost-effectively.
3. Engage through Various Channels
Modern interactive marketing is genuinely interactive for the consumer, something that European company Reevoo points out in their “New Social Purchase Journey” report. Customers can enter the sales process through various entry points and switch sales paths along the way, making for a truly interactive, social, and multi-channel experience. This can be a double-edge sword, however, as different social networking sites have different channels for marketing.
Depending on your business inbound marketing strategy, you can opt to engage your market through several or just a few of these channels – from video marketing to content to syndication and even online apps and games.
4. Enrich the Sales Process
Modern ecommerce is all about the user experience and enriching the sales process. If your business can make use of social media to improve user experience, you can increase order value, return visits, and even brand loyalty. Furthermore, according to Reevoo’s research social engagement increases conversion rate by an average of 11%.
You can enrich the sales process by increasing customer engagement. Here are some of the most popular social networking platforms and an effective way of enriching the sales process within each of them:
- For Facebook marketing, you can use apps and games.
- If your audience is on Google+, you can use webinars and customer segregation through Hangouts and Circles.
- If you decide to use Pinterest, you can leverage the visuals of Pinterest Boards to show off products.
5. Don’t Close with a Sale – Begin with It
While the sales process does indeed end with the actual sale, it is but a starting point for a brand-consumer relationship that you should value and strengthen. Social media is ideal for inbound marketing strategy because it is also an excellent tool for open discussion, feedback, and customer service. It extends beyond marketing and into branding.
Go where the crowd is; attract them instead of interrupting them; interact with them through various channels; increase user engagement; and finally, begin a brand-consumer relationship with every sale. You can accomplish all these if you start your inbound marketing strategy with social media.