ADOTAS – Social media is growing, and along with it, the marketers who appreciate and understand its power are growing in the way we use it. It’s been years since I first logged into Twitter, built my Facebook fan page and started a blog.
In that time, I’ve worked to blend social media with a variety of online marketing tactics. As any marketer knows, numbers are important at the end of the day, but today’s numbers are never more important than tomorrow’s relationships.
1. Twitter Followers: It’s not how many you have, but what you do with them. When I first started using Twitter, it felt like there was a race to see who could get the most followers the fastest.
But Twitter was and is a communication tool, not a race, and its strength comes from empowering relationships, not from racking up followers. Whether its Klout scores or ROI, the quality of your interactions with your followers is the true gauge of Twitter’s value to you.
2. Facebook Fans: It’s not about building a fanbase, it’s about building and maintaining relationships with your fans. As Facebook has grown in its reach and influence, Facebook Fan pages have changed from something that’s “nice to have” to a marketing imperative.
Facebook allows a lot more flexibility than Twitter, allowing photo and video sharing, not to mention contests, quizzes, and other kinds of interactive approaches. People on Facebook are there to be entertained and be social- start there, and move to the marketing when you have their attention.
3. Blog: Give people a reason to come back and they’ll buy things from you. The core of successful affiliate marketing is connecting people with the things that they need in the right place at the right time. To be on someone’s radar long enough to do that connecting, you need to start by building the relationship for its own sake, rather than as a marketing channel.
I’ve found blogging to be the ideal way to do that. My blog is a good marketing channel, yes, but even more so, it’s connected me with hundreds of individuals who are now friends, business contacts, and in some case partners- the value of which goes far beyond any single sale.
4. Customer Relationship Management (CRM): Make sure you spend as much time interacting with your customers as you do on the system. The system is important, yes, but the system isn’t your customer.
In the end, people respond to earnest, useful and responsive interaction, not the slickest looking page. Make sure you’re not too busy to talk to customers because you’re trying to improve your forum for talking to… customers.
5. Fun: If you’re not having fun doing it, nobody else is either. This one is pretty simple. Social media and social networking sites are there for just that- being social. People join these sites to stay in touch, take a break, and enjoy themselves- not to be marketed at.
Yes, putting too much time into a contest or a quiz that doesn’t support a business objective isn’t good business — but infusing fun into the way you support business objectives through social will only make them more effective.
Keeping social media social means keeping it a social channel first and a marketing channel second. Creating marketing opportunities through relationship building will keep your social media social, meaning that when you do take the opportunity to market through social, it’s the right opportunity.