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Social Media Marketing

selling a product or service

If you are selling a product or service, social network marketing is an absolute must.

Over 72% of American adults engage in social networkingTwenty-eight percent engage in social networking every day.  These are not numbers you can afford to ignore!  The bottom line is that if you’re trying to create a successful internet business, you can’t ignore social network marketing.  If you do, you’ll be missing a huge opportunity to engage with potential users and drive more visitors to your website.

If you think that social network sites like Facebook and Twitter are only for young people, you are absolutely wrong!   Pew Research found that forty-three percent of seniors reported using social sites.

Let’s look at the numbers in more detail.

The number of people using social media worldwide is just under 2 billion.

Facebook alone has over a billion users.

Twitter and Google + have over 500 million users.

The average person spends over 3 hours a day on social networking sites.

The above mentioned stats can’t be ignored!  In addition, it looks like social media use will continue to grow in the future.  The following is a list of the biggest social networking sites:

Twitter

Twitter

Target audience is younger people between the ages of 18 and 29 that live in densely-populated urban areas.

A large portion of Twitter’s user base is also African American.

Facebook:

Facebook

Especially popular with females between the ages of 18 and 29.

Over a billion users!  This number is just too large to ignore.

Over 63% of users visit Facebook at least once a day.

Forty percent of Facebook users use the site multiple times per day.

Pinterest:

Pinterest

Over 72% of Pinterest users are women.

The vast majority of users have at least some higher education.

Users are primarily Caucasian and between 18 and 50 years old.

Especially well-suited for content centered on pictures.

Most popular topics are food, cooking, recipes, arts and crafts, clothing and fashion, home design and gifts.

Google +:

Google +

Google + appeals more to males than females.

Majority of users are well educated and have careers in technology such as web design and software engineering.

LinkedIn:

LinkedIn

Good for Business to Business (B2B) marketing.

Caters to professionals that want to advance their careers.

Majority of users have earned either a bachelor’s or grad school degree.

The largest group of LinkedIn users earn over $150,000 a year.  The second largest group earns between $100,000 and $150,000.

Male users outnumber females.

The vast majority of LinkedIn users don’t have children.

Tumbler:

Tumbler

Especially popular with teenagers and young adults.

More people between the ages of 13 and 25 use Tumblr than Facebook

A microblogging site where users can share text, images, audio files and links.

Successful social media marketing requires that you give people content that caters to the user’s wants and needs. 

Remember that most social media users are on these sites to be entertained.

social media users

When creating a social media marketing campaign, it is important to realize that people engaging on these sites have different expectations compared to when they are surfing the rest of the web.  Their main motivation is entertainment.

Networking and connecting to like-minded people is also a big motivation for most people using social sites.

Online MBA  reported the following top seven reasons why people engage in social networks:

  1. Stay in touch with friends (67%)
  2. Stay in touch with family (64%)
  3. Reconnect with old friends (50 %)
  4. Connect with people with similar interests (14%)
  5. Make new friends (9%)
  6. Follow celebrities, athletes or politicians (5%)
  7. Find potential romantic partners (3%)

As you can see from the above list, being introduced to new products or services is not even on their list.   They are there to be social.

The following are a number of important rules for generating popular content for social networks.

  • Create interesting and entertaining content.
  • Don’t use social media to directly advertise products or services.
  • Avoid making postings that contain mostly advertisement material.
  • Don’t give people the hard sell. It’s a big turnoff!
  • Provide content that is related to your business rather than ad copy that sells your business.
  • Use your content to establish yourself as an authority.
  • Aspire to be an expert that is on the cutting edge in your industry or field of interest.
  • Gain followers by providing helpful knowledge and insights.
  • Go out of your way to engage with others.
  • Add pictures to get more user engagement. Facebook posts that contain pictures get 50% more likes than a post that doesn’t contain a picture.  On Twitter, adding an image link to your tweet doubles the engagement rate.  This is also true for Google+.
  • If applicable, post a movie. Always remember that people using social sites want to be to be entertained!
  • Optimize your content for each social network.
  • It is often a good idea to try different titles and pictures when you re-post content. This way you can find out what better resonates with your audience.  Twitter is especially useful for testing how various titles engage with people.
  • Use social media as a way to promote retention and loyalty to your brand.

promote retention

Another important use of social networks is to engage with your current customers.  Research has shown that 84% of fans of company Facebook pages are either existing or past customers.   As a result, it is important to use social media to promote retention and loyalty to your brand.

Take comments on your social pages seriously.  Respond promptly, and be courteous and helpful.  This is doubly important when responding to negative comments.  Always remember that other users are watching and judging how you interact with people engaged on your social page.

Successful social media marketing requires that you post your content often and at optimal times of the day.

Each social network has a unique optimal time where posts receive optimal engagement with their users.

Another factor that you must be keenly aware of when doing social media marketing is the timing of your posting content.

Each network has a unique time when your posts have the best chance of receiving optimal engagement.  For instance with Facebook, the best time to post content is between 1 – 4 PM.  For Twitter it is 1 – 3 PM.  Maximum engagement on Google + is between 9 – 11 AM.  Maximum user engagement on Pinterest is 8 – 11 PM.

You need to post your social media content more than once to get maximum exposure.

There are two main reasons why you need to post your content more than once.  One is because the lifecycle of social media content is short.  For example, the half-life of a tweet is eighteen minutes.  This means that it has reached its peak of engagement after 18 minutes, and it’s all downhill from there.  The half-life of Facebook posts are 90 minutes.  Another reason to do multiple posts of the same content is to reach users at the optimal time in different time zones.

Social marketing experts recommend the following frequency of re-posts on the various social networks.

Social marketing experts

Professional tools are an absolute necessity for running a successful social media marketing campaign.

A social media campaign is a very complex process.  If you are like most companies, your campaign will engage people on a number of social network sites.   Software such as Hootsuite, Sprout Social and Socialmotus automates your postings.  You can schedule messages on various social networks at optimal times.  You can bulk upload messages on various networks.

Professional tools

Posting on a number of social media networks can also be very complicated.  To be effective, you need to post your content multiple times.  You also have to time your postings on each network to get maximum engagement.  When you post content on multiple social networks, this can eat up a good portion of your day.  Fortunately, software such as Hootsuite, Sprout Social and Socialmotus automates this process.

Another important task in running a social media marketing campaign is social engagement.  This requires you to locate, monitor and engage in any social conversations relevant to your market and your brand.  Doing this manually can take countless man-hours.  Software such as Hootsuite, Sprout Social and Socialmotus have tools that monitor conversations on all of the major networks regarding your brand or keywords and phrases relating to your market.  These software programs also help you create and archive responses to the most common questions or customer requests.  This then allows you to quickly respond to your customers’ needs.

To be effective, you need to analyze the effectiveness of your social media marketing campaign.  Analytics provided in software such as Hootsuite, Sprout Social and Socialmotus measure and report what content resonates with your audience and what doesn’t.  Demographic information is also provided.   With this information, you can fine tune your content and when you post it.

Ideally, a company’s social media marketing campaign should be a collaborative process.  This helps share the load of social network engagement.  It should also result in the most appropriate person being engaged in a particular conversation.  For example, questions about how to assemble or use a product should be ideally handled by someone in your product support department.  Billing questions, on the other hand, should be taken care of by someone in the billing department.  Collaborative tools provided in software such as Hootsuite, Sprout Social and Socialmotus facilitate routing conversations to the most appropriate team member.  Team leaders can also be designated for approving outgoing content.  This helps insure that your posts are consistent with your brand.


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