No matter the size your business, a solopreneur, a small startup looking to expand their brand, or well established businesses with many customers, social media and social outreach has many benefits:
- Wide audience to reach
- Engaged users who can be word-of-mouth brand advocates
- Public nature of social media
- It’s free!
As we’re all well aware, social media can be time consuming and that time and resources are incredibly valuable.
If your social media strategy to date has been nothing more than a broadcast channel, it’s likely you’re not seeing the ROI to justify the effort or the investment of time and money.
On the other hand, if you use social media as an outreach opportunity, things can get really interesting.
Social media can be used to build a personal relationship with your potential customers. If you’ve established that connection with them through social media, when they’re ready to buy, they know exactly where to go.
There are many different ways to use social media for your business, but if you keep these four tips in mind, even the smallest steps can make a meaningful difference.
#1. Be Proactive
More often than not on social media, social media community managers spend the majority of their time in reactive social marketing.
Action items like:
- Customer service
- Answering questions
- Handling negative feedback
We know that this type of engagement with customers is important, to maintain and deepen those relationships, but this does not build a new group of potential customers.
Proactive social media marketing outreach very similar to inbound marketing. Research and find out where your target audience is engaging in conversation. Better still, you can find a new cross-section of people who may be interested in what your company offers that you might not have considered before. Then jump right into the conversations that are happening.
Target specific users, and friend, follow, and connect to them first. Participate in their conversations to be on their radar, comment on their posts and reach out with personalized messages to understand their interest in your business or products. Be relational and conversational. Save the sales pitches for your website.
#2. Be Relevant
In the past, outreach strategies consisted of cold calling on the phone and door-to-door sales. However, with these options, you had no idea if there was any interest in what you were offering.
You did not know what your potential customer is already involved and interested in. You had no idea what they’d been talking about in real-time or able to get a comprehensive profile about what they do.
All of these past outreach opportunities were resource intensive, with no way of controlling the message. You walked into each situation with only your sales pitch and canned responses to their objections. One strategy that is similar to social media and actually can incorporate social media into its marketing is when a business exhibits at a trade show. Companies like Nimlok, providing unique trade show displays also shares the value and power of social media marketing with trade show marketing.
Social media provides real-time updates on what your ideals prospects, your current customers, your competitors, and influencers in your niche are talking about.
Don’t be afraid to jump on a hashtag bandwagon on Twitter. Get personal by responding directly to the posts of others, with your own unique insights. Provide value to the conversation. Remember, no sales pitches.
If you want to find popular hashtags, you can look on Twitter’s site itself under “Trends” on the left side. You can then use services like Tagboard. Create a specific hashtag for it to track and then Tagboard displays popular posts from Twitter, Facebook and Instagram containing that hashtag.
Remember, hashtag phrases change over time, so make sure you’re paying attention to the trends surrounding your niche to connect with the right people giving value to the community.
#3. Be Personal
One-on-one conversations set your company apart!
Most social media efforts are created around an editorial calendar, and the publishing content. This is a baseline component of social media marketing. Just because you are regularly posting content doesn’t mean your target customers are actually reading it.
Social media broadcasting is like having a billboard up on the side of the freeway and waiting for people to drive by. Many people may see it, but there is only a fraction of them that’ll take action on what they see. The conversion rate is low and the ROI ends up being even lower.
Being able to target a specific customer based on their interest and “persona” in social media is an incredible opportunity. It allows you to have near real-time, one-to-one conversations as a person, not just a brand. Being able to take the time to find the people who are talking about their needs, their situation, desires, etc., just you the distinct advantage of connecting with them, helping them and ultimately having the opportunity to convert them! Social media can create a whole new stream of potential customers if you use it to connect with people.
#4. Be Invested
You will find that creating a long-term relationship with your customers takes time.
From connecting with people who may prospects, to people who are former customers and current ones, establishing trust and providing value via social media channels is a process. It’s a long term investment.
Your social media outreach doesn’t stop when they have made a purchase either. You will want to retweet them, comment on their posts, as the opportunities arise. Encourage them to engage with you by asking questions and responding quickly.
Developing genuine relationships with your customers will form a bond, turning them not just into buyers, but into brand advocates over time.
That’s the secret of social media outreach: scalable word-of-mouth marketing.
The public nature of social media gives voice to those positive post from your customers that can exponentially spread brand awareness to their sphere of influence and to the world in general. The old school word-of-mouth marketing (phone calls to family and friends) pales in comparison to the picture posted on Facebook, the blog post written about their experience, tweet sharing their excitement or displeasure can be seen immediately.
Wrapping up, these tips have one thing in common:
- Time invested on social media outreach is required to see real returns from your social media marketing.
- Engaging in real-time conversations, doing the research to find and then connecting with prospects, and of course, following up with new and deepening connections with existing customers. It all takes time.
- Social media outreach does not have to be time consuming, because a few small actions every day can have a major impact over the long term.
Now go forth and connect!
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