How to build an effective social media campaign

Social Media and Business: What is Virtual Shelf Space? Why do I need it and how do I get it?

By Vicky Willenberg, Social Media Manager, TurningPoint Executive Search

The most common reaction I receive when people learn I work in social media is, “That sounds interesting, but how is hanging out on Facebook a job?” Because of Facebook’s domination of the social media world, this would be a logical assumption. Currently monthly active users total nearly 850 million (Source: jeffbullas.com). Occasionally I run into someone who is at least familiar with Twitter and LinkedIn. However, there remains the stigma that online engagement is still largely “social.” This couldn’t be further from the truth.

In a market that is inundated with choices, customers are looking to answer a simple question: Why should I spend my hard-earned dollars on your product or service? In the past this question was answered much more easily. Not only were there fewer choices available but advertising was simpler: paper, media and word of mouth. If you wanted to buy a new car, for instance, you shopped around at a few car dealerships looking for the best deal and asked your neighbor where he bought his last car. In today’s market, however, customers are looking for more. Although price is still a major factor when making purchasing decisions, consumers are also looking to invest their dollars in a company they respect and believe in as well.

This is where social media comes into play. Simply put, social media is online marketing. In order to sell your products or services you have to be “on the shelves” for your customers to find you. In today’s business world “the shelves” are largely virtual. Using social media allows a business to get its name and products out there in the marketplace. You could say it’s the 21st century version of real estate agents leaving pens and pads of paper on your doorstep.

The use of social media marketing translates to revenue for companies. Leveraging social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn allows a company to engage with its potential clients. This is beneficial for both parties. Clients are able to see behind the numbers and the hype. Engaging with companies through social media allows them to get a glimpse of the philosophy and “face” of a company. Companies benefit from having a social media presence as well because it allows them to highlight what differentiates them from their competitors.

How do companies create an online presence and reach the millions of potential clients who are out there waiting to invest their dollars? Should all companies run out and create Facebook Pages- absolutely not. A strong social media strategy is built upon research and a consistent, reliable presence. Here are my top 4 tips for getting the most out of a social media campaign:

  1. A company must determine the best platforms to use to promote its goods and services. Although the numbers show that Facebook is the social media juggernaut, it is not right for everyone. The same can be said about both Twitter and LinkedIn. In order to find the best use of your social media time and money, find the companies similar to yours that are already doing it well. Why reinvent the wheel?
  2. Once your platform(s) of choice have been selected, commit to creating a consistent online presence. Like any other marketing strategy, it takes time to build and even more time to keep it growing.
  3. Become a reliable source for your connections or followers. Produce content that keeps them engaged and connected to your company. Work to establish a relationship that keeps them coming back.
  4. Ensure you are providing valuable content by simply asking your audience questions: Why do they prefer what you have to offer? What positive experiences have they had? What negative experiences have they had and how can you address them in the future? What do they value?

These are just a few suggestions and each company will have to design a social media plan for customer engagement that meets both party’s needs.

Although the face of marketing has changed, some things remain the same. Clients and customers want a quality product they believe in, that meets their needs and is a good value. In order to reach those potential clients it’s important to realize that social media is no longer just “social.” It is quickly becoming the best way to reach potential revenue.

About the Author:

Vicky Willenberg is the Social Media & Communications Manager at TurningPoint Executive Search. She supports the senior team with its social media initiatives, research, database management and administration.  She is also a professional blogger, writing about her personal life experiences. To learn more about TurningPoint visit- http://www.turningpointsearch.net/

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