Social Media Marketing (SMO/SEM)

Social Media Marketing, Social Media Optimization (SMO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM).

Social media marketing centers around efforts to create content that attracts attention and encourages readers to share it across their social networks; resulting in earned media promotions rather than paid.

Social media has also become a leading medium for consumers to voice opinions about their every interaction they have with a company and its products or services; as such 
it has also become a very powerful Customer Service tool.

Social media enables both consumers and brands to have a shared voice and interact on a public stage, creating a balance that addresses the wants and needs of both. Expectations of speedy replies and immediate attention have certainly raised the bar. 

Example of Social Customer-Service

If someone had a bad experience, chances are they are going to talk about it, tag you and make sure their network knows about it. If they have a good experience, you hope the same will happen. The onus is on you to keep an eye out and respond where appropriate.

It’s in the best interest of your company to have a social-media expert handle customer-service protocol and complaint resolution. Consistency and follow-through is key here. Arguing a complaint or posting defensive responses and threats (legal or otherwise) can all backfire. These types of replies can even make headline news (in a very bad way)! 

Your social customer-service protocol should run parallel to your other customer-services channels. This includes having similar strategies in place to offer rebates, free returns or free exchanges that your social customer-service rep may offer at a moment’s notice. 

The Importance of Unique Branded Content

Members of your target market are on the lookout for brands that actively engage their customers and potential customers. This means that relevant content can not only get you in front of those individuals most likely to do business with you, it can serve a purpose that’s deeper than a sales call. It can provide education while allowing customers to learn more about what your brand is all about.

Below are a few statistics to back up the importance of content, and why you should be focusing on how that content looks.
  • 61% of consumers have more confidence in brands that produce regular content. (Making customers much more likely to do business with these brands)
  • Interesting content is one of the top 3 reasons people cite for following specific brands over others.
  • Companies with blogs generate 67% more inbound leads than those without.
Customers aren't looking to connect with brands that produce the same content over and over again. They’re looking for brands that provide educational and useful information that’s engaging and fresh. —Thinking outside the box has never been more important.

Tips for Social-Media Success (A Reality Check)

  • 1st and foremost. Much of your Social Media Marketing efforts and expenses may be getting you nowhere. Really!

    Do you really need to spend time and money on all of the social networks? —No! Stop wasting time on what isn't working; instead, increase your investment into what is producing (aka, converting). However, a social channel that drives a small but highly converting audience is worth noticing; these lessons should be blatantly apparent. But when in doubt audit.                 

    A social media audit (trend analysis) will help you take stock of your efforts and understand channel effectiveness (or lack thereof). You’ll need to dig into your site analytics and look at more than just referring traffic. This being said...

  • Be crystal clear on who your target audience is. Determining your target demographic is imperative for success (without customers there are no sales).

  • Which social-media sites are they on? Determine where these people like to socialize (gold is where you find it). If you’re tightly staffed and have limited funds to contract help, it can be difficult to actively engage in a variety of sites. In that case, pick two or three sites -- preferably the ones that are used most often with your audience -- to do well. You can always add more sites later.

  • Plan your messaging strategy. Connect your customer's interests and challenges to your brand, your content and how your products or services can help them.

  • Mix it up. Feature a mixture of different kinds of content -- from news to practical tips and humorous stories. Emphasize by using visuals such as images, photos, videos, infographics and slide decks.

  • Listen first. Before engaging, make sure you understand the feel and tone of the social media platforms you’re interested in using. Think about the kinds of customer-service issues or pitfalls that might arise. Remember, think before you post, even if you delete a post, once it’s public, it’s hard to take it back and messages can go viral quickly.

  • Engage and interact. Social media isn’t a megaphone, it’s a conversation. It’s a great opportunity to connect with customers and influencers from bloggers to media people. Pose thoughtful questions and respond to people’s queries with helpful information that isn't just pitching your business.

  • Prioritize. Focus on what is most important and test what works best for your specific audience and message. Monitor website traffic to see which social media sites are driving traffic. What patterns drive website activity (stats), e-commerce and actual ($) sales? 

  • Keep your eye on the big picture. Don’t get too caught up in any one social-media site or tactic unless it’s giving you fantastic results. Keep an eye on changing trends and how you might take advantage of it, such as if a new social-media site is growing in popularity with your customer segment. And lastly, tie in your social media strategy with your other marketing efforts, "Integrated Marketing."

Brand advocacy in all forms, is one of the best marketing a business could ask for!

"Because so much of the customer experience now lives on the web, social media enables brands to take part in a customer's online experience outside of the typical channels."
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