Top Ten Social Media Marketing Questions
Answered by Social Media Marketing Expert Jason Robie
Jason Robie is President of Ridgeview Technology which is a search engine marketing and social media marketing company located in New Hampshire. He teaches programs and consults with companies on social media and helps the clients of Ridgeview Technology gain exposure using a combination of social media and search engine optimization.
Jason will answer some of the most critical questions that companies have related to social media marketing.
Q: How does someone discern which social networks are best for their business?
A: That’s a tough question, but a critical one to the success of your SM campaign and strategy. From experiences with my clients, the more interactive a business is, the more interactive their SM networks should be. Coffee shops, restaurants, retail, etc. are great with Twitter and Facebook. They get (and provide) immediate feedback and can offer “Just in time” deals and discounts to their patrons. More “professional” type businesses are successful with Facebook and LinkedIn as they can have a more in-depth conversation and offer more data (content) through these media. At the end of the day, the answer comes down to the same marketing question you have been answering about your business since the day you opened your doors: “Where are my customers?” If you can answer that, it will answer this question as well.
Q: If a business starts using social media can they use this to enhance their search engine optimization efforts?
A: Of Course. I can’t stress the importance of this enough. With all of my clients, their marketing efforts (and budgets) have been focused on their website. What better way to drive traffic to it, than to make use of the hundreds of millions of people on Facebook and the other social networks. 1,000 times, yes.
Q: What are the best ways to engage an audience using social marketing?
A: Gary, as you mention this in your article about content marketing, the best way to engage is to actually ENGAGE! Be present. There is nothing worse than having a customer actually react (positively or negatively) to a post you have made on your social presence, and have the response be crickets chirping (nothing!). I also encourage my clients to remove their profiles if they are not going to be present. Again, having someone find your Facebook page without an update since 2010, is not going to win any points for you.
Q: What are your biggest “don’ts for social media marketing?
A: I mentioned two in answer above and I want to add that you should never be negative (Is this a double-negative?) Always be positive! – how about that?! 🙂 If someone attacks you or your service/product, it is imperative that you take the high road.
Q: What are your social marketing must dos?
A: Always provide something that will cut through the “noise” of all the other people offering up their content. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and imagine what is going to stop them from scrolling through all the other posts on their wall and read yours. Is it a video? Is it a funny picture? Could it be a valuable piece of content. You must entertain, educate, delight (to use your word!) and in general, catch their attention. A lot can be learned from folks like RedBull. Their posts nearly always stop me in my tracks to watch whatever crazy video they have today. Also, there are social media gurus out there that post great articles. If I’m going to be entertained or educated, I’m stopping. If not, I keep scrolling.
Q: How does blogging factor into social media marketing?
A: Blogging is the easiest and most valuable way for business owners or marketing folks to provide new, valuable, entertaining and educating content to their website without (normally) paying their web designer to make changes. Folks are able to add internal links, keyword-rich content and otherwise SEO friendly data to their site. This scores huge points with the search engines, provides valuable content for the other social media outlets and allows the company to get great content about their product or business out to the world in a friendly, non-salesy method. I’m a huge proponent of blogging.
Q: Do you have a favorite social media marketing tool?
A: See my answer above 🙂 I love blogging, mostly because it feeds all of the other tools. One blog article can be used for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and whatever other product you are using. Let’s also not forget about video. Google loves video so much they purchased YouTube. I think it is currently under-utilized in company’s social media strategies, but is on the rise. As people are realizing how easy it is to create and distribute video, they are using it more and more.
Q: Is ROI (return on investment) a proper business metric to use for social media marketing or is there something else that make more sense? In other words, how can I tell if it is working and what is working best?
A: This is a whole class in social media in and of itself. ROI is such a loaded term in the social media world. You have to be able to somehow quantify the value of “soft-cost” items. What is the value of your stationary to your business? How about the receptionist? . . . The cleaning company? These are all critical pieces of the pie that create your company and your overall image. Sending out letters on plain white paper, letting the phone always go to voicemail and having a filthy office would all create a specific image for a potential customer. These items obviously provide huge value to your company, but it is nearly impossible to quantify.
Unless you are doing some sort of direct marketing campaign through your social media channels (which a few of my clients are doing), it is very challenging to put an ROI value on these efforts. The value of having an online presence where your customers “are”, eliciting feedback on your products or services and generally putting yourself on the same level as your patrons are very valuable strategies that will provide some great returns to your company. One of the ways I encourage my clients to quantify their efforts is through traffic.
Back in question #2 we talked about SEO. Since you can track where your web traffic is coming from, this is one great way to see if what you are posting is driving traffic to your site. The “insights” Facebook offers is also a great place to start your research.
Q: I like the business saying that states “If you fail to plan then you plan to fail.”. Do you think it is important to have an overall plan for social media marketing and why?
A: Absolutely. Listen, at the end of the day, if this stuff is not working for you, you need to cut the chord and spend your efforts somewhere else. I’m a huge proponent of Social Media marketing and believe that it works for MOST businesses. My clients and I have worked together to develop a strategy that includes posts, traffic reports, feedback times, etc. All of these pieces together help us stay on track and evaluate what is working. Without a plan, you are essentially wandering around the desert without a compass. Set goals (product feedback, service feedback, suggestions, complaints, web traffic, online sales, etc.) and evaluate those goals after 6 months or a year. You may not scrap the whole project, but you will at least know what is working and where to focus more energy. If the goal is important enough to your business, you will find a way to get the data.
Q: What are your most important words of wisdom for someone considering social media marketing?
A: Try it and put your best foot forward. So many companies get “in” because everyone else seems to be getting in. Then they do a poor job and wonder why this “Facebook thing” didn’t work. It is important to give it some due diligence and see if it will work for you. Social Media is a fantastic way to reach thousands of new customers and save a ton of money doing it. But, you need to have a plan and it needs to be executed with the importance of your other business initiatives. Social Media is simply another way to reach your customers. It is another avenue to get your company’s message across. Using it like a business tool, and not a way to share pictures of your puppy, will garner positive results for you and your company. Give it a shot!
I hope you have gained by reading the answers to these top ten social media marketing questions. I invite you to learn more by visiting the website of Ridgeview Technologies. They also can provide support for your Social Media Martketing programs.
Also, I invite you to learn more about Content Marketing which meshes well with any social media marketing effort. Here is the link to our Introductory Tutorial on Content Marketing.