Achieving a balanced marketing mix in the social media space can be tricky business. Part of the problem is that most social media is completely free to utilize. Just add your time and effort and shazam you have a marketing campaign. As a result, your inclination might be to try and utilize as many channels as you can. I think that’s the biggest mistake many make in establishing a social media marketing mix.
Start at the end
What’s the goal of your social media use? Do you want more leads? Maybe you want more traffic to your website. Or, perhaps your goal is as simple as providing another channel for customer service. You may even have all these goals. The tricky part is to figure out two things. First, where do your customers or potential customers spend time online? Second, of those places which is the most effective for the marketing campaign you want to run?
Finding your customers online
The best method I’ve discovered for finding customers online is to go looking for them. Well, that and lots of good listening but I’ll get to that in a minute. Using tools like Twitter search, you look for frequent usage of keywords that your customers would find interesting. So, when we went looking for customers on Twitter we search for “print,” “printing,” “color” and other words like that. We discovered the #printchat hashtag and then started digging into what that was all about.
It turns out there is a weekly chat on Twitter that covers topics of interest to the printing industry, our core market. We began to participate in that chat each week and over the course of 6 months grew our following by about 300. Not huge numbers, unless you live in a niche market like ColorMetrix does. That puts us at something like 420 followers on Twitter. Contrast that with Facebook where we took the time to set up and manage a fan page. With quite a bit of effort we have that up to 43 likes. Right, not so impressive. At least for now it looks like our customer base doesn’t spend a great deal of time thinking about work when they are on Facebook.
Planning an effective campaign
If your customers spend most of their business related online time in Twitter and email, then what’s the most effective campaign you could run? Twitter limits you to 120 character soundbites (I say 120 and not 140 because you need to leave room for a retweet if you want word to spread). So, how about a campaign that encourages readers to click on a link leading to your website. On the site you provide a page filled with value and a call to action to signup for your email list.
Now, you’ve built an opt-in list of folks interested in you and what you do. This is what we’ve done and now we market to this list via email on a fairly frequent basis. While most of the emails contain a marketing message and a special offer of some kind, we also include links to articles and other valuable information. Over the last six months we’ve refined and improved our email campaigns to the point that they now provide about 25 percent of our sales each month.
Use each social media tool to your best advantage
Our marketing message is to complex to squeeze into 120 characters, so we use email for that. We can, however, use Twitter’s 120 characters to provide useful links that help grow our opt-in email list. Then, we utilize proven email techniques to provide information about our products and services that grows sales. If you’re willing to do most of the work yourself the financial cost is pretty low. Don’t be fooled, however, because you’ll be contributing significant sweat equity to the project to both get it up and running and keep it going strong.