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A recent analysis of the social media presence of the Fortune Global 100 found that 25% of the companies are using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and blogs. 84% are on at least one platform.
Smaller businesses, like up-and-coming eCommerce shops and direct-to-consumer brands are recognizing the value too. According to a recent survey conducted by American Express OPEN and Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization (SEMPO), US small businesses recognize word-of-mouth as the most prevalent way their customers find them, followed by the Internet and search engines. This reliance on word-of-mouth, coupled with its relatively low cost, has made social media the second most popular online marketing tool, right behind corporate websites.
So, what can an effective social media strategy do for your business?
Of course, sporadically tweeting or posting an occasional blog does not a social media strategy make. To be effective, your campaign must be developed like every other facet of your marketing plan.
Define your goals – Increase brand awareness, educate and inform your customers, improve customer service, etc.
Determine which platforms are the best fit for your business and audience – Having a presence on all the major social media platforms is optimal, but the nature of your business and the amount resources you have to invest may dictate which channels you start with.
Interact with your target market – Social media is based on relationships, so it’s important that you get to know your customers. Interact without promoting. Listen to what’s important to them.
Create a Schedule – Randomly interacting is just not effective. You need to set up an actual schedule and then stick to it.
Measure the Results – As with any other marketing campaign, you need to monitor your progress and then tweak your campaign for maximum effectiveness.
Like any innovation, social media platforms have spawned a cottage industry of add-ons, plug-ins and value-added services. In the coming weeks, we’ll take a look at the top tools available. Share your favorites by commenting below!
If you want to start developing a killer lead generation strategy beyond social media marketing, we've got you covered with the free Introduction to Lead Generation guide! Just click below to get started today.
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