Social Media Marketing: Lessons Learned
Social media marketing is such a widely used phrase, but have you ever thought about how much any one person can really know about it?
Basically, it's like this: You have a business or service to promote. There are websites such as Facebook and Twitter where lots of people get together to talk with each other. If you find a way to get your message out to those people -- boom! It's magical.
You're using social media to get out the message about your business. If it was only that simple! But really, if you think social media marketing is as easy as just putting your message out there and waiting to reap the results, think again.
Just putting a page out there on the social media sites and waiting for it to produce is akin to going out in a crowd and waving your arms and yelling out your thoughts and hoping someone will listen. Sure, you might get a few people looking your way, but that's all they'll do. They're not going to stick around and listen to a message that makes very little sense, and you won't get them engaged in talking to you.
Author Ron Callari calls this the "attention economy." in a recent article, Callari says that many marketing efforts suffer from a lack of attention because there are so many other people who just want to be heard. Callari says that value online depends more on the amount of attention a business, website or individual can gather, not just in the money it brings in.
So, if there are any lessons to be learned in social media marketing, the most important lesson is to concentrate on ways to bring some of that spread-out attention to yourself. Here's some ways to do that:
1. Remember, repetition is not a bad thing. True, you don't want to send spam out to everybody on your list until they are so sick of you, your Internet provider shuts down your servers. However, it's not enough to send out that one initial message and then never contact anyone again. They'll forget you exist.
2. Keep your content up to date. If your website never changes, and you're attracting people over there from Facebook, do you really think they'll return after they show up a few times and find that you haven't changed anything?
3. Give them something to talk about. When you're working on your social media marketing efforts, try throwing something a little controversial out now and then that will draw them over to learn more. Don't be so outrageous that you turn off your followers, but give them some "watercooler" news that they'll spread to their friends.
4. Provide something they can use. We're not talking about a contest all the time -- all that does is makes the winner happy and the losers feeling like, well, losers. Yes, contests will attract visitors to your website, but once they find out they lost, most of them don't come back. Real, useful content will keep them coming back long after you've run out of Amazon gift cards.
5. To make friends, be a friend. If someone likes your Facebook page enough to click the "like" button, and he allows your content to come up on his Facebook wall as a result, acknowledge him. If he asks you a question, answer it. But if he's being a "frenemy" and putting spam on your page, block him -- that way you'll show the rest of your followers that you are their friends, too.
Most of all, if you're using social media marketing to promote your website or business, remember to keep up with it. Everybody who starts using social media begins it with the best of intentions, and actually keeps up with the efforts for some time. However, when it starts taking too much time, those best of intentions go by the wayside, and before long, your social media just goes into hiding along with all of those other poor neglected sites.
If there are any lessons to be learned about social media marketing, the main one is this -- children don't thrive without love and attention. Your car won't run unless it's properly serviced and maintained. Your pets won't live without nourishment and a safe place to lay down their heads.
Likewise, your social media marketing work won't be a success if you don't pay any attention to it.