If you’re like most companies you’re probably in the early stages of your social media marketing efforts.
About 5-6 years ago I was trying different things with social media to figure out what worked and what didn’t. That’s where most businesses were at the time. Even today that’s where most companies are, but today more have found success with social media.
The successful companies have figured out how to get the most out of their social media efforts. This means getting traffic, leads and sales while not wasting time on social media updates and interactions that don’t have business benefit.
If you feel like you’re wasting time with social media it could be that you’re spending time on the wrong kind of updates and interactions.
Here are some guidelines for focusing only on the social media essential tasks that will provide benefit for your business.
Finding Target Customers
The toughest thing for me early on in social media was figuring out if I was connecting with the right people. I would really connect with anybody in the early days because I thought that’s what you were supposed to do with social media.
Today, I try to connect with the ideal target customer on social media. There are a few secondary types of customers and even people that have influence on my target customer, but for the most part I focus on the target customer.
Right from the start this ensures that the updates and interaction we have on social media has a chance to lead to a long-term business relationship. We can have regular discussions about the weather, sports or fun topics, but instead of those discussions leading nowhere they have a chance to turn into something.
It’s just like with a real world business sale or relationship. You often meet with potential customers. You talk about fun things and get to know them, but if you sense they aren’t the right customer you end the discussion pretty early so you don’t waste time.
Essential Task: Connect with your target customer only.
Getting Involved In Discussions
Discussions happen all the time on social media, but they don’t always lead to something productive.
Back and forth can be great especially if you’re connect with your target customer. But something that can happen in social media is for a discussion to break out that doesn’t really have business benefit. In some cases the discussion is a simple argument about something. For some reason people like to argue on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, forums and in the comment sections on blogs.
One of the things I’ve tried to learn over the years is that you don’t need to convince everyone to hold the same beliefs and worldviews as you. That’s not how it works. You only have to connect with the people that do care.
I get comments every once in a while about people that don’t think business blogging is a good investment. That’s fine. At GBW, we certainly try to make a good case for business blogging, but we know that not everyone will be on board.
We try not to get involved in heated discussions about it because that’s a waste of time and energy that could be spent creating a blog post or an update that our target customer will find valuable.
Essential Task: Participate in discussions that lead somewhere.
Keep Conversation In The Sales Funnel
I like to think of a typical sales relationship as it happens in the real world. The conversation actually starts earlier than most of us realize.
Marketing is often involved as a way to get target customers interested in the brand. In a social media setting that might be sharing an article that the person finds through a search or as the result of their friend sharing it on the social feed.
It might also happen by a company targeting a person on social media and mentioning them in a tweet or reaching out with a basic pleasantry. This type of conversation or social media interaction could be seen as something that’s not necessary, but in the sales funnel it’s very important.
In the real world you might call a potential customer. You introduce your service, but you often start by asking questions to get to know the person. It’s not always business-related, but it forms the relationship that turns into a business relationship.
As long as you’re conversing with your target customer and you’re keeping the conversation somewhere in the realm of the sales funnel you’re doing the essential social media tasks that can lead to more sales.
Essential Task: Keep conversation in the sales funnel.
These three things have helped me focus when using social media. I talk to people all the time on social media about different things. Some of it might seem useless, but there is always a purpose and that’s what makes social media worthwhile for me and GBW.
Image: Mindaugas Danys