Time always passes faster than we would like—especially in the social media world. If you, too, feel blindsided by the arrival of May, here are a few strategies for making your presence felt in the online multiverse throughout the rest of this year and beyond.
- Build a Core Network
Although you may think of networks as entities reserved for individuals, remember: corporations are people, too! Even if you represent a small, local business, there are at least a couple of demographics to whom your brand will likely appeal. Try incorporating hashtags in order to narrow down your target audience even further. Think of business marketing as similar to job networking. As with personal LinkedIn profiles, keep your company website current: share recent news, create weekly blog posts, and make sure all crucial information such as product lists, descriptions, and pricing are easy to find, once clients reach your site.
Rather than merely waiting for potential customers to come to you online, make a point to search for relevant interest groups on Facebook and LinkedIn. After joining a group, introduce yourself and post a recent blog entry or another link of interest and begin a conversation about a topic likely to be of interest to the people in the group. Each blog entry should end with an email registration form for readers who would like to hear more from your company in the future. Extend an invitation for group members to share their own blogs with the offer of a sign-up exchange, of sorts: a promise that you’ll sign up to receive updates from them if they sign up to receive updates from you. Be sure to read and comment on at least one blog post per site, and don’t be shy about updating and sharing your blog entries, as well.
- Try Lifestyle Content Marketing
Picture a persona to whom you frequently market your services. Alternately, picture your most loyal customer—either in real life or ideally-speaking. What values do they hold dear? Can you think of some activities or adjectives you could use to describe their lifestyle? Are there specific emotions that this customer evokes in you? Once you have a few ideas jotted down, you’ll be well on your way to creating an ideal persona and values-based world that illustrates a particular lifestyle—hence the term ‘lifestyle content marketing.’
This type of marketing embodies interests and ideals that appeal to potential customers via content related to your brand while not directly selling products or services. One brand that demonstrates lifestyle marketing so effectively is Patagonia, whose home page toggles through a series of campaigns and films that support the values they espouse: conservation, sustainability, wildlife defense bills, and so on. Not only do their apparel ads illustrate people engaging in inspiring adventures, but they even offer environmental grants to groups seeking to work on identifying the root causes of environmental problems. If that isn’t dedication to a cause, I don’t know what is.
If you can find a similar type of greater good or cause that will appeal to potential customers and your social media followers, by all means, pursue it! Ideally, you’ll be well on your way to tapping into your customer’s values and beliefs in a way that is much stronger and more appealing than ads featuring promotional sales or product features.
- Plan Around Peak Business Months
Most businesses have natural peaks and valleys when it comes to cash flow—especially if you own a small business. Since fluctuations in profits are to be expected, take advantage of extra time by writing a series of blog posts that offer free tools or white papers to current or future customers. Offer special promotions or discounts that are only accessible via email subscriptions or customer referrals. Offer to trade your services or products with other small business owners; this will not only help earn new customers, it will also mutually benefit each other’s marketing efforts via word-of-mouth and network marketing. By extension, if you have a brick-and-mortar location, try exchanging special discount cards and coupons with sister businesses. You may be amazed at how effective all this free marketing ends up being for your bottom line.
Lastly, consider making a series of webinars or video blogging entries for your company blog. According to Social Media Today, 90 percent of users say product videos are helpful in the decision-making process. Furthermore, social media has proven to be particularly successful as a platform for video content, as of late; for example, video watching on Instagram has increased by 150 percent since the beginning of 2017. Lastly, don’t be shy about reaching out to your fan and customer base, via Facebook events. One possibility is to throw a one-month anniversary party, offering refreshments to in-store guests and raffle prize drawings for fans who “like” and “share” your photos or events with friends.
* * *
Social media platforms are the brave new world for marketers and PR managers hoping to attract more customers than their competitors. In order to do so, we must be bold, inventive, and willing to take a chance by putting ourselves out there in a realm that was once exclusively reserved for friends and family.
As more and more people become interested in aligning their financial support with their belief systems, we as marketers have the unique opportunity to offer customers not only products or services but shared belief systems. Let’s focus on the social aspect of social media and invite others to connect in a genuine, mutually beneficial way.