By Ed Burke, Dennis K. Burke Inc.
So how do you feel about marketing your company on social media? Do you love it, hate it, tolerate it, or just ignore it?
It’s clear that social media can help increase your brand recognition and improve brand loyalty, but most companies don’t understand how to leverage that trust into new accounts.
Marketing on social media can seem daunting at times: choosing platforms, deciding on content, and responding to comments and questions. But if you don’t bother with social media, you should know that 80 percent of companies marketing there say that social media really does increase traffic to their website. So, is social media driving buyers to your business?
In a nutshell, social media is about building relationships. Since you want to build personal one-on-one relations, social media is something you need to handle at least partly in-house. You are building your company’s online reputation, so you want to be able to respond quickly with accurate information.
With that said, you may need help getting there. Does the company that hosts your website provide social marketing analytics? Most Internet service providers offer instructional videos and webinars to walk you through the set-up process and how to grow your audience.
You want to be able to combine analytics from your social marketing with your website traffic to measure results. Tracking things like site visits, blog views, social reach growth, and landing page conversion rates, your analytics can help you gauge how well you’re doing at building relationships and growing your audience.
Growing Your Network
There are dozens of popular social media platforms, which are called channels. Find the platforms that best align with your target audience’s interests. For example, business-to-consumer audiences can be found on Facebook, while business-to-business buyers can be found on LinkedIn.
Most fuel dealers are using Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to network with their customers and prospective customers, but Instagram, Pinterest, and Google+ are fast-growing platforms too.
On Facebook, we try to show the personal side of our company. We share short stories and articles that are helpful and informative to our audience. We like to share photos of what the folks at our company are up to, the softball team we sponsor, and events we attend. We don’t sell anything on our Facebook page; it’s solely to keep in touch and build relationships. We encourage comments and questions, and try to respond quickly.
We’re constantly using Twitter to tweet and re-tweet industry-related headlines that could change market conditions and affect contract pricing, or new regulations affecting the industry. It’s a great way to get content, you can follow topics from reliable news sources to provide a snapshot of the issue.
LinkedIn is a business-oriented networking platform. It’s a good way to network with potential buyers, vendors and industry contacts. With that said, people are selective about connecting with folks they don’t know yet or don’t see as business connections. Remember to keep your personal and business profiles up-to-date, and make sure your links are current.
There are a lot of fun and crazy videos on YouTube, but there are just as many educational videos too. Instructional videos are a great way to help your audience and show the personal side of your company. We have a few videos on YouTube that have gotten lots of views over the years.
Our website needed a few changes too. We added a few blogs that help explain industry-related issues. Of course the interaction varies from topic to topic, but safety issues seem to get the most response.
A Few Helpful Tips
- Social media marketing should work to complement, not replace your conventional marketing.
- Pictures are worth a thousand words. Audiences prefer visual content and image-links get more engagement than text links.
- Avoid the temptation to sell products or services on social media, it’s a place to get together, have conversations, and share.
- It’s always a good idea to look around at what is being shared by friends and competitors in the industry, and what kind of content gets the best response.
Opportunities for Interaction
Remember, social media marketing is all about growing relationships. Every blog post, every photo, every video, every article, and every conversation is an opportunity for someone to comment. Every comment could lead to a site visit or a phone call, and eventually a conversion or sale.
Obviously, not every interaction on your Facebook page is going to result in a conversion, but every positive interaction increases the likelihood that it could.