Wildfire Media World. Welcome to our World!
Is It Too Late for Your Business?
Hmmm…more importantly, is it too late to turn followers into leads, and leads into sales? The answer is one I would normally give my kids…Depends on if you are good!
Being a good boy or girl is…well…good! BUT it’s not as important as being good at social media. It is for this reason that many companies fail.
Start up businesses often open their doors without so much as a Facebook page, Twitter profile or an Instagram board. In fact social media as a whole is an afterthought. Some existing, well established companies, yo-yo between being online (and not) and end up creating a Facebook page, just to have something “modern” on their websites. The content they post is equal to the company newsletter that goes out. Boring and impersonal. Often infrequent.
New or old…Their followers dwindle & splutter in the low kiddies’ pool as far as numbers go. There is no contact to speak of and surprise, surprise…NO SALES!
Why exactly is this? Because the state of things demand that the internet of things be incorporated into the marketing of things.
I hear you say’ “Okay..uhhh… wait what?”
Allow me to explain.
The entire world has gone digital. From long before the time you start a business (or decide to expand it) you need an online presence. To have an online presence, you need a Digital Marketing Strategy and a Social Media Strategy. From there you need the Internet of Things (IoT) in order to extract data which will aid you in your marketing and dare I say….MANAGEMENT things!
So lets start off at the beginning. A Digital Marketing strategy is about more than your “marketing”, so to speak. What you put online, how you say it, when and where, is vital to the success of your business. To have a successful Digital Marketing Strategy in place you need to know the following:
Who are your ideal customers?
Make up a mock profile of your ideal customer, even if you have existing clients. What is their race, age, occupation, etc. Bear in mind, you want to go after the decision makers, those who are “mentors”, not the decision imple-mentors.
Where are they?
I’ll give you a hint. “Online” is not an answer. Research every possible forum, website, social media outlet and digital medium there are in your industry. From there you can determine where your ideal customer is the most, and how long they spend there.
What are their interests?
Do your target audience gather information on only specific topics or do they have a wide range of topics that interest them. It is also very helpful to know what draws them to a specific place online, and how long they spend on there. This sort of information will let you know if it is worth spending your time & money on that site.
How do they prefer to receive their information?
Every person is different, therefore it is important to know how your customers receive their information. Do they prefer e-mails, RSS feeds, blogs, tweets, or referrals by friends? Do they prefer audio, text or video?
In what manner will your ad or post stand out?
In every digital medium there are cases of “ad blindness” where people ignore certain ads. This applies to posts too. Knowing your target audience will allow you to know how to grab their attention.
Using the information you have so carefully researched, opens the door to…ANOTHER DOOR! You can’t just take what you know and build posts and ads around it. That is why you need a social media strategy.
After the break I will go into detail about Social Media strategies.
If you treat your employees like numbers, they will treat you like the paycheck you are.
And we’re back. Well! at least I am!
Many companies fail because they try to do their own social media. Hiring a social media expert will save you a lot of time and money, for the prime reason that they do things right, the first time. Even if you still refuse to get a pro in, you need a Social Media Strategy. This is vastly different to your Digital Marketing strategy, because social media is not about marketing, it is about connecting.
Your followers are not your customers, so they don’t want a sales pitch. They want you to confirm what they already know. So your posts and ads will be geared towards adding value. There is a strict social media etiquette to follow and very tight line between fishing and spamming.
The first thing to consider is how your brand will be perceived online. Will your online voice and persona be friendly or professional, informal or formal? Using your preferred “voice” you can increase customer satisfaction, generate leads, drive traffic to your website and ultimately increase revenue.
Then all the information you have gathered in your Digital Marketing strategy can be used to make up “owned” content and “paid” content. Those are the words you spew, enlightening the masses and encouraging them to share this new found wisdom, and, of course, your online adverts. Apart from that you need “earned” content. To get exposure and brand awareness you need to identify decision makers/ influencers and prospects on social media, follow them, share their content that adds value to your followers, engage with the followers, earn their trust and then align your products or services with their needs, when the opportunity arises. (Phew!) It boils down to building firm partnerships and generating sales leads. Easy hey?
At all times your social media strategy must be implemented in such a way that it is….wait for it…SMART. Specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time based. In a nutshell, plan what content you will posts and when, for who, how long and what you hope to achieve by doing so. If you can’t get that right, you never will. Just kidding… It’s about posting, engaging, measuring the result and doing it all over again, until you get it right.
It sounds hard… 317 million users on Twitter, tweets going out every second at the same time. 1.79 billion Facebook users. LinkedIn has 467 million users and your content has to stand out among all that in order to create brand awareness before you can start building leads. But fear not! The best way to start creating brand awareness and drive traffic to your website, is through your employees and friends. Be warned, if you are one of those companies that treat your employees like a number, or worse, they will treat you like the paycheck you are. No one will share your content, in fact they might sabotage or troll your posts.
That is another reason your social media expert will include in your strategy, a Social Media Policy as well as a Critical Response Plan in case of bad publicity.
The easy part now is to incorporate the internet of things (It’s a real thing) and keep updating your strategies for best results.
The Internet of things, is simply put the area where operational technology meets information technology. Let’s say you are a manufacturer of some sort. Anything with a chip or a sensor can be assigned an IP address and information can be shared on a network.
The mechanical input can provide valuable insights and improvements. Machine to machine communication can be incorporated in every industry and together with data pulled from apps and your online platforms like Google Analytics, many problems can be eliminated from planning, production right to after sales customer satisfaction. Any strategies going forward can include “success” stories on how problems were overcome and information gathered at any stage, can be used to entice new customers.
So there you have it. I spewed out a lot of useful information and very impressive words. All you have to do is share it. (nudge-nudge)
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