Social Media Marketing
Social Media Marketing is about being yourself. "But what if I'm boring? No one wants to read what I have to write." If you're boring, then please don't use social media. HAHA! Okay, just kidding. You can learn. Everyone can learn to communicate effectively online; it just takes some practice.
The best way to get started with social media marketing is to just dive in to whatever social network you've decide to join. Most people use Facebook and Twitter, but there are many others out there. Start connecting with people, finding friends and following people and organizations that you think are interesting.
What seems like just a conversation is really the beginning of your marketing strategy.
Updates for Clicks and Comments
When you write status updates, assume you're talking to a room full of your best friends and family and they're all drinking cocktails, laughing and having conversations amongst themselves. They're laughing a lot, too. You're talking to a group of friends and you're wanting to start a conversation. You realize that the people love you unconditionally, so you're not worried about making a mistake because they'll forgive you and if you blow it, they'll laugh with you later.
The kinds of comments on facebook that get good responses are vary, but to start out, keep it light and positive. You don't want to be Debbie Downer who complains constantly and brings the mood down around her.
For a business or organization, don't worry about pushing people to a website or blog right off the bat. Just try to get people to engage with you. Talk in a "Me" voice and if you think you can get a laugh, go for it.
You're ultimately writing for a click or a comment, but make sure you reveal a human side while doing it.
Safe comments are ones rooting for your local sports team that's playing on TV right then. "GOOOOOOO PREDS!!!" Malechi Tech is in Nashville TN so the Predators are our hockey team. The Titans are here in Nashville, too, so I'll post a comment about a bad call a ref made or congratulate them on a great, hard fought win.
These are safe topics that fit the interests of a wide audience. Many of the 'You (collective Facebook audience) vs. Them (some common enemy like Dwight Shrut or bad weather)' seems to work very well.
Also, be sure to comment on other people's statuses instead of just making it about you. Encourage other people genuinely and make quality suggestions to your network.
Moving the Audience to Action
Causes and principled actions are things your social media audience will quickly participate in. Maybe you're asking someone to give to the Red Cross by texting "Red Cross" to 90999 and giving $10 or you're asking people to pray for an ailing relative. But what gets sticky is when you ask them to do something that's directly beneficial to you. People get very weary of being "Sold to" so they're likely to shy away from a link that you're using to make you money.
This is tricky and that's why it's vital in develop trust and authority through your status updates first.
Why Selling in Social Media Sucks
People have the mindset that facebook and twitter are escapes. They go there to get away from the real world and find some entertaining posts to comment on or an interesting article to read. People don't go to Social Media for a sales meeting or to hear about your latest successful business transaction that netted you $10,000 in commissions.
They want to 'connect' with other people and be entertained in the process.
Selling in social media looks like this: Provide a link to an informative article on your website. Promote others and their good deeds and successes. Tell your network about a great deal you found on Groupon or Living Social and post a link in your blog about it.
This arena is about being human and about making others feel good.
Social Media Ads
Social media ads are the necessary evil that must exist for these services to remain free. We all get that, and most of us ignore them because they aren't any good and we don't trust 1) That the deal is relevant, and 2) That I'm going to get what it says I'll get. I'm not going to write about creating quality ads here, but I will say that it's an art form and you need to know how to do it well in order to get clicks. A funny image of a baby crying will get more clicks than a picture of a house. Again, it goes to knowing what the mindset is of Facebook and Twitter users.
However, the benefit to advertising on Facebook, specifically is that you can narrow down your audience and you typically get a great deal better ROI from Facebook ads than you do from Google Adwords. Check out this case study about Local Online Advertising for some interesting stats.