Dana Severson

Copywriter | Marketer

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Are You Using Social Media the Right Way?

by Dana Severson

 

Social media is relatively new, as far as marketing channels go. And we’re all pretty quick to adopt — adapt, even — any platform we can use to touch consumers. But there comes a point where we try to modify something beyond its original purpose so much that it becomes ineffectual. We miss out on opportunities and squander all of the advantages this channel has to offer.
 
Instead of adapting social media to fit our needs, isn’t it better to adapt to fit the needs of the platform?
 
Tip 1: Keep it social. We often forget the very foundation of social media lies in the social aspect of this outlet. Other avenues exist to market your wares, so focus on creating conversations with consumers to better engage them.
 
Tip 2: Focus on value. A year or so ago, I bastardized a quote from Ben Franklin, saying, “Either tweet something worth reading or do something worth tweeting.” It was in response to all the noise filling my Twitter feed, but the idea really applies to all social media outlets. Content should always add value. If it doesn’t, it’s best left unsaid.
 
Tip 3: Abandon timetables. This probably goes against everything you’ve learned about marketing, especially inbound marketing. But maintaining a schedule for tweets or posts is too restrictive for most social media platforms, and increases your chances of creating content that might not be all that valuable. Let inspiration dictate your timetable — at least in the beginning.
 
Tip 4: Avoid promotion. Actively promoting products or services on social media platforms is one the quickest ways to disengage consumers. Even if you believe an offer is of value, content solely created to sell is often seen as self-serving and can quickly erode your worth in the marketplace.
 
Tip 5: Redefine ROI. As marketers, we’re tasked with measuring how marketing dollars deliver quantifiable returns. But social media is difficult to measure, largely due to its constant change, so the usual metrics can leave the immediate return on investment unclear. By redefining ROI in terms of consumer engagement, we begin to see its real value beyond dollars and cents.
 
Tip 6: Listen, listen, listen. Social media is one of the few channels where you hear what consumers are saying — and at this very moment, no less. Listening to what’s said can guide the direction of your message, further enhancing the experience for consumers.
 
If you hadn’t already guessed, I believe social media is worth your time and money. But it’s still essential — as with any piece of collateral — to understand its role in converting consumer into customers. Once you grasp that, you’re better able to use it to its full potential.
 
And never forget that it’s part of a larger marketing mix, supporting and strengthening all other marketing efforts.
 
So, how do you use social media? Do you use it to engage? Sell? Or a little of both?

 

This post was originally published at Beneath the Brand.

Copyright 2007-2014.  Dana Severson | Freelance Copywriter & Marketer.

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