Developing a well-rounded understanding of your social media messaging
Let’s face it, social media marketing is not a water dealership’s main focus. Your focus is on providing your customers the best water quality solutions and service options. So, how do we face this skeleton in the closet known as social media? Understanding the who, what, where, how and why will help you make social a bit more sensible and easier to manage than it may seem.
Think of your social media channels as a TV station. Whether or not you realize it, you are a broadcaster and you will only get the most out of your content if you resonate with the right audience.
The immediate question you need to ask yourself is, “Who is my target market?” First, think about who you are reaching. Are you a commercial or residential service provider? Do you focus on a specific vertical market? Targeting your content to restaurants differs greatly from residential homeowners. Maybe you work with both. The key is identifying who you need to reach. A good idea is to use the 80/20 rule and look at the top 20% of clients who generate 80% of your revenue. Once you feel comfortable with who you need to reach, you are ready to answer the “what.”
The next question you need to ask yourself is “What is the best content for my audience?”
“What if instead of trying to be amazing you just focused on being useful?” said Jay Baer in his book Youtility.
When people “do life” together there is a mutual benefit.
If you are speaking to a business-to-consumer (B2C) audience, you might cover articles and content that can help families with newborns who need to know they have pure, clean water for their baby formula. You may create a “3 Steps To Ensuring Your Newborn’s Water is Pure” blog post or pseudo whitepaper or download. If it is a short e-book, you could make a PDF and have prospects download it in exchange for a name, email address, or other contact information that can be used as a follow up.
If you are targeting a business-to-business (B2B) audience, you might choose to write “4 Ways To Ensure Your Restaurant Water is Contaminant Free.” Asking “what” can be a benefit to your target and lays the foundation for true social connectivity.
I use the 4-1-1 rule. Essentially, this means that for every self-serving post, tweet or shout out, you repost or retweet one relevant snippet and and then share four pieces of relevant content. Relevant content is content that your “who” will benefit from. Who is going to be interested in a social stream filled with non-stop commercials for your company? You need to give it as much Youtility as possible while keeping your own business offering in the mix.
You need to know where your social will live and breathe. Now that you know who you are going to connect with online, you need to find out where they live in the social sphere. To the right is a breakdown of the social landscape on a few potentially relevant channels.
By understanding your target demographics, you can choose the right platform for your social outreach. In addition, knowing the ideal frequency for posting can help to reach out with the proper amount of posts. You may be thinking, “How are we going to do all of this?”
Like anything, it takes work. The key is to first understand how the who, what, where, how and why fit together for your organizations. Get a strategy that works for you and understand the tools and how they work. Take on a platform and work on it for a month or two. Create an editorial calendar and start small. You eventually may choose to do this in-house, or hire outside help. If you choose the latter, be cautious of hiring someone who does not understand your culture, business approach, and ultimately, your voice. While outsourcing can be a great option, you should understand the dynamics of the tools yourself.
As I previously mentioned, getting contact information in exchange for quality content also is a great way to use social media. Chameleon Communications does this on our services and video communication page with our brand Video eBook PDF download. I use the 4-1-1 rule and post a link to this PDF so I can connect with prospects. The idea is to find out what your target wants in the form of great content. In this case, we wanted to help those looking into video and YouTube for their advertising.
Remember, provide posts and content that can help your specific audience.
“Creating marketing that is truly, inherently useful, is the first big umbrella marketing platform of the age of social and mobile connectivity,” Baer said. When a business realizes that they are in the marketplace to help others, success follows. It is all about building trust.
Understanding why you are using social media will help you succeed. First, let us talk about a success story from a Milwaukee restaurant owner to inspire your “why.” Back in 2010, I spoke at a digital marketing conference along with a Milwaukee entrepreneur named Joe Sorge. The conference featured some exciting keynote speakers in the social arena.
It was just about a year before this conference that Sorge started to see success with his restaurant called AJ Bombers. The restaurant was located in an obscure location of Milwaukee during a recession. Sorge engaged influencers via Twitter and eventually had one of those influencers come to his restaurant.
The momentum began. Sorge started working on Twitter daily, making the most of the tool’s ability to search out conversations so he could see what people were saying about his restaurant. Eventually, Sorge built relationships with people in the community and understood how Twitter could aggregate multiple online people at the same time, unlike email. AJ Bombers eventually assigned hashtags to their sandwiches.
“Our business at AJ Bombers would not be what it is today without Twitter,” Sorge said in an article from OnMilwaukee.
Eventually, this start on social media led to a successful partnership with Marcus Investments, resulting in numerous restaurants across the state, including six brand chains that include AJ Bombers, Onesto, Swig, Smoke Shack, Holey Moley Doughnuts and Blue Bat Kitchen.
Despite being started in the midst of one of the most difficult recessions in history—and being located at an address where five businesses previously had failed—Sorge made social media work.
Understanding why you are using social media is critical. You do not want to do it because everybody else is doing it. You need to own it and understand the benefits to truly make it work. Like Sorge, understanding why you are connecting on a personal level eventually will help you glean more about the process and enable you to understand just how much of your company’s marketing resources to invest in this form of marketing.