This is a guest post by Michael Cash.
People have grown accustomed to fast business transactions in the “real” world.
If you’re buying a coffee at a gas station in the morning, you just want the coffee quickly so you can move on with your day.
Business comes first – forming relationships comes second.
However, social media marketplaces rely on building relationships with your customers before they even think of buying your product.
A 2009 study by the Nielsen Company concluded that Americans were spending 17% of their Internet time browsing social media web sites. Social media sites are a powerful consumer pool that many new marketers ignore because they simply don’t understand them.
Make Sure People Are Convinced That You Know Your Stuff
One of the biggest mistakes that you can make as a social media marketing guru is publishing tips that only work with very limited application or that flat out don’t work at all. Aside from visiting a bookstore and stocking up on marketing literature, many serious Internet marketers earn a marketing degree in their free time. This isn’t so you can emblazon your site with your diploma; rather, it is simply to gain some of the skills that you will need to be influential in your niche.
Along the same lines, make sure you are either a skilled writer or have a trusted editor to rely on for nasty grammar and spelling errors. Just like a lack of knowledge, having a poorly written web site or social media space can spell disaster, even if you are giving solid tips.
Add Value, and Nothing But
One of the first mistakes that social media marketers make when approaching a site like Facebook or YouTube is assuming that they simply need to get their information out there for their potential customers. Of course, this is important. However, it is vital that your information is targeted towards your primary demographic and that it creates some discussion, or buzz.
Consider the marketing campaign of Blendtec, which hit its peak on YouTube in 2008. Using a game show style program, Blendtec created a feature called “Will it Blend.” During this show, they put different everyday items into a blender, including an iPhone and a copy of Halo 3. These videos featured the company CEO Tom Dickson and went on to get millions of views for each of the more than 100 videos. The videos became so popular that Steve Jobs even made a guest appearance when Blendtec decided to blend the iPhone 4.
Before this marketing campaign, Blendtec was an unknown appliance manufacturer selling blenders at around $400.00 each. Perhaps the acting seemed a little hokey, but in the end, the videos attracted a lot of buzz about Blendtec – showing the power of their blenders in a humorous and relatable way. Best of all, the videos gave Blendtec a face and accomplished the all-important task of building a relationship before making a sale.
Give People What They Want
Whether you are running a marketing campaign yourself or want to educate others who are preparing to do so, focus on what your audience wants to hear – not what you think they should know. For example, you might be marketing a simple computer that is designed for the needs of senior citizens. While you might be impressed with the processing speed and other technical aspects of your product, your demographic will likely ignore such statements.
In fact, they will likely care about what the computer will allow them to do, or how it will change their life for the better. Rather than focusing on technological aspects, tell your readers how they will be able to connect with old friends, start their own web site, find faster routes to the grocery store, etc. Think about the problems that your product will really solve and focus on how they will appeal to your targeted demographic.
With a few successful marketing campaigns (and a few stellar before and after testimonials), you will be respected as a social media marketing guru in no time. Remember to keep your information simple and valuable. Focus on your consumers and give them value beyond exposure to your product. When people begin wanting your product (even if the product is your advice) without realizing that it was just aggressively pitched to them, you will know that you have reached guru status in the world of social media marketing.
Michael Cash is a twenty something freelance writer and internet consultant residing in western Michigan.