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The Green Sheet Online Edition

October 24, 2011 • Issue 11:10:02

Excelling at social media marketing

Like all attention drivers, social media as a marketing tool is a double-edged sword. Through Facebook posts, Twitter tweets and YouTube videos, businesses can increase visibility and sales. However, misguided virtual message delivery vehicles can also damage a brand or skew the message you want to deliver.

For example, a company develops a recruiting video to present itself as a hip, trendy place to work. It posts the video on YouTube and then blogs about it, hoping the video will go viral and generate millions of new website hits and potential recruits. But the video comes across as laughably pretentious and amateurish, giving the impression the company is run by people who are woefully inept. The video does go viral - but for all the wrong reasons.

Three tips

To avoid this outcome and other social media pitfalls, start with these three suggestions:

  1. Develop a plan: What, exactly, is your goal from a social media campaign? Are you attempting to create a buzz around a particular product or greater overall brand awareness? The goal will dictate which outlets to use and the audiences you wish to reach.

  2. Know your audience: Which social media vehicles do you think will accomplish your target goal? Posts on Facebook and LinkedIn groups will reach different audiences. And different audiences respond to different types of communications. Technical jargon will play better on a payments industry blog than on Facebook, for example. Also, test your important initiatives with sample audiences before going live.

  3. Vary the delivery: Not everyone consumes information the same way. Some people prefer reading to watching videos. If you market via a blog, try posting a written comment one day and a video product demo the next. This variety will foster greater interactivity with your audience.

Remember, social media marketing takes a nuanced, well-designed approach. In the online realm, a standard of communication has developed that rewards honesty, consistency and creativity. By tapping into those attributes, your marketing can be as dynamic as the Internet itself. end of article

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