Friday, December 6, 2013

How to Beat Your Competitors at Social Media Marketing

Many companies engage with social media marketing because they want to win business, buteffective social media engagement is about more than just showing up and shouting about products and services.
And there’s the added difficulty of dealing with the social media marketing efforts and campaigns of yourdirect competitors, too: after all, every business wants to be number one in their niche online.
The basic fact of commercial life today is thatcustomers go online to buy products and services. And social media plays a part in their purchasing.

But how do you beat your competitors at social media marketing? How can you be found more often than others in your industry? What methods can you utilise to ensure that your products and services are front-of-mind with your target audience online?
Here’s my top three tips to win more awareness, more attention, and more sales than your competitors via social media:
* Strategy
There are too many businesses jumping on social media and ‘having a go at it’ – then complaining that social media didn’t work for them. Truth is, they didn’t work social media properly. The first tip to address this is that of strategy.
One of the first things I ask new clients is to highlight two things – an understanding of what their direct competitors are doing on social media, and what their target audience looks like. Without this knowledge, social media engagement is random at best.
Before you commence with any social media marketing, get online and observe your direct competitors. See what they’re doing. How often they’re posting. Any competitions or data capture exercises they’re conducting. Which social media platforms they’re engaging on. Taking time out to review your competitors can give you the edge when you start your social media marketing.
* Substance
There’s lots of businesses simply shouting about products and services on social media platforms. And whilst they might think they’re making headway with social media, in reality nobody’s listeningand they’re just ticking the ‘we’re doing social media’ box.
Don’t become another one of them. Make sure that your social media content has substance, and adds real value for your audience. Substance comes from consistent interesting blog content, real-time social media engagement, superb visuals and videos, bespoke infographics, exclusive offers and discounts on specific channels to increase visitor loyalty, plus a bit of individual magic.
Substance takes time, commitment, energy and expertise. If you don’t have this in-house,consider hiring in that expertise to guide, advise and help you shape social media content which is of real value, and which will gain more awareness and attention than your direct competitors, and helpdrive sales from social media.
* Structure
Social media marketing doesn’t have to be time-consuming, and it’s not a Dark Art. By utilising structure in your social media engagement, you’ll gain competitive advantage over your competitors and move up a level when it comes to winning business from social media. Try using HootSuite, Lead Forensics and Google Analytics to implement structure into your activities.
Structure, for me, also includes not wasting time and energy on social media platforms where your target audience aren’t hanging out. It’s better to have a solid, consistent, and engaging social media presence on one platform where you know your target audience are to be found, than a weak, unstructured, and diluted series of profiles on commercially irrelevant platforms.
Structure and strategy are closely inter-linked here: if you want to gain awareness, attention and beat your competitors at social media marketing, you need to be ruthless in your delivery of strategy and structure.

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