How to Succeed in 2014 If You’re New to Social Media

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Time-to-AdaptChange is difficult. Not changing is fatal.

Let’s face it: Social Media marketing is hard. Adapting to it is one of the biggest challenges your business will ever face. I’m seeing lots of businesses investing time and energy in platforms to get likes and followers and not really being social at all. Many find success in social media marketing elusive. It doesn’t have to be.

We’re clocking in at 10+ years since the beginning of the Social era. There’s been a lot of brilliant people writing, speaking and sharing case studies about its value. In 2014, your best solution will be to seek out the best expert in the industry and execute the content strategy they prescribe specifically for your store.

If you’re a beginner, it’s important to stay grounded and not get overwhelmed. Start with one platform. Choose the place where your customers/prospects most likely spend their time everyday. For most businesses that sell to consumers, that’s Facebook. Once you’ve mastered the strategies for Facebook content, you can use those tactics to structure your content on the other platforms.

When you’re new, it’s hard to know how to succeed in social media marketing. To help you, I cover three platforms here that are most certainly the solid foundation you need to get started. Social Media is ridiculously hard to do well. It doesn’t have to be if you get the right information from a trusted resource and you follow these steps for beginners.

Facebook. The world’s largest marketplace.

These 7 elements are your roadmap and they’re very handy when designing content on other platforms as well:

1. Clear Objectives. Set realistic goals. It isn’t enough to say you “see” results. Measurement is about more than just results. It must tie back to your objectives. You’ll never know your ROI without first setting objectives.

2. Great Design. Visual content has a lasting effect on all of us humans. Whether it’s your Timeline Cover, status updates, landing pages or Facebook ads, what the audience sees is what they’ll remember. Make sure it’s compelling and gets the point across.

3. Solid Content Strategy. When you’re new, it’s hard to know what to post on your page. If you work with an expert content strategist, you’ll be guided through a “brand discovery” process. What is it about your store that makes you unique, that makes people want to buy from you? Answer that question in detail. Then, describe your customer: what are their interests, what are they passionate about, what problems can you solve, how can you help them buy? You can’t always be awesome but you certainly can be useful.

4. Promotion Strategy. You need a defined strategy to promote your page and continually grow your fan base. The best way is Facebook Ads. A small budget ($300-500/month) with carefully-selected photos and ad copy will grow likes for your page.

5. Engagement Strategy. You need a plan to engage your fans and build relationships. I recommend designating one person internally to listen, respond, ask questions and engage with your audience. People want to hear from you. If you’re posting content without any conversation, it’s just noise.

6. Conversion Strategy. Once you’re growing likes and engaging them, you need a strategy on how to convert those likes into leads. This more advanced form of Facebook marketing utilizes Facebook ads and campaign-specific landing pages. Done right, conversions happen. However, I’ve found most dealerships and other businesses need advice and support. Find the right person to advise you and train your people so you get where you want to go faster and more efficiently with the lightest burden on your marketing budget.

7. Measure & Analyze. You can’t manage what you don’t measure. In marketing, we launch our campaigns with what amounts to be our “best educated guess” at what people will respond to. The only way to know for sure if your efforts are successful is to look at your numbers. Daily.

Twitter: One big conversation made up of billions of smaller conversations that can turn into leads.

1. Create your profile. Optimize your bio. Brand your header and background. Take advantage of the real estate that Twitter gives you. Make sure you stay consistent with your brand’s visual message.

2. Follow your thought leaders. When you’re new to Twitter, it helps to follow people who’ve been there a while and then emulate their actions. In this knowledge-based, sharing economy, we’re all able to learn from each other and support each others’ success.

3. Follow your customers/prospects. Use the tools available like, TweetAdder and Twitter Advanced Search to locate your customers on Twitter. Follow them and if they don’t follow you back within a few days, unfollow them. It’s about attracting those that are most likely to buy from you, not every person on the planet.

4. Connect with others by sharing awesome content. The more you talk about yourself, the less people want to follow you. The goal in social media is to get others to talk about you. Leverage the content strategy you designed for your Facebook page. People only share and interact with awesome and useful content. Think about what’s relevant to them and do your best to give it to ’em.

Your Blog: Exhibits your business as a trusted resource and totally gets you found.

1. Start with a solid framework. I suggest WordPress (self-hosted). WordPress provides great SEO right out of the box, it allows you to easily update your content, and there are literally limitless customization options.

2. Commit to posting at least once a week. Be consistent. Be awesome. Get traction by asking your front line personnel to give you their 3 top customer FAQs. Answer each one of those FAQs with a blog post.

3. Write what you’re passionate about. This is where leveraging your staff’s expertise can really come in handy. You may already have a blogger as an employee! Capitalize on your team members’ passions. Share interesting stories mixed with super-helpful tips.

4. Make sure you’re seen. Syndicate your blog posts on social media, email newsletters and your website.

Follow these tips on how to succeed in social media marketing in 2014. You’ll tap into this great opportunity and get traction in the social economy.

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  • Sean Rowe

    Hi, Kathi. Thanks for providing such key and inspiring concepts. I’d really like to see links to Facebook and Twitter pages that show these at work. In my feedback from working on Social Media w/ a major network’s local TV stations they consistently ask to see examples of these concepts at work. I’ve found that’s the biggest proponent in exciting them to action.

  • Ross Quintana

    Hey Kathi, great post and solid advice. You hit all the major needs.