If you market your products today like you always have, you can miss huge portions of your intended audience, because purchasing behavior has changed considerably with the rise of the internet and social media. It’s great to have a website, but your customers also spend time on blogs, watching YouTube videos, and on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. You need to place your company where your customers are, and that means social media.
When implementing social media marketing Ontario businesses must do far more than setting up Facebook pages and Twitter accounts. Social media real estate has to be tended regularly, and must be incorporated into an overall online marketing strategy. This includes an optimized website and regular interaction with customers online. Furthermore, treating social media as a free soapbox from which to pitch products is counterproductive. You have to make the effort to engage with people on social media, whether you’re selling concrete or hair products.
The 80/20 Rule in Social Media Marketing
After committing to use social media marketing Waterloo and other Ontario businesses should utilize about 80% of their social media presence for information and interaction, and only 20% for selling products and services. Social media’s strength is creating awareness of engaging content created by (or on behalf of) companies. It’s the perfect way to build authority in a niche, which ultimately leads to sales. It also builds a network of loyalty that is extremely valuable for your promotional activities.
Honesty Is Non-Negotiable
Trying to sneak questionable “facts” by your audience simply doesn’t work in the internet age. Consumers today expect facts and honesty. That doesn’t mean they expect perfection, but they expect brands to be genuine. The online marketing that Ontario companies need to build their brands may be quirky or humorous at times, but it must always be honest. In many ways social media is like real life; you get more response when you’re friendly and helpful than when you’re pontificating. Doing it well takes time but the result is a higher brand profile, more click-throughs, and more conversions.
Calls to Action Are Appropriate
While social media followers don’t want to be sold to with every Tweet, Pin, or Facebook post, there’s nothing wrong with directing followers to your website. This can be done in a friendly, non-pushy way. For example, you could share a short video with information about how your product or service benefits customers and include a brief statement such as, “Click here to learn more” that takes people to the appropriate page on your website. You also need to provide valuable information on your website that addresses a customer’s pain point and leads naturally to the next step of making a purchase.
Maintain a Cohesive Brand Message Across All Platforms
The messages you present on different social media platforms should not be identical, but should fit together to create a cohesive message and clarify your brand. The images you use should fit with the text content, and your call to action should follow naturally and not appear forced. Your social media marketing strategy should include time spent studying analytics (such as your Facebook Insights) to learn which messages get the most positive responses. Each social platform will differ somewhat in terms of what works, but all should be part of a cohesive message that is authentic and honest.
Listen and Respond
Keeping it real on social media requires paying attention to how followers engage with you. You have to listen to them and respond honestly and candidly. Your follower or fan count is not as important as how engaged you are with social media followers. When a fan asks a question about your product and you answer directly in a friendly, conversational manner, you strengthen your bond with that person, and influence the opinions of others who see the interaction. When fans and followers know there are real people behind the products and services, they are more engaged than if a company is remote, tone deaf, or unresponsive.
The ultimate goal of online marketing in Ontario is to sell products and services. Social media channels are powerful, essential communication tools in the world of today’s consumer. Your social media accounts aren’t there for their own sake, but so you can build relationships with customers and potential customers. A thoughtful social media approach that engages directly and honestly with followers, is heavy on information and light on direct selling, and that supports a consistent brand message is one of the most powerful marketing strategies you can have today. And at Inspire and Acquire, we help you successfully achieve that.