Like most businesses today, you probably already have social media pages dedicated to your company, but maybe you're still figuring out how you can leverage them to their full potential. Engaging with your audience and potential buyers through social media is a major factor in your marketing and sales strategies.
Failing to engage through these platforms and supply channel partners with social media content to share as well will hinder your brand exposure and demand generation efforts.
To help you navigate how to best leverage your business social media platforms, here are our 5 "C's" of social media marketing that will help in your customer engagement initiatives:
At its core, social media has become the online epicenter of people coming together to form online communities. These groups allow individuals who have similar interests to share experiences and conversations with each other when distance may not have permitted them to otherwise. When marketing your business in these spaces, it is your responsibility to take part in these conversations and communities to establish yourself as a trusted resource in your field of expertise. You can do this in spaces like LinkedIn Groups, Twitter chats, and live webinars.
These communities are digital destinations that enable people with similar interests to share experiences and engage with each other, despite geographical boundaries. As a marketer, it is your responsibility to identify the communities that your consumer actively participates with, and engage with them. While doing persona research you should know what LinkedIn groups they are part of, Twitter chats they engage in, publications they read, and industry influencers they follow.
Think of this as your social footprint - or the content you are publishing in the appropriate communities. Publish original content that will truly help the platform or social media group audience in the form of links to eBooks, blogs, videos and pretty much anything that highlights your knowledge and expertise, but doesn't make you seem overly sales-ey, either. Remember that participation requires activity, not just becoming a member of a related group. To help keep a steady stream of engagement, consider creating a posting schedule to remain an active thought leader.
If you're on social media and you're not contributing to the conversation, then you will look like a static bystander instead of an industry thought leader. Establishing a posting schedule and setting reminders for yourself to engage with others' content is an excellent way to ensure you're always part of the conversation.
As alluded to above, while posting your informational content is great, the conversation doesn't end there. You must engage in two-way discussions with those who are also active in those communities. These engagements should help educate, build awareness to your expertise, as well as establish trust. When someone comments on your posting and you promptly respond back, this humanizes your brand, making people feel more personally connected. And guess what? People would rather buy from people they think they have developed a more trusted, personal relationship with.
To be effective with social media marketing you have to move beyond broadcasting your message to having two-way engaging conversations with consumers. The conversations that you participate in should build awareness, educate, and build trust within the communities you participate in. When a lead comments on your post or blog, comment back. This helps humanize your brand.
Social media bridges the gap between relationships that would previously be unavailable to you through your industry influencers. Stay up-to-speed with the suggested people on each of your social platforms and research those who are making an impact on your industry - then follow and engage with them on social. Encourage these people to like or connect with your social pages, too. They won't mind you asking for this if your content is relevant to similar pain points or topics/industries of interest. And better yet - ask them to partner with you in exchange for a link back (good for SEO) or a quote for an upcoming blog post on your site.
The social connection goes beyond influencers, too. Videos and Facebook's new live video function offers a unique opportunity to connect in ways like never before. Showcase a live demo or feature an event happening at your business. The options today to connect with your audience are seemingly endless
Social media provides a unique opportunity to get feedback from those who care about the product and services you offer. Talk to your audience about what creates the best customer service experience for them, about what kinds of products they'd like to see you offer, as well as what you can do to enhance your overall customer experience. People appreciate when they have the opportunity to get invested in an organization and take part in improving the services you provide. Additionally, even an occasional negative social comment about your products and services can result in showcasing your timely respond to issues or frustrations. Buyers today understand no company is perfect, but they appreciate when adverse situations are identified promptly and fixed as quickly as possible.
The best way to ensure that consumers will purchase your product or service is to involve them in the product development lifecycle. Social Media give you the unique ability to get opinions from consumers, making them feel more invested in your company's choices. Try starting a Twitter poll asking them to express what features and functionality they want in your next product offering. You can also collaborate with influencers, asking them to be a guest blogger on your website or maybe join you for a future podcast project.
Download this guide full of dozens of social media post example to improve your demand generation efforts for construction products:
Editor's Note: This blog was originally published in 2011 and has been updated for accuracy.
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