The last blog post highlighted the three most frequently asked questions about Social Media we’ve heard from Home Furnishings executives, beginning with definitions and examples of Social Media and Social Networking.
We continue here with an answer to Question #2:
“What Are The Ingredients For My Social Media Success?”
You should achieve a high ROI for your Social Media effort IF you engage correctly, consistently, genuinely. Like any good recipe, the end product depends upon the quality and order of the ingredients and how you handle them. Here are the essential ingredients for your Social Media Marketing (SMM) success.
Engage consumers online, building relationship and trust – because people do business with those they know, like and trust, and with the huge number of webpages and online participants, they will return to you only if engaged or intrigued.
Listen to your consumers and respond to their questions and concerns, so they know you care and provide primo customer service. You’ll also derive more intimate, honest market research insights than you could possibly get anywhere else!
Monitor the buzz about your company and products, so you know who’s saying what, can build on positive trends, nip potential problems in the bud, and engage in damage control – because your reputation and future depend upon it! Consumers trust what others in their social group say far more than any corporate material, much less an advertisement (which they tend to distrust), so what’s in the “buzz” is critical. You need to know it, create or influence it, and respond to it!
Provide good, meaningful content on a reliable, consistent basis that makes the consumer want to engage with you, relate to you, follow you for more. . . Content that’s objective, educational, entertaining or otherwise valuable to them . . . So they seek you out (*pull* marketing) . . . Because there’s a lot of “noise” in the marketplace with a bombardment of one-way, intrusive *push* ads . . . and consumers don’t want to be marketed to! They will share virally your good content, but rarely your blatant ads! (Unless entertaining, fun or novel, like the famous Budweiser ads at Super Bowl and Christmas.)
Employ SEO Best Practices, because without using key search phrases (“keywords”) intelligently and consistently in your choice of content, in your titles, categories, tags and text, as well as in your bios, descriptions and anchor text links . . . then how will anyone find you when they search for those terms? How will your website and social pages rank for those terms, so they appear on page 1 of search results? After all, 90% of all clicks on search engine results (Google, Bing, etc.) are on the webpages appearing on page 1 when your prospect does an internet search – where you want to be with multiple website and social pages!
Call Attention To Your Social Pages to build Fans, Followers and Subscribers by explicitly, visibly inviting people to comment and “share” or “like” your content or to subscribe to your feed in their favorite news reader. . . making it easy for them to click a link to your Facebook – Twitter – LinkedIn profiles . . . providing familiar icon links to social bookmarking and social news sites such as Digg, Delicious, Mr. Wong, Propeller . . . and displaying your content from one site on another automatically, such as your Twitter “tweets” on your blog, Facebook and LinkedIn pages, and your blog posts feeding your Facebook status, Twitter and a host of other micro-blogging sites, so you are found almost everywhere on the web!
Employ Special Niche Tactics such as engaging the major bloggers in your niche, having a presence on the top forums in your industry, conducting special campaigns to build followers from consumers that fit your target customer profile, channel participants, industry associations and others, and other special tactics custom tailored to your specific industry and where your customers and channel participants hand out online . . . so that you are truly “linked in” to the web of audiences important to every aspect of your business!
In sum . . .
Maximum profitability for your Home Furnishings Business – perhaps its very survival in the new economy! – requires that you have an effective Strategic Social Media and Internet Marketing Plan at the heart of your corporate communications and branding . . . your very corporate image! This Plan should project a consistent “voice” across all platforms and marketing systems, online and offline, and be clear, impactful, engaging and “trustworthy.” For visibility online and top-of-mind brand awareness, it should be built upon the cornerstones of SEO Best Practices and responsive Social Media Monitoring.
It will pay off in a big way! In the next post, we’ll cover some of the major ways Social Media will deliver BOTTOM-LINE RESULTS for your home furnishings company.
Until then . . .
Margaret Hampton of FloridaLocalSEO.com
conjoining with Linda Carey of Vibrant Business Today, LLC
to bring fresh insights and strategies for Social Media, SEO and Search Marketing for Home Furnishings Executives – and creative integration of online-offline tactics with mobile marketing and point-of-sale for ground-breaking success!