Marketing is a tricky beast, especially when it comes to Internet business. Overdo it and your potential customers will see right through it, but, if you ignore it, who's going to know about the products you're offering? Balance is the key, and this includes leveraging social media to promote products.
Actually, social media could be fit into the "especially" category, in regards to being cautious because of the nature of it, that is, people talking about and sharing information via one of the many social media platforms. The discussion and the sharing works both ways, because if you turn your potential customers off with an overdone marketing approach, there's little doubt it will be a point of discussion for the people the strategy offended. This makes social media marketing something of a razor's edge approach, because good campaigns will be shared, as will the bad ones.
With that in mind, WebProNews CEO, Rich Ord, discussed some social media marketing strategies with Michael Stelzner at the 2011 edition of BlogWorld. While Stelzner's advise could be categorized as common sense, it's also very helpful for those of you who aren't sure who to address a social media marketing strategy. One of Stelzner's key points of advise has to do with overdoing the marketing approach, because, from his perspective, with the deluge of marketing present in the world today, people are tuning advertising out.
In fact, Stelzner suggests marketing can slow growth, because it acts as friction, especially once customers realize they are being marketed to. Instead of worrying about your marketing approach, try building quality content instead. From Stelzner's perspective, quality content enables people, who, in turn, may become paying customers.
"Create content that resonates with people at their core."
Stelzner's suggestion in regards to quality content is something Google has harped on for some time. The basic approach towards good content is this, if you build/create it, they (the people) will come. As for the different types of content businesses should be focused on, Stelzner offers the following guidelines:
"Tap other people's mind that create great content for your audience and also creates strategic alliances that could benefit you greatly later on," which basically says, find the experts in your field and foster a relationship with them with the goal of great content creation. Potential customers will notice, especially if someone they already trust is vouching for your company and/or the products being offered.
"Create comprehensive howto articles. Pick topics your readers are interested in. Survey them. Include details. Make it readable with lots of images, video and bold key points. Also, make it printer friendly. Try printfriendly.com." If you establish your site as an authority on the field your focusing on, people/potential customers will be more willing to trust the service being promoted.
Other suggestions from Stelzner include the following:
- Do expert interviews. Tap the knowledge of pros. Phone interviews or video. Transcribe them. Go after experts speaking at local events. This was key to our growth.
- Create reviews. Help your readers make decision. Review books, producs, events. Screen capture review are popular. Give your opinion.
- Do case studies on your blog. Share stories of businesses in your industry.
- Do reports based on surveys. Survey your readers. Create a free report. These can be highly viral, [possess] SEO strength and long life. Bonus tip: Add a retweet button for Twitter in your PDF document.
- Top ten contests are another content strategy. People love recognition. Ask for nominations. Recruit judges, announce finalists and give winners a badge. Do something that is fun in order to create a lot of buzz.
- Photo contests. People love to win. Photos are fun and personal. Launch photo contest stats.
Essentially, don't allow your message to come across as a marketing strategy. Truly engage your audience, build relationships with them, and converting them into customers will be much easier than depending on some slick tagline that says your item is the best ever. From Stelzner's perspective, the goal is to build your site/business into a great gathering place.
If this is the focus instead of converting visitors, attracting these potential conversions will be a much easier task to accomplish.