Saturday, February 28, 2015

Marketing on Social Media (1)

Note: This is a work in progress and so I am constantly doing more research and putting it all together in a simple, doable fashion that will help people to learn about social media and how they can become social media practitioners themselves, especially if they are on a budget and want to promote something of their own.

As I have been writing my series, new information continues to come out, which helps me to see that there are better ways to organize the information that I am giving to my readers. For this reason, don't be surprised if you find Part I updated along with Part II, and Part III as I continue to write this course. 

Part I (updated three times so far)

I have been trying to learn about marketing on Social Media for a long time, but I keep getting bits and pieces of information, yet never really get a cohesive, structured picture of how it is done.

I realized that oftentimes, this is because people who write about social media will give a little bit of information, but not all. They will leave gaps in between, and then sell you their services.

As a result, I decided to do a little research and write down an orderly approach to social media marketing, with all gaps in between answered. In that way, I will better absorb what I learn and can pass it on to whoever wants to learn, too.

Why Social Media Marketing matters

These days it still feels good to see your byline on a print publication such as a magazine or newspaper. The same could be said for advertising of products, services and gaining traffic to websites and blogs. 

But statistics indicate that 76% of businesses today use social networking; and businesses that introduced social media marketing to its overall marketing strategy saw increased revenue of up to 133%.

Steps for marketing on social media:

1. Have a targeted plan. Plan your social media strategy with your specific target in mind. From there, make sure that everything you do on social media aligns with your target market, and your goals for both your short and long term social media marketing plan.

What goes into making a targeted social media marketing plan?

a. Define your target public. You can know who your target audience is in two ways. First, look at your product and determine who would most be interested in what you are offering.

Ask yourself: What are you selling, and what makes it different from other, similar products that can be bought in major stores? Maybe you are selling rare food items that are difficult to access, such as third wave coffee or extremely high-end olive oil. This means your target audience is likely may be a chef, gourmand or an habitual homemaker epicure.

Who do you want to sell your products to? If your product targets families, you may want to focus on the decision maker of the family, the one who decides how to spend the money. In the earlier mentioned example of selling of rare food items that are hard to access, you are targeting high-end restaurants, hotels, resorts, chefs, gourmets, and families who love to cook and don't mind spending a little bit to experiment with something special. You may also want to include people who are old and health conscious, because a number of high-end products focus on squeezing the total potential health nutients within their food products for the benefit of the consumer.

Why should people buy from you? Whether you are selling a product or a service, you have to offer more than just your product/service to convince people to buy from you. Do you sell from a store? If so, are you open 24 hours? Do you run an online store? Free delivery of items would be an added convenience to consumers. Or, you could offer package deals with discounts. It's all up to you.

At this point you have analyzed your product, and figured out why people would have an easier and more pleasant experience buying from your website. The next stage of the job is to know your market better.

Know your market

Demographics: This is the best way to know your market. Are you only selling in your community? Do you sell statewide? Nationwide? Overseas? You have to know the demographic you are reaching for, because this is where you will focus your marketing efforts.

Next you want to zero into your target market in a focused way. Ask yourself:

1. Who is your primary market? Maybe your products can be used by a wide range of people. But you want to identify your IDEAL consumer. This is your target market, and this is where you focus.

2. Get first hand contact with your ideal audience. Join a food fair or convention featuring products similar to yours. This will get you involved with your ideal buyer, and give you a chance to oversee strategies of your competition -- especially your strongest competition. Doing this is an important part of your overall strategy plan, and it will augment your online media source of data and information that can beef up knowledge of your ideal buyer.

Seek out potential customers and ask for informal feedback. For example, if your product is food, offer taste tests, then have a handy laptop where they can fill out survey questions that are vital such as You can, for example, hire a food booth in a food fare and offer free taste of your your ideal audience' name, economical status, food preferences, preferred condiment, and social media sites that they frequent. 

Find out if they've ever bought a food product online, and why or why not. (Especially important if you have an online store). Prepare surprise gift rewards for those who fill a survey that will help you more keenly know your ideal audience. 

Have a raffle afterwards and offer a free sample product to the survey winner. Take pictures and upload them on your website.

3. Publications: You may also be able to find information in publications, which may track demographics, sales information, trends in your industry, and other useful consumer information through:

Learn their obvious characteristics. Once you have settled on your demographic and ideal audience, you can expand beyond learning the obvious special characteristics of your market. You can get a lot of information about your ideal audience by social media that will not be covered in a form. this can include local values, preferences in pop culture, general likes and dislikes, etc. You are looking for patterns in these types of information that can guide you in the look of your website and how it will function;  the content that you will put on your website, the ads you will make for your products, your website blog, and the like.