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Get ahead in social media: be useful

Social media marketing is all about being useful to your target audience and helping people. In simple terms, solve the problems of the people you are trying to reach and provide them with information that can help them. It’s as easy as that.

Once you understand and are doing social media that way, you can build a name for yourself. Using social media in your business is a form of strategic marketing. Monitor and listen to the conversations online, mentions about your brand and products, and then use social media channels to direct and shape the conversation going on.

Doing social media this way as opposed to pushing the products you are selling to the people you are trying to reach is a successful method that many brands are ignoring. Instead they use their Twitter profile, Facebook Page, and blog to only promote their products as though their social media profiles were a type of shop window for what they are selling. If you treat social media like this, people will walk by your window without noticing you.

Social media is a communication medium

Of course you want to generate a good ROI for your brand with social media, and you will. Just don’t expect this to happen with the magic push of a button. Be useful to your target audience and you will get noticed. It’s really not that difficult with social media as it’s a communication medium that facilitates social behaviour. An easy way to do this is to let your employees respond directly to the problems your customers are facing in blog posts, tweets, and YouTube videos. Once you have helped someone with a problem, take a soft selling approach and just casually mention if and how your products and services can help them.

There are many companies that spend a lot of money in building their brand by sponsoring events and donating money to charities. They get people thinking and saying good things about them and their services. That job, building brand awareness, just got very easy and also cheaper thanks to the social web and its communication methods.

The conversation online

Monitor and listen to what people and your customers are saying online. People use social media to socialize online by chatting with their friends about their daily experiences. They ask questions, talk about new products they bought, where they are going to eat lunch, etc. They might be talking about your business. With all the conversation happening online it gives you an opportunity to listen to what they are talking about, and think about how you can help them directly. When monitoring the online conversation, you can help shape it by dealing with common problems and answering questions.

Your digital footprint (that consists of your blog, Twitter profile, Facebook page, or any other social media profile you have) should not be seen as a direct window of your shop where you are displaying only your products and services. It’s your image and profile online. It’s one of your customers sitting in your office explaining an issue they are facing, and asking for your guidance and a solution to their problem. Be useful and SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely) with your social media marketing strategy to get noticed.

Author | Anton Koekemoer

Anton Koekemoer
I'm your friendly neighbourhood digital marketing specialist. I specialise in helping brands connect with targeted customers by enhancing their online presence through emerging web-based communication channels. I translate business objectives into comprehensive initiatives that focus on humanising brand identity while maximising measurable business results. More

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