Social media is a powerful engine. It can reach new clients, build trust with loyal partners, and set companies apart from their competitors through the sharing of valuable content. But not everyone knows how to channel that potential. How can you make sure your social media efforts are providing a value add for your customers or partners?
Social media is more than a promotional tool, it’s a communication platform that offers the opportunity to educate and enlighten perspective buyers and current clients. The buyer’s journey has changed drastically in recent years, and communication methods continue to change as well. Traditional marketing campaigns no longer hold the value they once did because customers are overwhelmed by these methods and don’t want to be sold to all the time.
Connect with Customers and Partners
Social media marketing is a powerful tool to build and reiterate credibility. While business owners and their employees may be thought leaders or subject matter experts, it can be difficult to articulate that publicly. Social media is the perfect platform for companies to share relevant content and engage directly with their customers. Julio from rFactr believes that businesses can connect with customers through social media most effectively in the following ways.
- Communicate thought leadership and subject matter expertise
- Share relevant and helpful content
- Keep customers up to date with industry news
- Listen to what prospects and clients are talking about
- Respond to questions
- Connect with and segment customers.
Provide Relevant Content
Content is any article, information or tool provided to your social media users - the folks in your sales funnel. You need to provide content to these groups in order to keep them engaged with your company and establish a mutually beneficial relationship. You'll want to make sure this content is appropriate for your audience.
(1) Consider the funnel placement of the reader. For content designed for folks at the top of the funnel, you'll want content that's considered little-to-no risk like Blog Articles, eBooks, Guides or white paper content – anything that's very content-forward but with little commitment. Remember, you're essentially just polling for the interest level of the reader. As the reader moves down the funnel, more "risky" content should be presented. Webinars, Demos, Newsletters – anything that requires action for the reader adds risk.
(2) Consider the personas of the audience reading your content. What kind of companies do they work for? Are they decision makers? What generation do they hail from? Different personas require different approaches and your content needs to address these possibilities.
(3) Focus on providing customized content for your customers rather than trying to generate new leads. Modern customers are marketing savvy – you'll need to deliver something TO them instead taking information FROM them. Not only does this create engagement, it begins a fruitful relationship for both parties.
(4) Curate Outside Content. It's absolutely critical to pull some content from other places. Without outside sources, the organic growth and SEO value of your content will plummet. Content curation is also a fantastic way to position yourself as a thought leader and reduce your content creation costs. When searching for outside content, remember to use sources that are relevant and reputable.
Build Credibility and Trust
Social media is considered to be the new form of word-of-mouth. Studies like Edelman’s Trust Barometer point to customers trusting regular employees or 3rd party experts as information sources far more than corporate messaging. Because of this, buyers tend to trust social media more than other sources of information. To build on that trust, companies need to publish valuable content consistently through their social media channels. Consistency and value is what builds trust over time.
Social media allows businesses to continuously stay top of mind. Engagement points such as likes, retweets, or shared content are all relevant to building that relationship and providing value. Social media also provides a tremendous amount of data and information about customers.
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