Has anyone ever asked you, “What is your goal for social media?”
If you’re working with a social media consultant, I sure hope so. If the consultant hasn’t asked you, how does he know how to help you?
Many people automatically say “sales,” but that is not the only reason to engage on social media. While I believe good social media engagement can lead to sales, it’s not the only-or best-reason for being there.
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Here are some great alternative answers:
This is the goal most people associate with social media. After all, we often call it “social media marketing.” A lot of what we do on social media is to get in front of our potential customers and create awareness for a product or service.
Just like meeting new people face-to-face at your local chamber of commerce event, social media platforms like Twitter can provide infinite opportunities to meet new people who are not local.
Do you want to branch out into the Australian market? Search Twitter for Australians who are talking about needing your product or service. Are you looking for a speaking engagement in Europe? Search Twitter for opportunities and other speakers whom you can ask for advice.
Be prepared to offer help in return. Networking, like social media, is a two-way street.
3. Customer service
Some companies set up social media accounts just to service customer inquiries and complaints. I see this mainly on Twitter, where companies like HootSuite and Best Buy have dedicated help accounts to answer queries.
4. Education (for yourself)
Where did you go when you needed to research something 20 years ago? The library? The newspaper archives?
Now you can find everything you need online. No matter what your topic, there are people tweeting and posting about it. Find them, and they will point you to a cache of resources you wouldn’t otherwise have access to.
5. Education (for your potential customers)
Do you have a complicated product line? How-to videos or blog posts can be excellent ways to educate your customers on how to use it. These videos or posts will also save you time, as they will be a resource for the next person who asks about the product line.
Other great things to educate your customers about are manufacturing processes, benefits of organic products, how new products are developed and so much more.
6. Market research
Whether you’re starting a new business or updating your business path for the next three years, you can find much of what you need online.
You can find demographic and population information on government websites. You can research company names, locations and franchise opportunities. Some of this is available through Google, but think of the additional information you’ll have access to if you join groups on LinkedIn or search Twitter.
7. Competitive research
Social media makes it very easy to check up on your competition. See where their gaps are and fill them yourself!
Is it part of your business model to change the way people do something? Whether you’re lobbying the government for tighter food-safety regulations or promoting a boycott of Monsanto products, never before have you had the ability to reach millions of people so easily.
9. Achieve expert status
This is a popular one for consultants. It’s hard to sell your time, but if you create a reputation as an expert in your field, it becomes easier.
Providing useful content on your social media channels can help people see your expert status in ways they might not if they simply met you at a networking event. With the addition of endorsements and recommendations, word-of-mouth marketing has taken over and other people can help you build that reputation.
Oreo is a great example of this. Oreo has garnered more than 33 million Facebook fans and more than 108,000 Twitter followers just by being entertaining. Who knew there were so many ways to talk about a cookie?
11. To grow your list/fill your funnel
You can use social media to direct people to your email or other marketing funnels. This works especially well if you have an incentive to give, like an e-book or whitepaper.
12. To garner media attention
If you need to build relationships with the media, social media might be the way to do it. Ninety percent of the local media in my area use Twitter-some more effectively than others, of course.
Because you now have direct, public and easy access to many forms of media, you should be able to find the people you need to help forward your cause, build your business or get information out there.
While this wasn’t a goal for my business, I’ve built relationships with a couple of local journalists through Twitter. They call on me when they need a social media expert for their stories.
Some people will say you should be doing all of this anyway, and maybe you should. But you can only focus on a few at a time.
All of these goals do tend to nicely intertwine. Manage to incorporate all of them into your strategy, and you’ll be the next big thing. Focus on a select few, and you will be prepared to reach your business goals.
It’s a win-win. Your customers win because your efforts are focused and they know what to expect. You win because your efforts are focused and you know what to post!
What are you doing to reach your social media goals?
This article is republished with permission, courtesy of 12 Most.