Author: Guest blogger Lindsey Patterson:
The new wave in marketing is clearly social media. However, social media marketing involves more than just creating accounts on every social network. Businesses that are using social media to its full potential are seeing more click-throughs and more conversions. These companies are using social media integration strategies to engage customers, expand their reach and enhance the online reputation of their brand.
Social networks provide platforms where communities can form around specific topics, industries and interests, and your business can become an influence in the conversations revolving around your own brand.
Google+ is fast becoming a necessary part of any social media marketing plan. With personalized search results, Google+ is one of the best ways to reach your niche community. Take advantage of the following G+ capabilities.
1 Become a member of any Google+ Communities which relate to your industry. You can’t circle an individual until they circle you, so Communities allow you to extend your reach and create business contacts when appropriate. You can also influence conversations amongst consumers about your brand.
2 Google+ Hangouts are an easy way to create content marketing. You can hold panel discussions with experts from your field or Q&A sessions with actual customers about new products and services. Record this video chat session and upload it to YouTube from the same G+ network. One Canadian photographer, Billy Wilson, has had success creating a following on Google+ using Hangouts On Air. He brings together artists, musicians and personalities every week to discuss world issues in a Hangout called, “That Show With Billy Wilson.”
3 Being that Google is already a search engine giant, establishing Google Authorship is the way to place your business at or near the top of search results. This is established simply by linking your G+ profile to your company website or blog and vice versa. Google ranks Google Authorship posts at the top of the results. The link to your post, which will include your profile picture, will stay ahead of any knock-off posts which might have followed your original content.
4 Google+ Events is a great way to promote parties, promotions or sales, and webinars for your business. The invitations sync automatically with Google Calendars, and attendees can share photos of the event directly to its photo album using a mobile app.
Approaching one billion users, Facebook is obviously a marketing force that can’t be ignored. Zappos, an online shoe sales company, has created a successful Facebook marketing campaign. Their slogan, “Let’s be in a Like-Like Relationship” is a clever invitation to become a fan of their Facebook page. Here are three other ideas which can help you develop a Facebook following.
1 Offer certain “fan-only” content.
2 Start a photo contest such as Fan-of-the-Week where fans can share photos of ways they are using your products.
3 Giveaways encourage fans to invite their friends to like your page.
Integrate Your Platforms
An essential part of any marketing plan is knowing the message you want to share. The delivery of this message should vary with each platform but the message itself must be clearly maintained. Consumers lose interest quickly in businesses that copy and paste content into multiple platforms. However, you can link your accounts and platforms to help spread the word about your brand. For example, Vivint, a home security and automation company, is an active user on Google+, using it as a platform to connect people to their blog and websites. The final three tips for integration are taken from Vivint’s example.
1 Post regularly to a company blog and share the links on social platforms.
2 Use a variety of content for posts including video, articles and photos.
3 Use widgets on your blog and websites to encourage users to share content.
With these tips, you can use Google+ and social media platforms to develop a community. When customers feel a part of your community, they develop trust, which results in more loyalty and referrals for your business.
Lindsey Patterson is a freelance writer who specializes in technology and the latest social trends, specifically involving social media. She is currently a social media advisor to Vivint. Be sure to follow them as well via Vivint’sTwitter.