Social Media Strategies for Pallet & Lumber Companies
Follow Me: Social media strategies require more than generating followers to be a success. Learn from pros how to develop a winning Internet marketing approach.
By Chaille Brindley
Date Posted: 4/1/2014
Every marketing professional seems to be talking about the importance of social media. And they are right, it should be an important part of your business marketing mix. But how do you really grow and utilize your social media presence to translate into real business and lead generation? This articles looks at things you need to do to develop a successful social media strategy, focusing specifically on Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Facebook.
Creating a successful social media strategy is not easy. But many companies don’t understand this truth and think it is something that can be achieved with minimal effort. Allen Gendron, co-founder of Adeo Internet Marketing, spoke about the common misconceptions. Adeo is a firm that specializes in social media campaigns and works with companies in the forest products industry.
Too many companies start a social media firm and give up to easily when it doesn’t produce immediate results. Gendron said, “One of the main considerations is consistency. If you start a strategy, you need to finish it. Social media is all about building a community.”
A Good Social Media Strategy
The process should start with your “One Thing.” This is the difference maker for your company and brand. This passion is what fuels your business and will spur on your social media strategy. For example, Disney is not about movies or theme parks. It is about creating magic and memories. Coca-Cola is not about soft drinks. It is about refreshment and tapping into a little piece of Americana. Your core distinctive should come through in every aspect of your social media strategy.
The second key aspect to consider is your core audience or customer base. These are the people that you want to reach through your social media campaign. Is your audience top executives, purchasing agents or more operational personnel? What type of information is of most importance to these people? Remember, you are not designing your social media campaign to impress your coworkers or boss. You want to develop something that will engage your audience and prospective customers. The best way to do this is build a persona that describes your key audiences. Then, you can program to this identity.
After you identify your key audience, then you will use that information to decide your main social media goals. Increasing the number of likes on Facebook or follows on Twitter is not a real good goal. That is certainly part of the process because you need to reach a critical mass. Look for a goal that more closely aligns with driving business and actual response to your marketing efforts. For example, you can offer a contest that encourages people to retweet, share or somehow engage with your brand. A good goal would be to increase the number of brand mentions across the Web in a way that is traceable. This goal would be all about increasing brand awareness and the size of your brand advocates.
“Social media is more about branding and soft selling. It is about trying to stay on people’s radar so that when they are ready to buy, they think of our company,” said, Steve Dustin, co-founder of Adeo Internet Marketing.
Dustin added, “The goal is not about trying to close the sales on their first exposure. You are trying to position yourself as the expert and the trusted authority on your subject matter. You want people to think of you when it is their time to buy.”
You can use social media to achieve a number of different business objectives. This includes increasing brand awareness, boosting sales, improving loyalty from existing customers, handling customer complaints, positioning your company as an expert, etc.
Dustin commented, “The gold standard is engagement – how many people are interacting with your posts. That is what you want to aim for. That means people are listening and paying attention.” Popular types of engagement include retweeting posts on Twitter, liking a thread on Facebook, sharing something from Twitter or Facebook, commenting on a post, following a link and taking a specific action, etc.
One big problem is that social media is not an individual sport. Nobody should really own social media in your company even though you need champions to lead the cause. Social media should be something that your staff is involved in even though you may have an official company page or Twitter feed as well as accounts for individual employees. Remember people like interacting with other people instead of just a brand in many cases. But there are places where a brand will trump people too. It all depends on who your audience is and how recognizable your employees are in the overall industry.
Dustin said, “Social media is the best way to become a recognized expert in your field today,” said Steve. He added, “You can’t just have a faceless company; you need real people to carry forth your social media message.”
The reality is that most companies don’t have a social media policy in place. But you should. Think of it as a roadmap to guide your employees so they know what is acceptable, encouraged and the overall goal.
Companies need to realize that social media may be free in some ways. But it has a real staff cost. And you need to be ready to pay that cost.
Ways to Boost Your Social Media Presence
There are some tricks you can do to improve the size and interactivity of your online audience. Sometimes after your initial growth spurt you reach a plateau in building followers and audience interaction.
When it comes to Twitter, a key to finding potential followers is to check out the Twitter accounts that are following other key voices in your target industry, especially your competitors. Follow or send direct messages to these contacts. Retweeting content posted by another person or account is a good way to get the attention of this person because your retweet will send a notice to that person.
Contests can be a good way to build your social media network, particularly if people have to follow you on Twitter, like a post or Facebook page or take some other action to qualify for the prize. A key reason why you want people to like your Facebook page is that your posts end up in their Facebook feed once that connection is established. Also, both Facebook and Twitter allow you to promote posts and items to the connections of your likes and followers. This can easily boost response in a contest and expand your network.
Gendron stated, “We like contests because that is a good way to build a mailing list that you can use later.” Be creative with your contest, such as reward the most creative comment or the most number of retweets. Dustin added, “Be active. When you engage with others on Twitter, they will engage with you,” said Steve.
In order to make sure that your posts can be retweeted, don’t use up all of the characters in a post. Leave about 20 characters or so depending on the length of your Twitter handle. The maximum Twitter character limit is 140 while the count for an SMS text message is 160. How you compose your headline can attract attention to encourage retweets or shares.
Your social media campaign should also boost your search engine ranking if it is used to drive people to your website or blog. Some moves can help a lot. For instance, Gendron said that Google definitely considers your Google + account when deciding your search engine relevance for certain key words. So you should open up a Google + account and play with it if you have not done so and are involved with your company’s social media strategy.
Measure the Right Things
Many companies or marketers measure the wrong thing when it comes to social media.
Dustin warned, “First of all I am not a fan of the metrics that are focused on the number of likes on Facebook or the number of Twitter followers because you can easily fake that.”
He explained, “You can buy fake likes, but that can be dangerous because your account can be banned or if you advertise on Twitter or Facebook, it can drive up your costs. You are basically paying for non-existent followers that don’t really help build your brand.”
An effective strategy is to tie your social media campaign in with your website and search engine optimization plan. Thus, your social media drives people to your website to complete some time of transaction or engage some pertinent content.
Dustin clarified, “We don’t set out to reach a certain number of likes on Facebook. We set out to reach a certain group of people and make sure that they recognize our client as an expert.”
If all this talk about social media is confusing even though you know that you should be more active on it, consider working with a consultant or social media expert. You may still do your own thing some of the time. But a third party expert can help you identify problems and ways to improve whatever you are already doing.
Adeo Internet Marketing
Contact Allen Gendron at firstname.lastname@example.org, visit www.adeointernet.com or call 877-841-5386 for a free consultation.
Do you want reprints or a copyright license for this article? Click here
Research and connect with suppliers mentioned in this article using our FREE ZIP Online service.