Have you heard – social media marketing is all the rage! Many businesses are beginning to finally realize that they need to market where people are hanging out in 2012, and that’s at online Internet sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, Linked In, FourSquare and more. Registering for these sites is free and easy, but, whoa there, don’t take the plunge just yet, as you’ll need to know the number one secret to marketing your business through social media.
The secret to marketing your business through social media will be the one deciding factor to whether or not your efforts pay off. Reality is that although most social media sites are free of charge, they require a dedicated commitment of time to establish and nurture the proper relationships needed to help properly market your business online. Unless you know the secret, you may find yourself putting in a lot of time and then getting frustrated that you’re not getting the traction or results that you had hoped for. Until you know the secret, you may be able to brag that you have a Facebook page, for instance, but are still confused as to how to use Facebook to promote your business.
To properly understand the one thing that will make marketing through social media sites successful, you’ll need to clear your mind and try to be receptive to a new business marketing paradigm. The secret will surely test your traditional marketing instincts, and unless you accept that’s it’s a whole new marketing world out there, your efforts won’t pay off unless you’re courageous enough to make the shift. Even after learning the secret, you may be tempted to fall back into “old school” marketing techniques. Resist the urge to cling to familiar and comfortable marketing efforts that have dwindling return on investment. Learning the secret to marketing through social media will empower you to brand your business in new and cutting edge ways.
So here it is – the number one secret to successful marketing through social media web sites (drum roll please). “It’s the pull, not the push.” Let that sink in for a moment. For those who are already marketing savvy, this may strike a chord, and for those who are a bit confused by this simple concept, there’s much information to share.
“Push” marketing employs traditional marketing strategies such as couponing, discounting, specials, and give-aways. Now this is not to say that these old school marketing techniques have no place in social media, but they should be employed sparingly and carefully. Research clearly shows that when done too frequently, these push marketing efforts are not received well by the online community. For instance, if you’re a restaurant and all you do is update your Facebook page with your daily dinner specials, your customers will likely ignore your messages, tune you out, or worse, discontinue the online connection with your business. So there’s a chance in that example that the Facebook page may be doing that restaurant more harm than good.
“Pull” marketing is what businesses will find most successful when marketing online. Marketing your business through social media should be done with much respect and consideration for your customers. By providing your customers with lots of valuable information, surveys, games, and innovative ways to communicate with you, you will position your business and brand in a whole different way and establish a much deeper and more committed relationship with your customers. They’ll visit more frequently, spend more, and give you more referrals. Your business will become such a valuable resource for them, that their loyalty will pay off in many profitable ways. For instance, instead of just posting daily dinner specials, a restaurant could use its Facebook page to have customers share their stories about good times they have enjoyed there, accompanied by pictures of the food. Or maybe have customers vote on menu items each week to feature as a special. Engaging your customers in new ways will help “pull” them in. And that will be time well-spent marketing online.