No matter which, you need to connect with your prospective target markets to create relationships that make people in these target markets want to buy your products or services.
Let’s imagine that you sell a new kind of high-energy drink only available through your website. You have great testimonials, great photos of the high-energy drink, and an efficient payment and delivery system for the product.
But how are people going to find your website?
First, your site needs to have basic search engine optimization. This means that you have metatags that tell the search engines what your site has on offer.
Then you should have more advanced search engine optimization techniques that get the search engines to pay attention to your site. These techniques can include frequent blog posts or frequent new articles on your site as well as specific search engine strategies.
To get the farthest outreach to your prospective target markets, you should also use social media marketing. When done authentically and consistently over time, social media participation on sites such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn can encourage people to visit your website, sign up through your email optin software, and begin an online relationship with you that leads to trusting your products and services – or in this case your new high-energy drink.
Why does social media marketing work when done effectively?
Because it functions the same as the village square did in previous times. You “meet” someone, you ask a question, the other person provides an answer, you begin a conversation that can be continued over time. Perhaps you share information on the health benefits of your high-energy drink. Perhaps the other person shares information about the number of athletes who might illegally be on steroids.
Now imagine this relationship replicated over and over again in online communities with people who have an interest in a high-energy drink. And the best part is that the relationship can be one-to-many – meaning that you can share information with many people at the same time.
Of course it is not quite as simple as strolling onto the village green to have a chat with a friend who happens to be walking there. You have to choose which village greens you are going to frequent and with which online friends you’re going to interact.
And all the while, although you are engaged in online social activities, you need to do this from a marketing perspective.
Yes, sometimes the opportunities of social media marketing can seem overwhelming – so much to learn. The truth is that you can start with one activity, then add other activities one by one as you become more comfortable interacting online.
But if you don’t have a clear concept of your own brand – your Unique Selling Proposition – what makes your high-energy drink different from all the other high-energy drinks – you will have a more difficult time effectively using social media marketing.
Thus your first step is to be clear about your brand.
Your second step is to make sure that your website professionally reflects that specific brand.
Your third step is to make sure your website is benefiting from search engine optimization techniques.
Your fourth step is to add targeted social media marketing to the mix.
An added benefit of social media marketing is that certain aspects are searchable outside the specific site, such as a Facebook Page (not your personal Facebook profile which must be in your name and not in your company’s name) and your LinkedIn profile.
Thus links to your Facebook Page and your LinkedIn profile can come up in a Google search. This is especially true if you have used relevant keywords in your Facebook Page title and in your descriptions in your LinkedIn profile.
Bonus tip: The sooner you start employing search engine optimization and social media marketing to your website the better. You do NOT want to be the last company in your industry to take advantage of these online opportunities to connect with your target markets.
© 2011 Miller Mosaic, LLC
Guest blog post by Phyllis Zimbler Miller (@ZimblerMiller on Twitter) the co-founder of the social media marketing company Miller Mosaic, based in Los Angeles. She blogs at Miller Mosaic Social Media Marketing.