Valerie Chernek PR & Social Media – www.valeriechernek.com

Posts tagged ‘Community engagement’

Waves To Ride in Social Media

Whether you write content fImage of an ocean and a big waveor a local boutique, a non-profit or a national brand, choosing the right social mix can be a million dollar strategy. Riding the wave of social media, however, takes time and a mindful approach.

Too often, I see marketers hammered by the real-time demands of social media. Its staggering to watch a busy in-house marketing team try to keep up with the buzz and then fall flat by letting complaints go unnoticed, missing rainmakers, or not cashing in on customer testimonials and product feedback. Feedback that would give their company high-exposure (free PR) or ideas that could help to uncover the next big product development feature.

In this ValTalkBlog, I’m outlining some key considerations to spark your process. These are points that I wrestle with in my sleep and certainly in the shower, as I’m pondering my client’s best options.

First, know the basic human needs of the big social media channels 

Twitter – I am important. I have opinions and want recognition.

Linked-In – I have skills. I can do the job.

Facebook – I’m showing you ‘‘who’ I really am.

YouTube – I want to learn or teach. (Note: captions, image descriptions and accessibility for persons with disabilities)

Blogging – I have stories that you will relate to.

Pinterest – I am creative. I want to inspire you.

As the world gets more digital, your customers’ individual preferences shine through social media, like never before—that’s valuable real-time intel that doesn’t cost a focus group.  So, your online company persona speaks volumes about “who you are” as a company.

Yes, we humans like to hide behind our computers and smartphones, but make no mistake: We’re alive and want action. We want to belong and to be known and we’re checking you out on social media.

Carve time out to talk with your marketing team about these 5 questions:

#1. Should we do a blog instead of, or in addition to, expanding the website? (consider breadth, depth, time, impact, good writers)

#2. Is our company persona or “voice” fun, professional, technical, trendy, quirky, or something else? Define it.

#3. List the common characteristics of your best customers.  Read know your best customers before embarking on a social media strategy.  Where do your best customers hang out in social media today? Do the research.

#4. What content do you have now to leverage in social media? Who will be the content sources in your company? (value, inform, resolve, provoke, inspire)

#5. Who, on your team, is the best person to convey your company persona? Do they have the time, flexibility and skills to do it consistently on every channel? Or just one or two channels that your customers use most frequently?

Once you launch into the surf of riding social media waves, get ready for ebbs and tides. Social media has transformed consumer behavior, but one point remains pivotal in smart content marketing, your customers want to be heard and responded to. They want to feel as though they are partnering with your company and that they know “who” you really are – your persona.

Lastly, have a back-up team member because real-life happens to all of us and time marches really fast in social media. This knowledge will help you build a vibrant online presence across the vast oceans of online communities. With the right strategy, you’ll be targeting the right people in your best company voice and you’ll be keeping those traditional lead generation programs and sales efforts humming in the background.

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Your Digital Marketing Persona

Wise Virginia Woolf said, “If you don’t tell the truth about yourself, you cannot tell it about others.”

comic of the big bad wolf looking in the a mirror.Admittedly, my blog speaks to something I truly believe.  As a social media gal who hangs out online observing others’ activities and talking their talk – days, nights and weekends, I can confidently say that consistent and honest engagement via social media is a valid marketing strategy.  Why? Because savvy customers and prospects want real conversation and the VIP treatment, whether they purchase a car, a subscription to your online learning tool or a designer suit.

Social media enables you to connect with your customers in “niche ways.” It gives them a glimpse of the people behind your company, what you stand for and how being in a relationship with you can add value.  Customers want emotional interaction, so when you plan your next marketing strategy, really think about a balance of information that meets their needs and turns prospects into new users, new users into experts and great customers into long-time fans. How can you make each of your social media channels play a role in the customer life-cycle and sales process?

Seekers of Information and Validation

The Internet has turned us back into “hunters and gatherers.” We want to do business with you, but we want something in return. We’re anxious for you to make us laugh, teach us something, do good works or tell us about your social cause. We want you to touch our hearts, make us angry or passionate–after all it’s a crazy world!  (I’m writing this on the 16th day of the U.S. government shutdown). Your customers (CONGRESS this applies to you) and constituents want respect, face time and to feel valued. If you do this now in social media, you are reaching tipping points in your marketing program that your competitors may not.  If you just spew information out, please stop and regroup.

Community Engagement – Dive In!

Community engagement is personal, subjective and real-time. You can build a quick profile of your target audience using characteristics, demographics, social media preferences, publications and more. Profiling allows you to tell good stories of why you’re great – not because you say it, but because ‘like-minded’ customers prove it.  Social media invites you to sync and leverage smart content messages within a well thought-out sales and marketing funnel. It’s a delicate balance, the tight-rope you walk over a customer life-cycle.  Remember, it’s authenticity that wins people over!

In your marketing campaigns, do you evoke emotion that drives customers and prospects (two distinct audiences) to relevant touch points? This can be done by a compelling landing page dedicated to the new user – maybe to watch a demo, schedule a chat, download a white paper.) You might reserve your blog for best-practice stories.  Your PIN for only great visuals or infographs that spark emotion. Your Scoop-IT to build credibility or Linked-In to strategically start a conversation.  On Facebook, when you ask questions, what do you do with the responses?Ask others to address the point? Or let the comment go by? People give opinions. If you don’t respond, they don’t like it!

What Will Your Next Digital Marketing Campaign Be Like?

Try this smart content marketing experiment! Run an entire campaign based on one emotion: “trust,” “fun,” “fear, “excitement,” “inspiration.” How might this be radically different? Fun is the new call to action.  Take the plunge and, if you need help, you know where to find me.

PS — Read my blogs on Raising the Power of Emotional Intelligence, What’s the Value of a Lifetime Customer, and Follow Your Rainmakers.