Social media has grown exponentially over the last few years, and implementing it in your marketing strategy has become crucial--but you need to know how to best implement social media to work for your end goals and, ultimately, your bottom line. Watch today's video to learn why you need to be on social media, and how to create a social media strategy to best engage with your audience.


Chad: Hello, and welcome to our video where we’re going to be talking about creating a social media strategy. I’m Chad Hill and I have Adam Stetzer with me.

Adam: Yeah, good afternoon, Chad! Social media strategies are important for internet marketers. At least most people think so. I think there are still some people who are dragging their feet and wondering “Should I really be here?” Here’s a few stats to open up the conversation. You look at active users. Facebook is at 1.15 billion, YouTube at just about a billion, Google Plus at 343 million, and Twitter clocking in at 288 million.

That’s a lot of users, so there’s clearly quite a bit of audience here, and so you need to have a social media strategy so you can get in front of some of those viewers. So where do people just dipping their toe into this start?

Chad: Yeah, well, I think that another couple of interesting stats, and this is mostly for marketers, but some of the stats that we found are saying that 93% of marketers are now looking at ways to use social media strategies for their business. Now, you know, this is 2013, that’s not surprising. But that’s a pretty high penetration, so really the question is, “What can I do to create an effective social media strategy?”

I think the first place you want to be thinking, Adam, is you want to be thinking about what’s my message going to be, and what are the appropriate platforms for me, because there now are, as you quoted, a ton of these platforms out there and you have to kind of figure out where can you have an impact and where should you be spending your time?

Adam: Right, and it’s hard to not feel like you’re just blasting information out and not having interaction, so I think one of the keys here is interacting with people. People on social media like to feel like it’s alive, and it’s responding and they definitely don’t respond well to things that feel automated or robotic, like automated tweets, which is not to say that you shouldn't use technology to help you here.

So, I think there’s a couple ways to ease into a social media strategy. First, is there are some automation tools that, if done well, can really help guide your interaction. But, I think we've heard time and again that when people actually reach back to you and they’re talking back to you, it’s critical that someone’s monitoring and actually interacting. Another interesting stat here is that about 40% of social media users will actually purchase an item after sharing it or liking it or "favorite-ing" it. So, if you can interact with them and get them to enjoy the interaction and it’s around some kind of product experience or service, you might actually get a conversion.

Chad: Right. So, let’s step back and talk a little about, you know, you mentioned some of the technology social media tools that can help you once you craft that message, but let’s step back and talk about what platforms are right for you. So there are the big ones that you mentioned: Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus is out there, Pinterest. So, really when you think about your product and your audience, you need to think about where can you interact with your audience. So I think the first thing really is to do an audience analysis. Who are you trying to reach and where are they? If you’re in the home services business and you’re a remodeler, a lot of people are sharing a lot of information on Pinterest these days. I know is another popular site for people sharing home renovation type projects.

So, understand where your audience is, and then think about the next step which is really what you want to do to build your following and have some sort of unique value that you’re offering to get people to say, “When that person contributes to social media, they’re providing interesting things.” So, on that front, if you are a home remodeler, think about what kinds of tips can you provide or what kind of content can you provide that would be useful to people in your audience. Not just that same message saying, “Buy from me. I’m really good, I’m really cheap,” whatever your message is. Think about ways to soft-sell it, to come up with more content marketing that you can use to engage that audience.

Adam: I think you hit it on the head there. Soft-selling is really probably the way to go. As you’re formulating a social media strategy, I think you need to realize this is not direct marketing where you can use blatant commercial-type ads and endorsements. This is really more about building audience, contributing to the conversation, engagement, and then you’ll find that having that community can really be advantageous for some of your other marketing initiatives. But probably the first stumbling block most people will hit as they migrate into social media is realizing there’s certain rules of etiquette. The numbers here are impressive in terms of users and even how many of them actually purchase, but don’t come at them straight as you probably would in other mediums, and if you’re struggling with that, reach out to the experts who know how to do this.