The Key to Successful Marketing Through Social Media

By Benji Hyam

The biggest problem I see with companies just starting out in social media is that they don’t seem to know what they should be using this medium for.

A lot of companies are using social media to “connect” with their customers by providing information about subjects like what their company has been doing lately, awards they’ve received, and information about their products and services. Hint: This is the wrong way to use social media.

Take a step back and ask yourself: Is this the messaging that will grow my company? Is the content I’m creating going to generate new leads or persuade people to buy?

If not, you might want to revise your social media strategy.

First and foremost, social media should be used as a pull marketing strategy. Unlike traditional marketing, social media isn’t meant to push your services and company information onto people in hope that they’ll buy. By doing this, you’ll likely have the adverse effect on your customers.

By providing valuable information to your customer that targets their pain points, you’ll be much more likely to gain their interest — which will result in them coming to you.

So what’s the first step in this pull marketing strategy?

Answer: Content.

Content is king in the realm of new media — and if you don’t have great content, chances are you aren’t having the success in social media that you had hoped to.

So how can you develop great content that will lead customers to your products or services?

Answer: Provide Value.

If you own a social media consultancy, write about articles that demonstrate your expertise in social media. Give away some basic free help, and when the people who are implementing  the basics realize what you’re saying is working for them, they’ll be likely to come to you for paid services.

If you’re a business coach, provide content on how to grow a business, or develop employees or a strategic plan.

If you’re a consumer goods brand that has a target market of, say, middle-aged men, create a community that relates specifically to them. Proctor and Gamble has done this with their website, Man of the House.

Social media is all about demonstrating your expertise on a subject and establishing yourself as a thought leader in the field — which will attract people to your brand. When provided value upfront, customers will likely be drawn to your paid products and services down the line because they will remember you as the person or company who helped them solve a pain point in the first place.

How are you reaching out to your customers via social media? What content are you providing to your customers?
Originally published: Sep 5, 2011

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