You’ve been posting to your social media, so what’s next… now you need to market it to drive activity and traffic to your social media efforts… which leads to increased sales.

In a series of blogs I began in January I’m addressing four vital components for Social Media success. In January I focused on, ‘Company and brand positioning using social media’, February’s topic was, ‘Market research and customer profiling using social media, now for March I will cover, ‘Utilizing social media for online promotions’. That leaves, ‘Tying your social media marketing efforts to your traditional advertising and media’ for my final in installment of the series in April.

Social Media Marketing (SMM) programs usually center on efforts to create content that attracts attention and encourages readers to share it with their social networks. Your company message spreads from user to user and resonates because it appears to come from a trusted, third-party source, as opposed to the brand or company itself. This is an old marketing activity with an Internet spin, which is referred to as ‘word-of-web’ and results in ‘earned’ media.

Another popular and productive SMM approach is online promotions, and involves engaging in ‘paid’ media. SMM efforts begin by simply dedicating a ‘social sharing’ area on your home page with click-on icons that lead to your social media pages. The next step would be to engage in campaigns and contests to increase your community of followers. Then with an increased community you can implement ad campaigns and contests via Facebook, OfferPop, Google AdWords, etc. to further drive traffic and sales.

432 companies listed in Internet Retailer’s 2011 ‘Top 500 Guide’ have a presence on Facebook. That’s 16% more than the 371 that had pages on Facebook in 2010 and a 52% increase from 284 in the 2009 edition. Retailers are finding new ways to reach customers via social networks. For instance, Wal-Mart delivers its Facebook fans store-specific information, such as in-store events and promotions.

A few targeted campaigns and contests we at Everbearing Services recommend, develop and/or implement for clients include:

  • Facebook campaigns to increase ‘Likes’ or followers, such as, become our 100 follower and receive a percent off coupon on good or services
  • OfferPop campaigns through Facebook offering a discount coupon on goods or services to a tailored audience
  • OfferPop/Facebook contests soliciting voting for two products, with winner and a reward

With Facebook advertising campaigns you can tap into and drill down into the existing personal profile information Facebook has gathered and indexed from their registered users. This allows you target your campaigns to your specific and selected existing and potential customer demographics.

Companies that engage SMM campaigns have found that the potential customers they attract spend 20 to 40 percent more money in their products or services than others, Bain and Company suggested in a report. SMM not only boosts online conversions but increases in-store traffic. Engaging potential customers with comprehensive social marketing campaigns has been shown to improve visibility and accessibility.

Keeping customers engaged with SMM helps companies retain customers, but it also attracts new ones. Therefore companies are using SMM as part of greater Internet marketing campaigns aimed at boosting their web presence. SMM also delivers a strong tool based on its limited overhead costs. When combined with compelling content it drives fans, followers and other prospects to convert.

Engage in Social Media Marketing success tactics today – as you are ignoring potential customers and sales when you delay or overlook this powerful new medium.

Here are links to parts One and Two of my series: