Social Media is any online platform where people connect with each other, have conversations and develop relationships. Social Media Marketing is when you leverage those connections by educating people about your products or services in hopes that they learn to know, like and trust you so they feel comfortable doing business with you online.
To be successful with Social Media Marketing your first goal is not the sale. That must come later after the relationship is built. While traditional forms of marketing focus more on persuading or convincing your prospects to buy, the focus of social media marketing is different. The relationship must always come first.
Social Media works more on the principles of word of mouth marketing. Word of mouth marketing is when one person tells another person about a product or service they like. Studies have shown it is 3-4 times more effective than any other kind of marketing. When you combine the Internet with word of mouth marketing you reach millions rather than just one or two people! Social Media Marketing becomes Word of Mouth Marketing on steroids.
This is a difficult concept for traditional marketers to grasp in the beginning. The more valuable, relevant information about your products and services you offer for free, the more people begin to talk about you and the more people look to you as the expert in your niche. This will ultimately lead to sales but you must be patient.
There is a very important 6 step process or progression people go through before they become a client. If you want your Social Media Marketing plan to be successful it is important to understand each step and make sure you provide the correct kinds valuable and useful information at each stage.
Step 1 Connection: To make a connection with people in your target market you need to stand out and get noticed. You free instagram comments do this by giving out useful, relevant and valuable information on as many social networks as possible. You Tweet it out, post it on Facebook, offer free reports or e-courses and make You Tube videos. Then people in your target audience make a mental connection with you online.
Step 2 Conversation: Conversation is the whole point of social media so if someone comments on your updates it’s very important for you to comment back. They might comment on your blog or re-Tweet one of your updates on Twitter or they might comment on your wall on Facebook but the important point here is that they have noticed you they now they have a connection with you and they have started a conversation. Don’t ever let a post on your wall go unanswered or a re-Tweet on Twitter go un-thanked.
Step 3 Conversion: Conversion is when the person actually starts to engage mentally with what you have to say. They begin to actually seek out your updates. They begin to see you as an expert in your field. They will make a point of reading your Blog posts and sign up for your RSS feed. They follow you on Twitter and visit your Facebook fan page. This is good news but you can ruin it all by asking them to buy too soon.
Step 4 Consumer: This is when your prospect begins to consume your free content. If you have a freebie on your blog that you use to build your list they will sign up for that. If you do free teleseminars or webinars they will attend. If you are on Blog talk radio they might listen. This is the time to provide the most valuable and relevant content so they learn to know, like and trust you. Eventually this is how they decide if they will purchase some of your products or services. Studies show it takes between 7-10 actual interactions before a person is ready to buy from you online. You are almost there!
Step 5 Commerce: This is when the first real buyer/seller transaction takes place. It is important to make the process as simple and seamless as possible so your clients will feel comfortable doing business with you in the future. The payment transaction should be easy to complete. If there are any problems keep in touch. If they are not satisfied do whatever is necessary to make it right.
Step 6 Client: Congratulations! You have reached the final stage in your relationship. Your prospect is finally a client! They now have a history of excellence with you. They know, like and trust you and respect what you do based on the free content you have offered them and the products or services they have purchased. If they see another product of yours they like, it will be a much easier decision for them to spend money. If you have made a really good impression they will now begin to tell their friends and associates about you and the process begins with the next person.