Social Media Marketing for Business: Understanding the Five S’s

Windmill Networking Approach to Social Media Marketing

Image by Pete Kim via Flickr

I developed the concept of Windmill Networking to help both professionals and businesses understand and leverage social media.  Windmill Networking is a concept that, at the heart of it, is based on social networking.  But because social media revolves around social networking sites, businesses really do need to understand the social aspects of how users use these sites in order to adapt and be successful in business.  With that as the background, I offer some simple advice in today’s post revolving around understanding the five basic “S” concepts of social media marketing: Share, Support, Social, Strategy, and Sales.

Share

Social media is first and foremost about sharing.  People upload videos to YouTube, write blogs for the world to see, share their favorite bookmarks on Digg, and post links to interesting articles on Twitter.  If your company is aiming to start venturing out into social media marketing, you have to understand that the conversation can’t just be about you.  You have to be sharing information with the rest of the world while showing off that your company has expertise in whatever you do.  On Twitter, for instance, some say the ratio of self-advertising to sharing should be 20% and others 10% of all tweets.  There is no set formula here, but you need to be sharing some news about your industry or product that is not just advertising but genuinely providing valuable information to the community.  This “indirect” way of advertising, if done well, is what separates the savvy social media marketer from the rest.

Support

Social media is incredible because people are having real-time conversations.  There are comments after comments posted on bookmarking sites and blog articles, and on Twitter people are chatting about anything and everything as we speak.  Many PR agencies have noticed this and are urging companies to maintain a social media presence to protect or even expand upon their brand image.  Others see Twitter as a way to provide an additional channel for customer support.  Either way, if there are people chatting about your company and/or product, you need to be able to support them.  I had a very bad experience with a web hosting service, which I tweeted about several times to my 20+ thousand followers.  That company was not present on Twitter and didn’t realize that I had already given their brand a bad wrap to several thousand potential customers.  They should have better supported me…as you know, every support issue is a chance to turn a mad customer into a happy one, and everyone else on that social networking site will hear about it!  Your social media presence has to be one of supporting your customers, which should not be looked at as a “cost” but as a chance to increase sales because everything you do in social media is transparent and public to all!

Social

Social media is comprised of people becoming friends with each other and socializing.  If you are not socializing and making friends you should not be on social media.  If you are not engaging with your followers or potential customers, your social media marketing success will be negatively affected.  By socializing and making new fans for yourself, your business benefits because everyone around can witness this happening.  Social media can be the most viral piece of your marketing activities if done well.  Engage.  Communicate.  Socialize like a “rockstar”, because the “rockstars” of Twitter are those that are extremely social with their followings.

Strategy

Just as professionals must have objectives in using Social Media, it is even more important that businesses don’t waste time and money engaging in social media without a strategy.  Each type of social media has different functionality, demographics, and environment.  Take a good look at what you want to achieve through social media, analyze the different channels for social media, create your online brand and profiles, and execute while recording the metrics and outcomes you need to adjust your strategy over time.  Social media is a constantly changing medium, and chances are that you will still need to fine-tune your strategy over time to adjust.  Get used to being in a constant state of flux and making real-time adjustments to how you market on social media.

Sales

Everything that I have talked about until now is all hunky-dory.  But at the end of the day, if your social media marketing efforts aren’t generating more business, you need to rethink your strategy.  But how will you know if your social media efforts are contributing to your sales?  You need to be creative here and set up landing pages, trackable URLs, unique products, campaigns…anything that can help you track the effectiveness of your social media activities.  Numbers of Twitter followers and Facebook Fan Page Fans alone mean nothing, except that your advertising may be broadcasting to a larger group of people.  You can measure the ROI of social media marketing; there are tools for you to use.  But without being able to track your sales, how do you know how much to budget for social media?

There is much more advice that can be given to businesses who want to embark on social media marketing, but a lot of the advice will, at the end of the day, revolve around these Five S’s.  I look forward to expanding upon these ideas in future blog posts.

Did I miss any other important aspects that you’d like to point out?  Please feel free to comment and contribute!

(by the way, if you are your company would like a private consultation with me, please refer to my  services and contact me)

About the Author:

Neal Schaffer, Founder and Editor-In-Chief

The Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Maximize Social Business, Neal Schaffer is a leader in helping businesses and professional strategically maximize their use of social media. Neal is the author of three social media books, including the recently published definitive social media strategy book Maximize Your Social. Forbes lists him as a Top 35 Social Media Power Influencer and AdAge lists his blog, Maximize Social Business (formerly known as Windmill Networking), as a top 100 global marketing blog. Neal provides social media strategy consulting and coaching, having worked with Fortune 500 companies and a Grammy-award winning musician. He has presented worldwide on social media at more than 150 events and also teaches social media marketing at Rutgers University. +Neal Schaffer

Neal Schaffer
The Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Maximize Social Business, Neal Schaffer is a leader in helping businesses and professional strategically maximize their use of social media. Neal is the author of three social media books, including the recently published definitive social media strategy book Maximize Your Social. Forbes lists him as a Top 35 Social Media Power Influencer and AdAge lists his blog, Maximize Social Business (formerly known as Windmill Networking), as a top 100 global marketing blog. Neal provides social media strategy consulting and coaching, having worked with Fortune 500 companies and a Grammy-award winning musician. He has presented worldwide on social media at more than 150 events and also teaches social media marketing at Rutgers University. +Neal Schaffer
Neal Schaffer
PeopleLinx

Comments

  1. Dave Webb says

    Neal:
    So is http://www.mlia.com (my life is average) truly a teenager social networking site, or actual a social marketing site for businesses? My teenager spent several hours recently reading and laughing at the posts on this site. Yet every one had a positive spin on a business (a store chain, products, movies). Smells funny…
    Thoughts?

  2. says

    Hi Dave,

    I took a look at the site and what I read did not smell of any over marketing. There are ads on the page that pop up, but that is everywhere on the Internet. If there are some companies making up jokes to spread their brand, it is a creative way of using social media. I personally don't like it, but whenever you have a Web 2.0 social networking site with user generated content, anyone (companies & spammers in addition to real people) can post content. We all have to learn to filter through it.

    - Neal

  3. says

    Great post to show the importance of engaging and building relationships with social media. Twitter for example has changed the way people interact during webinars, seminars, etc. What used to be a more of a listen to the content being provided now has turned into an immediate reactionary forum where people using hashtags can relate to one another and share common interests (ie attending the seminars, webinars.)

    Blog comments is also a way to engage by checking tracking the comments or checking back to see if anyone has commented on what you have said or the blog author themselves.

    As more and more businesses realize the value in social media and come on board, the focus will be on a strategy that is unlike traditional media where change cannot be immediate. Social media is both proactive and reactive as it relates to strategy and how you communicate and turn sales.

    Good read.

  4. says

    The Statement “every support issue is a chance to turn a mad customer into a happy one” is brilliant. I've been sharing this on my twitter/facebooks status and my Boss gave me a thumbs up. Great Article Neal.

  5. dianawei says

    Nice! Is there a Marketing for Businesses on LinkedIn article by chance? Or better yet, seminar or basic training I can attend in So Cal? Love your SoCal Sushi Events and would love to try to attend other useful events you coordinate in the area =) Thanks again for always sharing your knowledge!

  6. dianawei says

    Very awesome! I just subscribed, so I'm hoping to be in the know about these webnairs now! Thanks.

  7. dianawei says

    Very awesome! I just subscribed, so I'm hoping to be in the know about these webnairs now! Thanks.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] I recently attended a workshop, “Driving Business with Social Media”, presented by Neal Schaffer, president of Windmills Marketing. The event, sponsored by the Rochester Business Journal, had an audience representing a broad cross-section of businesses from the Rochester NY region.  The presentation covered best practices for implementing social media platforms into every day business activities. Topics covered how to increase searchability online with blogs, and using LinkedIn, Facebook,  and Twitter.   The use of some, or all, of these communication tools have really become a critical must-have for the success of any company.   Follow this link to read a brief overview of leveraging social media for business. [...]

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