David Murray is a Digital Marketing Executive and Social Enthusiast. Passionate about the underworld of below-the-line marketing, David breaks the latest in Marketing, Communications and Program Management. Connect with him on Twitter @MarketVoyeur and on his website.
I don’t need to remind you of the importance in ensuring your business has a regular presence across relevant social media platforms. However, constant feedback from small businesses is “now what?”
Dude, Where’s My Audience?
Regardless of your objectives in implementing a social media marketing strategy, a targeted audience is baseline to ensure your content is delivered and shared. So aside from tapping into audiences via paid advertising, how do you connect with customers on social platforms? Well, it has been proven that a long-term integrated process of engagement, creative content and innovation will ensure your business will build an engaged community. But it is at this point where many small businesses tune out.
Social Media Marketing in 3D
In the absence of a desirable audience size, an increasing number of small businesses are undervaluing the importance of social media marketing. With business opportunities abound, it is time small businesses conduct social media marketing housework and prepare for the third-dimension.
Two-dimensional social media marketing recognises that there are two components; the product and consumer, and the objective is to pair the two via inbound or outbound techniques. Small businesses must now grow from this traditional base into the third-dimension of social search.
What is Social Search?
As the name suggests, social search combines the depth of social and the breath of search. It is a type of web search that takes into account the ‘social passport’ of the person initiating the query. In essence, the social passport refers to the global mapping of users and how they are related online.
Let’s say your business sells t-shirts and John is one of your customers. Amongst other social platforms, John ‘likes’ your page on Facebook. Each time one of his Facebook friends or followers search terms synonymous to your business, such as “Fashion that my friends like,” your business will near the top of their results and serve as a powerful customer referral.
But it doesn’t stop there. Complete strangers to John will also discover your business. Search queries such as “Fashion that people like who live in my city” and “Fashion that people like who play basketball” will ensure that a targeted audience is delivered to your business.
However, that is only half the story. You are now in the position to leverage social search technology to conduct market research, discover new opportunities, implement outbound marketing, track customer sentiment and integrate social data into your internal CRM system.
How to Get the Most Out of Social Search
Step One: Focus on Building a Community
Customers are 71 percent more likely to make a purchase based on social media referrals. It is vital that your business builds a community through a long-term process of engagement, creative content and innovation across relevant social platforms. The size of your community is in direct proportion to the number of referrals that will be produced for your business.
Step Two: Optimize, Optimize, Optimize
Social search takes into account varying sources of metadata, such as tags, social ranking, news, images, videos, knowledge sharing and other web pages. Social media marketers now have a huge opportunity to impact SEO, improve search rankings, and increase revenue generated through both social and organic search.
A discussion on social search optimization strategy is larger than this post permits. Most importantly, your Page or Profile is to be key-word optimized and the following recommendations implemented:
- Facebook – Graph Search. Increase your Facebook EdgeRank by sharing timely and engaging content across a number of content mediums, including; Posts, Links, Photos, Instagram, Videos and Questions.
- Twitter – Twitter Search. Share content across Twitpic and Vine and ensure your content is a Top Tweet by developing unique hashtags and aligning tweets with Trends.
- Google+ – Search, plus Your World. Develop content that is geared towards Google News and Google Trends and share keyword rich content across several content mediums, including; Posts, Images and YouTube.
Step 3: Research, Segment and Report
Be honest – how effectively are you researching new opportunities online, segmenting your market or reporting on ROI associated with your social media marketing campaigns?
Social search is the new tool in your social media marketing tool bag and is designed to be used throughout the campaign timeline. An optimized social search strategy will allow your business to:
- Conduct market research
- Discover new opportunities and plan strategies
- Segment your audience and build relationships
- Manage inbound and outbound marketing
- Measure conversions, track sentiment and ROI
Social search is the third dimension to social media marketing and is expected to grow exponentially in the short term. Get a head start – slip on the 3D glasses and inject a renewed perspective into your social media marketing.
Photo credit: Flickr user west.m