How to Become a Social Media Marketing Butterfly

How to Become a Social Media Marketing Butterfly - Small Business Advice

Written by TalkLocal Co-Founder, Manpreet Singh

Once, when I was a kid, I accidentally killed a caterpillar. My brother thinks I was just curious and cruel, but it was concern for the starving and thirst-stricken caterpillar that drove me to pluck the cocoon from its tree limb and begin scraping its surface with my bright yellow safety scissors. Once I‘d successfully pierced the surface, I lightly dabbed the gaping opening with water and threaded a leaf inside for food. And the butterfly lived happily ever after…for maybe a few days.

The chrysalis phase of development is not just for the natural butterfly life cycle. A missing or ineffective social media strategy will result in lost opportunities for even the best business. Tweeting, posting, and sharing before developing a strategy is like bursting through your cocoon as a hideous half-caterpillar, half-butterfly – a caterfly.  Worse, it’s the powerful wings that give the insect the strength to escape its cocoon. So, until fully transformed, your emaciated social media strategy, too, could leave you trapped in an isolated digital cocoon, a crumpled stump where beautiful wings should be.

How to Become a Social Media Marketing Butterfly

If you think marketing through social media is no big deal, consider this: consumer marketing firm CMB discovered that Facebook and Twitter followers are at least 50% more likely to become a paying customer after liking a brand. Just as important, they are at least 60% more likely to share or recommend a company after liking or following.

Here are a few strategy ideas to consider before your first (or even your next) post.

Review competitors’ social media activities to benchmark your goals and efforts. What are your top local competitors? Check their websites, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, FourSquare and other social media sites to find any accounts linked to their business. Study those accounts and note their account age, post frequency, engagement style, following, and response rate. Even after you’re active online, track competitors about every other month, as strategies and outcomes can change frequently and rapidly.

Create a dummy account on every site where your competitors have accounts, plus one or two promising places where they don’t. This account will be used just for playing with functions and doing other preliminary research. You can change the details to add your real company name or disable the current account when you are ready to create a real one later. For now, use your dummy accounts to:

-Sync email contact lists to each social media account (if applicable) to see how many people in your network are currently active.

-Explore the site to discover any tricks you could use for marketing, like the targeting function on Facebook.

Prioritize social media sites. Based on the apparent social media habits of your current network, your competitors, and your own preferences, you will need to be more active on some sites than on others. Pick one to three of the most important sites. You will need to create accounts elsewhere for visibility’s sake, but focus your engagement on your top sites.

Email friends and family asking for their favorite shareable images, videos, and articles. This is a great case study in what grabs the attention of your target audience so that you know what to look for when seeking shareable content. You will mix these and other random attention-grabbing content with industry tips and direct marketing. The latter should only make up about a third of your social media. The purpose of unrelated content is to connect with consumers and inspire responsiveness to improve your profile ranking and visibility.

Now you can start creating your account, inviting your email contacts, and generally break out of that drab cocoon with your beautiful social media butterfly wings!

Browse the Small Business Advice blog for more tips, and check in next week for more on making the most of your digital marketing efforts. In the meantime, check out my quote on Mashable, for a glimpse at what’s to come.

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