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Why marketers are afraid of social media

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Because it’s new. And yeah, I know, it’s not exactly a hot-off-the-presses thing anymore. But it IS new in that it is changing every day. Which can be scary as hell when you’re at the bottom of the mountain. But I have faith in you, marketers. You can do social media marketing and it isn’t as daunting as it sounds.

How do you get started when the whole digital, social, mobile revolution seems to be sweeping along, not stopping for us marketers to catch our breath, let alone come up with a strategy that goes beyond “let’s make a viral video?” Just take it step-by-step.

  1. It’s ok to not know everything about everything social. Yes, kids are Snapchatting and people are Blabbing, but you don’t have to jump on every band-wagon as soon as it comes along.
  2. What social platforms are your best customers already using? If your audience is B2B, start with LinkedIn. Learn some things about company pages, showcase pages and promoted posts. Explore how many of your potential prospects are spending time there–and what content they are responding to. Once you get one platform down, take a look at another. Some questions to ask yourself:
    1. Can my brand be well-represented visually? If yes, think about Instagram or Pinterest
    2. Do my customers like visual stuff related to my product? If yes, think about Instagram and Pinterest
    3. Do my prospects use Facebook for personal reasons only? If yes, it’s still ok to run a B2B campaign targeting them there – you might be surprised at the results
    4. Are my best potential clients time challenged? If yes,  try YouTube or Slideshare, maybe Periscope if your audience is there
  3. Spend the majority of your time listening to your target audience. And by listening, I mean searching the social platforms and internet relentlessly to find out the content topics that truly interest and motivate your prospects. Producing fewer pieces of great content is far better than loads of mediocre drivel.
  4. You’ve seen what others are doing, now do something different. This is another reason it’s so important to listen. You can’t stand out from the crowd if you don’t know what they’re doing. This is also where it gets hard. Doing something unique takes time and effort. But it’s worth it. It’s the difference between being one of many of the same, and standing above the others.
  5. Not everything will work. Keep trying different things. The great thing about social media is the instant messaging feedback loop it provides. What did people respond to? You’ll find out pretty fast what flies and what flops. Keep testing those messages until you know exactly what your audience wants to hear. Then use those messages for everything you do.
  6. There are no rules. So you have the freedom to try campaigns, messages and platforms. If it works it works, if it doesn’t, move on to the next. Everyone, and I mean everyone, is still figuring this stuff out.

I know you feel like you don’t have time to get done what you have in front of you, let alone try a bunch of new ideas on new platforms. But trust me, just a little bit of time each day will help you get your feet wet, reduce the overwhelmingness of learning news stuff and will absolutely help you get to know your prospects even better. It’s not bad fodder for your resume either.