May 18, 2017 Patricia Maroday

7 SOCIAL MEDIA TIPS FOR IMPORTERS AND EXPORTERS

Still think “tweeting” is for the birds? The explosion in social media over the last 5 years has changed the marketing landscape for all of us. Customers are now going to social media for the morning news and looking at their Facebook instead of watching television commercials. In order to stay competitive, businesses have to go to where the customers are. That means diving into social media.

Haven’t started yet? Maybe your company has social media, but you aren’t seeing results? These 7 steps will put you on the fast track to connecting with leads and converting them into loyal customers. Let’s get started!

Step 1: Use The Right Social Media Tool

The most frequent mistake companies make when starting out with social media is they jump in headfirst. The common belief is that having a presence on as many social media channels as possible will bring in more leads… wrong!

Attract better, qualified leads with a strategic approach. Before investing large amounts of time and money, think about your target audience. Each social media channel attracts a slightly different demographic of users. Certainly there is overlap, and, depending on the industry, your company may need to use a combination of social media. However, focusing resources where the majority of your prospects are gathering is going to yield the best results.

Example #1: LinkedIn is the leading social media platform for business professionals. Use LinkedIn to find other businesses as customers. This is a great tool for importers and exporters.

Example #2: Pinterest has become the hub for creativity and DIY enthusiasts. Start “Pinning” (adding to Pinterest) to find customers with creative pursuits.

Example #3: As of the first quarter of 2016, Facebook had 1.65 billion monthly active users worldwide. Wow! You can choose your target audience by age, job title, pages they like and more…

Example #3: Youth have embraced video content as their medium of choice. Use YouTube to engage with a younger audience.

Step 2: Coordinate Marketing

Once you pinpoint which social media channels are most effective for your business, it’s time to coordinate. Your company’s social media should not exist in a vacuum. Rather, it must be intertwined with a company’s overall marketing plan in order to be effective.

Social media marketing is more compelling when the message is consistent with company’s overall marketing. Then relationships with customers, built on social media, will play largely into brand recognition, making your other forms of marketing “pop.”

Ever seen a #, also known as a hashtag, on a billboard, magazine, or movie trailor? This is a form of well-coordinated marketing. The # allows customers to find and interact with the company or product through social media. But wait, that’s not all.

These hashtags provide natural bandwagon marketing as your loyal customers chime in on the conversation. These fans of your company, through their positive comments, are providing better marketing than the best-worded campaign ever could.

One more added benefit of coordinated marketing. Three letters that have a big impact… SEO.

The larger your following becomes, the more credibility your social media page will have with search engines. By linking each of your social media channels, your website, and/or your blog together, it makes each one more “popular,” because they are all feeding off of each other. As a result, search engines will raise each one of your marketing channels in their search results.

Step 3: Be personal

While it is important to coordinate company marketing, it is also important to realize that social media requires a slightly different approach.

In the social media realm, it is about making a connection. Your potential customers want to be heard and converse. Save the advertising for pay-per-click ads on the side bar.

By taking on the role of the next-door neighbor, always willing to listen, it allows you to:

1 – Draw valuable insights into what your customers want.

2 – Assure them and allow them to feel heard

Company’s that crash on social media are the ones that fail to engage. New customers want to work with and/or buy from a company they can relate to.

Step 4: Add Value

More and more people are using social media as a way to access information. Use this to your advantage! Providing valuable information that enhances the experience of those reading or watching your posts is the best way to keep them coming back for more.

Most companies only post information that relates in some way to the product or service the company offers. This is great, but better yet, be attentive to other topics your potential customers are also interested in. By posting information on topics that connect with your audiences’ tastes, it grabs their attention and builds a connection.

Step 5: Be Consistent

Consistency is key. Maintaining engagement with an audience requires regular involvement in your social media channels. Postings need to occur on a predictable basis so that followers can anticipate when to check in for your latest post.

Have one “voice.” Some companies split social media responsibilities between a team of writers. There is nothing wrong with this approach as long as the “voice” sounds the same. Potential new customers will subconsciously become cautious if you message is incongruent.

Pro Tip: Using an automated posting service allows you to prewrite social media posts and schedule when they are posted.

Step 6: Promote Conversation

Social media is not meant for one-sided monologues. Sure, you will gain some exposure by simply posting valuable articles and information. However, the real benefits come from conversations with and between your target audiences.

Don’t be afraid to ask open-ended questions. People love to have their opinions heard and it is the best way to get comments rolling in on your posts. Then, promote healthy conversation by commenting. It is important to stay neutral in your comments most of the time, but a simple “great idea!” or “thank you for letting us know” can go a long way.

Seek out new topics to connect on. What trends are notable to your audience?

Example #1: If the Olympics are going on, post pictures of company employees carrying a torch.

Example #2: If it’s fashion week in NYC and your audience is into it, mention fashion week in your post.

Mentioning these trends in your own posts has two key benefits.

First these are topics that are top of mind for your audience. Their eye is immediately drawn to your post because it pertains something else that very much interests them.

The Second benefit is it makes your posts easier to find. Including a popular hashtag (#) or a topic that is getting a lot of search traffic automatically makes your post more “popular.” It is then more likely to show up for potential customers searching for the topic you mentioned.

Step 7: Measure and Adjust

Social media is an art. The rules and techniques are constantly changing. If you measure your results, it makes it much easier adjust your approach as necessary.

There are a wide variety of tools to choose from. Most of them make it possible to manage each of your social media channels through one program. It makes it easy to see the conversations taking place and map out demographics on your audience. When shopping around, look for tools that will help you track conversions of new customers.

One free tool to get your company started in tracking social media conversions is Google Analytics. It will monitor the traffic on your social media sites and, if connected with your website, can show you how many visitors find you through social media. 

Pro Tip: Link your social media with a landing page uniquely designed to convert new customers from social media. Then track your conversion rate for new customers solely from social media.

Social media makes prospecting for new customers much more effective. Not only is it an avenue for bringing them in; it is a way to foster long-term brand loyalty. And, a repeat customer is often just as valuable as a new one. Social media is a way to connect with both.

Dedicating resources to the right media channels puts your message in front of the audience most likely to be interested in your product or service. Don’t forget to coordinate with other marketing efforts and be personable in your interactions on social media.

Consistently add value for your followers and promote conversation. Finally, remember to measure your progress so that meaningful adjustments can be made to get the most out of your social media.

By following these steps you will have an edge. Intentional use of social media for business is relatively new. Not many have caught on and businesses continue to treat this medium as just another outlet for advertising. They are being met with lackluster response. The companies that are changing their approach to focus on connecting with customers, however, are experiencing incredible results.

Confidently jump in; there has never been a better time to start finding new customers with social media!

About the Author

Patricia Maroday I'm Mercabuzz’s co-founder and enthusiastic team member. I have worked as a Latin American Business Development manager in Europe and USA. Additionally, I have over 10 years of marketing experience specialising on the Hispanic and Spanish speaking markets. In my spare time, I love to blog, travel and do yoga.