By now, everyone understands the importance of having a social media presence for their business – a Facebook page, a Twitter account, a LinkedIn page, an Instagram account. But what’s often less clear to business owners is how to take it a step further and use some of the other available social media features and tools in their marketing as well.
One of the most effective ways to reach your target audience on social media is through engagement in groups. Facebook and LinkedIn are the two platforms where groups can provide the greatest benefits to marketers, but each channel’s groups require a different approach. While Facebook Groups build a community of people who share the same interests, LinkedIn Groups are platforms for experts to solicit and share advice. Both require a careful touch when it comes to marketing – there’s no quicker way to turn off the members of a group than to spam them with sales pitches.
So how should you go about incorporating group engagement into your marketing strategy? Here are a few tips to get you started.
On Facebook, groups are casual, friendly, and helpful communities of like-minded individuals. While it’s possible to create a group that’s centered around your brand, it’s not advisable. People join and engage in groups on Facebook based on the image those groups allow them to project. In other words, while someone might balk at joining a group for “ABC Pastry Store Fans,” they might jump at the chance to join a group for “Moms Sharing Pro Baking Tips.”
Group interaction should be similarly focused on the people in the group, not on your company and what it has to offer. Interact regularly and authentically with your group members, and encourage them to engage with and support each other. Only share content that the members of your group would find truly valuable and interesting, and save promotional posts for special deals or news. That is how you develop a real relationship with your group members, gain their trust – and, eventually, their brand loyalty.
LinkedIn Group Marketing
On LinkedIn, groups are professional networking platforms. Rather than creating your own group on LinkedIn, it’s best to join an existing group for your target audience’s industry. Once you have joined, chime in with expert advice or thoughtful questions whenever the opportunity presents itself.
LinkedIn group members are even more sensitive than those in Facebook groups when it comes to self-promotion, so it’s never a good idea to pitch your products or services in a group, even if they would provide a solution to someone’s problem. Instead, you can answer the question or provide the advice by linking to a blog post you’ve written on the subject, or simply address it in such a way that you demonstrate your expertise, but don’t ask for their business. Reading your answer and seeing your job title and business name underneath your name will be enough to convince some people to reach out individually for help. For others, it plants the seeds of brand awareness and may lead to something down the road.
Engaging in social media groups can be a bit of a balancing act. However, engaging is worthwhile for the relationships built and the goodwill established with your target audience. Group interaction shows consumers that you care about them. Ultimately, this authentic connection can play a powerful role in transforming group members into brand advocates.
About Shama Hyder
Shama Hyder is a visionary strategist for the digital age, a web and TV personality, a bestselling author, and the award-winning CEO of The Marketing Zen Group–a global online marketing and digital PR company. She has aptly been dubbed the “Zen Master of Marketing” by Entrepreneur Magazine and the “Millennial Master of the Universe” by FastCompany.com. Shama has also been honored at both the White House and The United Nations as one of the top 100 young entrepreneurs in the country. Shama has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the prestigious Technology Titan Emerging Company CEO award. She was named one of the “Top 25 Entrepreneurs under 25” by Business Week in 2009, one of the “Top 30 Under 30” Entrepreneurs in America in 2014 by Inc. Magazine, and to the Forbes “30 Under 30” list of movers and shakers for 2015.LinkedIn named Hyder one of its “Top Voices” in Marketing & Social Media. Her web show Shama TV was awarded the “Hermes Gold award for Educational Programming in Electronic Media” and most recently she was awarded the “Excellence in Social Media Entrepreneurship” award for 2016 by Anokhi Media.
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