Companies that are successful with social media have two things in common: a dedication to their efforts and an understanding of their strengths. With Dell, the focus was online deals; for Zappos, customer service; at Starbucks, customer feedback led to in-store innovations; and for Internet sensation Blendtec, videos asking “Will it blend?” have generated online sales and attention.
Identifying and leveraging strengths have led these worldwide brands to success, and a similar approach can work for you and your business. When you’re first assessing the array of social media opportunities, you’ll want to experiment with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube, as well as traditional digital tactics like email marketing and search engine optimization. However, instead of having a presence on every network out there, it will be more effective to target specific initiatives and venues.
Which tactics should you use to grow your business—and which should you ignore? Your focus should be determined by three factors: the skill set of your team, the goals of your business, and the interests of your customers.
Whether you handle marketing in-house or outsource it, the people on your marketing team have specific strengths. Some are great writers; others have a gift for photography or video. They may be service-oriented or fashion-minded. While many bill themselves as social media generalists, able to adapt to your needs, you should learn where they excel. By tailoring your efforts to their skills, your team will be more passionate about the work, and you’ll get more for your money: People tend to go above and beyond when they’re engaged in a project.
Gumuchian’s Pinteresting pinboards
Next, you’ll want to ensure that your team members’ expertise aligns with your business needs. You may employ a talented YouTube specialist, but if the videos aren’t driving traffic to your website, your efforts will be in vain. Be clear about your goals. Increased sales are an obvious objective, but how will you get there? By improving service? Helping women be more fashionable? Educating customers? Be open to shifting your goals to meet the talents of your team. And if you haven’t created a team yet, assemble one with the skills that will help achieve your desired outcome.
You’ve likely been experimenting with social media for a while now; if you’ve been tracking your success, you’ll have some idea of what works for your customers. Do they comment on your Facebook updates, subscribe to your e-newsletter, and watch your videos? And which of these efforts has done the most to get people clicking on your website and walking through your door? If your goals and your team’s aptitude do not align with your customers’ interests, all this work has been for naught.
Take Romy Schreiber’s approach at Gumuchian, her family’s 33-year-old Manhattan jewelry business. On Facebook, her fashion sensibilities and Instagram skills underscore the fun and wearability of the designs, while also telling the brand’s story. Looking at the level of engagement, it’s clear customers are responding to her. Online retailer Gemvara emphasizes its ability to customize jewelry and promotes sales via online offers; it uses this combination to draw shoppers to its growing site. Another great example is Dan Gordon from Samuel Gordon Jewelers. You’ve heard Dan’s name mentioned in this column before, but with good reason: His genuine interest in talking to customers on Twitter—he has well over 8,000 followers—has generated improved trust for his company and, ultimately, significant sales.
They may not boast the success of a Starbucks, but these retailers show how successful focused social media marketing can be—particularly with limited resources. In an ideal world, we’d be everywhere our customers are and we’d experiment with every new service. So try taking a smaller approach to the enormity that is social media. It just may bring a far larger return.