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Did you know that more people today own a mobile device than a toothbrush? Now thats something! Does even a day pass by without you logging into Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or some other social media website? A day would probably be an understatement. Most of us are connected to social media 24/7 or the whole time you are awake, to be more relevant thanks to our mobile devices.

According to a research Millenials and Generation Z, that is those between 18 and 36 years of age,are exposed to various forms of media for almost 18 hourseach daywhich is, to be very honest,way too much. This tech-savvy generation is becoming increasingly independentin every aspect of their lives and is quite optimistic of the future.

It seems like social media is not a passing fad. In this current age of social media,businesses and companies have an excellent opportunity to market their products and services directly to their targeted consumers. And while almost all of them is availing it to the fullest, are they really doing it right? The sad truth is, no, they are not. Majority of the businesses are there on social media but they do not know how to take advantage of it. While it is important to establish a social presence the story does not end there.

To make the most of social media marketing the content you share with the people has to be relevant and valuable. The type of content you share can make or break your marketing efforts. Thus,it will not be wrong to say that content marketing is extremely closely related to social media marketing; one simply does not exist without the other. You have to have a properly thought out content strategy. The content should be such that your audience can relate to it. Besides, it should have a creative and innovative feel to it.It should be meaningful, such that the audience is compelled to share it. Today every Tom, Dick and Harry has sprung up a business and made a Facebook page forit. Since everyone is doing social media marketing you have to have a competitive edge to be different. To stand out.To make an impression and toconvince people to follow and approach you. To not make them just hear you but listen to you.

That is not, however, the full picture. Marketing does not stop at sharing contentand information with your audience. You have to approach them, converse with them and keep them engaged.Make them return to you. You need to design the social media conversation, not just have it. You need topay attention to the audience. They want to know that you actually care for them. Whether you do or not is an entirely different story, but you have to act that way if you wish to keep them engaged. Communication has to be two-way otherwise the other persons interest just fades away.You have to not only reply to your customers but also resolve any issues and complaints they might have from you. Look at this prompt response from Coca Cola to a disappointed customer voicing his complaint.

Rhettt Gillins

Communication does not mean only responding to their tweets or Facebook comments. Yes, that is definitely important but you have to go further. Come up with novel ways of communicating with the audience. Take, for example, Primark who allow their customers to upload on their website photographs of them wearing apparel bought from the brand. They can show off their looks they achieved through Primark clothing. Through this Primark has hit upon the selfie culture so dominant today among, particularly, the Millenials.This allows their customers to stay engaged.

Primark

Another example is that of Coca-Colas Puerto Rican operation who came up with the emoji URL for their make it happy campaign. They found out that the younger generation uses a lot of emoticons in their conversations so they came up with the idea of adding that to their website URL. This led to a 600% increase in the traffic to their website. This is calledsuccessfully relating to the audience.

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Another thing to consider is the type of social media you are using. You have to make sure it is relevant otherwise it is of little or absolutely no use whatsoever. For instance, since Twitter has a 140 character limit, if you are using this platform you can share only a very brief summary of the stats or information. You have much more flexibilityin case of Facebook, where you can have more of a conversational tone and even share videos and images.LinkedIn is more for professional discussions. Facebook andInstagram are more appropriate, as compared to LinkedIn, for selling products and sharing their pictures with the target market. Whatever you use, make sure that your content is accessible and friendly. The platform as well as marketing strategy should be personalized according to the product/service and the audience.

So, while social media marketing is a powerful tool and presence on social media websites is important if you want to make it easy for your market to access and contact you, dont count it assimply one of the items on your checklist. Tailor it properly. Allow it to help you transform your service.Use it to build a relationship with the audience, and current and potential customers. And once you manage to have one, make sure to retain it.