How to Use Social Media to Acquire New Customers

This is a guest post by Megan Webb of RMI.

People are always looking for new and interesting ways to use social media to drive new customer acquisition. But before you jump on the social media bandwagon, consider the tips below to ensure you’re adopting a social media strategy that will garner real results.

* Identify and define your audience

Are your current and potential customers active in the social media space? Will a social media program increase customer engagement while driving new customer acquisition and sales?

If your answer is yes, begin by identifying and obtaining a clear understanding of your target audience. This includes researching how they are interacting with brands and your competitors in the social media arena, what information they are seeking about your business and the marketplace, what motivates them to buy, and how they purchase.

As with any marketing strategy, this is a crucial step in measuring the long-term success of your campaign. Social media is no exception.

* Satisfy a need/provide value

What are social media users looking to get out of their participation in your company’s social media platforms? What are the benefits for them to interact with your brand? Is it access to exclusive content, special offers, deals or discounts?

There are millions of social media platforms for which social media users can participate and engage. Whatever value you are providing, make sure the benefits of participation are highly visible and consistent.

* Integrate social media with other marketing strategies

Social media is only one tool in the marketing tool chest. A valuable social media program should be integrated with your existing marketing efforts.

Whether you’re using online customer acquisition, public relations, advertising, or interactive marketing to acquire new customers, social media marketing is much more effective when consistent and streamlined with your other marketing efforts.

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* Be active

Many social media platforms are created with great intentions and great enthusiasm. Weeks pass and interest fizzles, people get busy, and the company’s social media channels are left untouched and unmaintained.

Just like with any marketing initiative, if you’re not creating a level of consistency, the benefits are severely limited. You wouldn’t create a website or a marketing brochure and never update it again, would you?

The point being, if you’re not going to maintain your social media platforms, don’t set them up to begin with. Understand that if you’re not interacting with your customers on a regular basis there is virtually no point to operate in this arena.

* Listen, learn, react

Social media is a terrific tool to gain insight into your current and potential customers’ needs, wants and thoughts about your business. Encourage customer participation and really listen to what they are saying.

Most importantly, learn something from it and react to make needed changes. This is a great way to get a pulse check on your business. Take advantage of this unparalleled opportunity.

Before embarking on a social media marketing strategy, remember that it takes time, effort and a sound strategy to make it a success. Before diving in, make sure you understand how to connect with your customers in this space and how to create an integrated marketing program that uses social media as just one part of the marketing mix.

Megan Webb is a PR Consultant for Response Mine Interactive (RMI). RMI is an award-winning online customer acquisition agency that helps companies acquire more customers using direct response interactive marketing.

  • I hate to see so many companies simply jumping on the social media bandwagon without doing any kind of research or strategy creation. They believe just because the platforms are free, there is no real need to plan… and they just “wing it”.

    Love that you pointed out that you should integrate social media with other marketing strategies. Many individuals believe that social media is the ONLY form of marketing they can do to attract clients. This is SO wrong. Social media is NOT the golden ticket to acquiring new customers, it is only a catalyst and customer service platform.

    BUT most of all… ppl really have to STOP trying to “make money” with social media. These are social networking platforms, to talk, discuss, and engage. Doing so will in tern raise loyalty and create friendships. Then your friends know EXACTLY where they are going to go when they want to buy widgets

  • I agree with Kelsi. I see so many businesses that just set up a facebook page or twitter account that just make it, post a link to their site and that’s it! That is not using social media. If you are going to do that, then don’t bother doing anything.

    Do research, help people, and the customers will come without any pressure. Be patient.

  • Thank you Kelsi and Chris.It is so refreshing to read your comments,I fully agree with you both. Keep up the good work. What or how do you go about promoting your businesses?

  • First of all, I go about promoting by business through my self. I personally network online as well as offline. I try to be a social butterfly. I use social media, Chamber of Commerce, Ambassadors club, give presentations, attend presentations/events. This is actually one of my biggest ways of promoting my business.

  • I do a lot of the same things that Kelsi does. A lot of my business came from referrals and potential new clients going to one of my current clients sites and liking what they saw. Unfortunately since the economy has taken a hit, so has my client base. A lot of them have closed up shop (along with their sites), so recently I’ve gotten into more marketing and social media. It is a great low cost way to get more traffic to my site without being too “salesman” sounding. You provide a good tip or article and people will follow.