First, lets look at how we used to use social media, and how it has changed.
Social media marketing, old school: Hit as many people as possible between the eyes with your product or service, and see what happens. The more people you hit, the more will convert to customers. When Twitter and Facebook came along, businesses thought, “Great! A free way to bombard as many people as possible with advertising promoting my stuff.” This is why many people think social media doesn’t work for businesses, and why so many prospects agree. Is there a better way, though?
Marketing model, now: Don’t hit your prospects! Connect with them, and then start listening to social media to see where else they are going to get great content. The idea here is to learn more about them so you can target your marketing more and more, and be more relevant than anyone else.
One of the ways you can do this is to use HootSuite or Rebel Mouse to create a stream of your customers tweets, Facebook updates, and Linkedin updates. Use the filters in Rebelmouse to keep only the posts with shared URL’s in them, and then collect them all in a spreadsheet and see if some keep popping up with more regularity. These are the sites that your customers and prospects are going that have good enough content to share. This is where you want to be.
In short, listening to social media is your secret weapon to understanding your customer, prospects, and targeting your marketing.