Q: I have a particularly niche product in my business, how do I go about promoting this product via social media?
A: This is one of the most common questions that I am asked when it comes to social media marketing, and in short there is no one answer fits all solution to this, it really does depend on the product itself and your market. There is, however, a common belief that it is even trickier when it comes to niche products, so hopefully these next 5 tips will help get you on the right track.
1. Understand your market & go where they are.
One mistake many companies and brands make is just diving straight into Facebook, Twitter etc and expecting immediate sales. It’s vital to first examine where your audience actually is, like traditional marketing, social media needs to be targeted at the right place.
Utilise tools like Google Alerts & Mention to scan the internet for keywords including your brand, related brands and product types. This will give you a big indication where your audience is currently active, then you can start planning your strategy for the relevant platform.
Don’t be surprised if your audience isn’t on Facebook, Google+ etc they may be on more niche and specific social networks or even forums. Sometimes niche product/market networks can give you better results as users have specifically chosen to be there which gives you a far more targeted and engaged community.
Like any targeted marketing strategy it is key that you understand your targets in order to make your marketing the most effective it can be. By ensuring you have researched your customer personas and understanding what they are talking about, what they are interacting with and which platforms they are on you will give your social media marketing a great platform to start from.
2. Don’t shout, listen.
Once you’ve found out where your target audience is, the next thing you will be naturally wanting to do is promote your product or service to them. But hold off from diving right in, the most important thing to do is understanding the network, the audience and the tone of conversation that is taking place.
So spend time listening and observing the interactions that are taking place, you will also be able to spot influencers in the community, by then targeting these influencers in your social strategy you will be able to get maximum results from your social media activity.
Another key thing to look at is the timing of posts within the community, see when they are most active, this is becoming more important especially on Facebook where posts will be limited to a small number of users so you need to ensure it appears when they are on social media and not lost in the timeline.
3. Engage & Develop Relationships.
Once you start engaging you need to remember it’s not about going in for the quick wins, social media is about developing long term relationships with the community, in the early stages you should put in more than you get out. Despite the fact senior management will be asking to see figures about Likes, Followers and ROI, you need to keep focused on the long term goal.
One of your key objectives on social media presence should be to add value to the community. One of the main reasons people use social media can be summed up by the LCD Model, (Listen, Communicate & Discover). They want to be educated, informed and have problems solved for them not be constantly harassed by sales pitches. Remember when GroupOn took off, everyone loved receiving daily emails, now people delete them all the time without reading them. Offer true value to your audience and you will reap the rewards.
4. Create good content.
“Not everybody likes kittens, girl fails, the Harlem Shake or bulldogs on skateboards. Find stories that resonate with your audience and tell them well.” This is one of the 80 Rules of Social Media, (worth checking out here) and is something you should remember when creating content for you audience.
You need to generate content that they want to see, and as mentioned before, will add value to their experience. When you have a niche product you need to focus on the interesting side of the product, from our own experience posting pictures of paint tins, (yes we did it, yes we know we were stupid) is boring, and won’t create interest or engagement.
Show off your product in the real world and share interesting images, stories and whitepapers around it. A picture paints a thousand words doesn’t half ring true on social media and a great picture of your product can work wonders.
Another great idea is to get your customers sharing their experiences with the product, as humans we love to share what we do, look at the rise of Instagram etc. If your community starts sharing your product or content without permission offer to help.
5. Create, Measure, Adapt & Repeat!
One you’ve taken into account all the above steps it’s now time to get involved but one thing to remember is that you will make mistakes. We all do, it’s only human. (I wrote about it previously you can see what we got wrong and how we learnt from it here.)
In the early days you will be testing and experimenting with different types of content and approaches, the key to having a successful strategy is to learn from it. By measuring the impact of the content you will be able to see what works and what doesn’t for your market. Lots of sites have in built analytics that will give you access to this information, the key is to understand it and then adapt your offering.
One key aspect of the repeat process is to ensure a consistent style and voice which is relevant to your brand, it’s vital that your social media strategy is also part of your overall marketing strategy.
So to quickly sum up, even niche products and brands can utilise social media, they in fact can have more of an advantage as they will find the have a dedicated and interested audience out there, and in some cases even have engaged communities already in place, and these steps will hopefully put you on the way to taking advantage and bring your product or brand social media success.