Social media marketing is not a short-term fix but it can be a very effective long-term strategy for any size business to listen to and engage with customers and prospects. If you are looking for a short-term fix you are going to be very disappointed. Success does not happen overnight in any aspect of the word and when it comes to social media it takes at least 6 months to really start seeing solid results. Although, it might not be a short-term fix, social media is vital to growing your company in today’s business world. Social media marketing is here to stay and the sooner you embrace this new wave the smoother the ride is going to be.
In social media marketing there are three primary reasons and functionalities, which are building awareness, building sales and building loyalty. When you use social media for your business it is a totally different ballgame than when you use it for personal uses. If you think Facebook is simply Facebook no matter what you’re using it for, you are sadly mistaken. Social media can literally make or break your business.
When you decide to take the plunge into the social media world you need to know that just like with any business plan it requires a clearly defined strategy that incorporates goals and objectives. A recent survey showed 73 percent of small business owners are now using social media. Why? Because now with the world of social media people are reaching greater amount of audiences and social media marketing can do amazing things for your small business, but in order to do so social media must be properly implemented and maintained. Not one social media marketing plan fits all businesses. You must know how it will best be used for your business in your industry. It’s no secret that social media when added to your marketing plan can help grow businesses, boost brand awareness, skyrocket customer relations and even boost sales.
Social media helps to create a personality for your business that traditional advertising just doesn’t achieve. With social media you can create a likable personality that people will associate with your small (or big) business. Big companies have big budgets dedicated to branding and marketing… that’s a luxury that often small businesses don’t get. That’s why it is a must for business owners to take advantage of social media marketing… it is far less expensive than traditional methods.
Since we live in a incredibly well connected world, social media makes it super easy to reach out to your customers – in real time! If you’re experiencing a slow business day you can turn to your Twitter or Facebook to get people into your store by offering a special one day sale that applies when they mention your Twitter or Facebook post at checkout or use a special discount code at checkout online.
Customer Attraction and Engagement
One of the goals and objections of social media marketing is customer attraction and engagement. Social media is a wonderful opportunity to engage with customers by starting, maintaining and joining conversations. In reality in just a few clicks of the mouse you are connected to thousands of customers and contacts. It is also majorly important as a business owner to read comments left on your social media networks, this is an incredible tool for gaining direct insight from your customers (current, past and potential) and even from your competitors.
It’s not about Self Promotion
The whole idea of social media is building relationships and growing trust and you can’t do that in marketing or in real life if all you do is talk about yourself all the time. If you haven’t discovered this concept by now, here’s a newsflash: People hate hearing someone constantly talk about themselves. It’s simply unattractive and the same thing holds true in the business to customer world. Remember, social media is about creating a personality for your brand so don’t always stick to the self-promotion of your products and services. It’s okay to step away, I promise. You want to create a likable personality, gain trust and loyalty and you do that by answering questions, providing helpful information and keeping a light sense of humor that gives your customers a reason to smile.
You don’t have to be Everywhere
This is a huge mistake made by a lot of good intention business owners. When you implement social media into your business marketing plan it does not mean that you need to jump on the bandwagon of every single social media network that exists. There is absolutely no reason to be on every social media network… not all of them are going to be the right fit for your business and because there are so many different social media networks there is just simply not enough hours in the day to properly utilize all of them. If you are doing the social media yourself you know how time consuming social media can be and you also know that you need to also attend to the other aspects of running your business. Whether you run your own businesses social media networks on your own or have hired an expert, your money will be put to the best use by finding which networks are the most relevant and effective to reaching your customers. It’s important that you only focus on what is going to work the best for your business and sometimes that means just utilizing two social media networks. It’s even more important to select those most effective social media networks and then execute your time on them properly, effectively and (this is a big one) consistently! If you only take away one thing from this post make it this: A neglected social media presence will reflect poorly on your business – if you don’t have the time and resources to actively manage and participate in your social media networks, then it is crucial you hire a social media expert.
Something that I stress to all clients, potential clients and whenever I am doing a speaking engagement about social media is that the social media game is CONSTANTLY changing and if you don’t keep on top of it, you WILL get left behind. Social media is not a fad or new trend, this is here to stay in the business world whether you like it or not. The popularity of individual social media outlets may rise and fall and new networks will come and go, the overall concept and value of social media maketing is here to stay in the business world.