Are you Socially Savvy?
There is no denying that social media has revolutionised business marketing over recent years. The immediate benefits are obvious – a service that allows you to interact with people and share your information with them regardless of their location or the time of day. But you still need to posses the right skill-set to make your social media posts interesting, and be able to balance your posts well to avoid setting off spam triggers.
For any business wanting to expand their reach, social networking is a perfect online tool to use to achieve your goals. The flexibility it gives you to reach potentially thousands of people all over the world while you are allowed to stay rooted to one spot is amazing. The hours of legwork you can save not having to send human sales representatives out on the road to broker new business contracts is also a bonus, and your business can keep a tighter budget for sales and marketing purposes.
How to use social media for business
Social media platforms such as Facebook, Foursquare and Twitter for example also seem to attract certain types of people, so you can target particular markets that you want to focus on much easier that the old fashioned way of casting your net wide through newspaper and magazine advertising in the hope of attracting a small percent of readers. There have been a lot of demographic research conducted on social media sites over recent years, so you can use these as indicators to help you target the niche market you want to attract to your business or specific products or services.
For a new business start-up with limited resources and a small budget to work with, the best news to their ears is that social media is free to join. You can set up numerous accounts across different social networks at absolutely no cost. This gives a new business a foot in the door to start raising their public profile and develop their unique online brand. You can attract a nice following on social media just by posting regular, useful and interesting information. People will follow you because they find what you have to say interesting, and will be happy to hear more from you. After you have established a decent core following, you can look at plugging in your adverts on social networks.
To pay or not to pay
The fees for social media advertising is still very affordable considering the significant exposure your adverts will get, especially when you compare the rates to more traditional marketing that may not have the same reach as social media, or have the opportunity to go viral, especially if you choose to explore the potential of video marketing. At the end of the day social media marketing will help you to carve out a niche in your chosen industry quickly and at little cost.
If your business involves a fast turnover of goods, social media marketing enables you to get your information out quickly and easily. This is most important if you have time-specific sales or are running a clearance sale with goods that have a limited stock. Social media sites are a great platform for immediate marketing – no waiting around for newspaper deadlines, printing and distributing.
Are there any downsides to using it?
Although social media marketing can reap your business great rewards, there will always be downsides to consider. This is true of any form of advertising and marketing efforts, but it is still worth considering. For example, it will still take some time for your social media marketing efforts to come to fruition – online success does not happen overnight.
Testing the different markets and monitoring the results will take a huge slice out of your time and efforts, and some marketing may well result in absolutely zero return for your campaigns. Obviously your adverts on Fouresquare or Twitter will bring you nothing if your target audience do not have accounts on these social media sites to begin with. You must be prepared to have an alternative marketing campaign in place as a back-up plan if your initial marketing effort does not work for you.
Protecting your reputation
Another thing to think about when you are planning your social media marketing strategies is that just as good news spreads fast, so does bad information about your company. Poor information and bad PR can spread like wildfire, so take some time to plan and review your posts before sending them out. Social media is all about ‘the here and now’ and instant gratification, but a poorly researched piece of information can do more damage to your company profile in a very short amount of time – often much quicker than the time it took to build up your good reputation.
Social media can be dangerous in the wrong hands, or left to staff members who may let their emotions get away with them and react impulsively in the heat of the moment. This is especially important when dealing with customer queries, or negative feedback posted online about your products or services. Your reputation will suffer if you chose to ignore comments and queries, especially negative ones, but people are pretty reasonable and will appreciate seeing timely and helpful responses to customer comments, both negative and positive.
Be aware of the rules
If social media networking is new to you, then take some time out before embarking on your first campaign to read and understand privacy and anti-spam laws. This way you will avoid the possibility of being banned for using social media for excessive marketing strategies, or posting information that breach certain rules.