Everybody’s talking about social media marketing at the moment, it’s the next big thing. Some businesses have been doing it successfully for years, others have dabbled but not got anywhere, so the big question is, if you have not yet started to use social media to promote your business should you take the plunge?
Some business owners don’t feel they have the time; others simply don’t know what social media could possibly do for their businesses.
Here’s a quick perspective: If your customers are mainly over the age of 40, social media may be less important for your business. If your customers are under 40, then social media can be important. If they are mainly under 25, social media becomes very important. However research shows that the older generations are quickly catching up with their younger counterparts in the take-up of social media usage.
The younger generation have grown up immersed in social media; their smartphones are their primary source of information. Their buying decisions are influenced by social media. If they are interested in a restaurant, they can use Twitter first to access quick reviews of the food and service.
It’s likely they will check out your products, prices and services first in a similar way before buying from you. They prefer to do business with the people or businesses their friends like or trust. These recommendations override conventional advertising. In other words, the future is social media.
If you don’t have a social media presence, you are completely cut off from this world. Finding out about your reputation on social networks is just one good reason to take more interest in it.
What sites do you mean when talking about social media?
There are heaps of sites that are referred to under the collective banner of social media. Basically the underlying principle is that the site is interactive allowing the audience to engage with what is going on on the page.
Social media sites include;
- Google +
These are to name just a few and more and more are being created every year. It would be impossible for a business owner to manage a profile on all of these are social media marketing can become fairly time consuming, so a good rule of thumb is identify 2/3 that fit with your target market and invest time in keeping these updated. This means posting to them 2/3 times a week.
Why should I use social media?
- It’s free, you can promote your business to thousands of potential customers without it costing you a cent!
- It’s here to stay and if you don’t embrace it you will be missing out on communicating regularly with a huge percentage of your market
- If you are not on social media but your competitors are then you will not even be on some of your customers radar
- It’s a great tool for building brand awareness
- To keep in contact with your customer base
- To build trust in your brand
- To build up a better understanding of your customers
Some quick tips if you’re interested in social media
If you are going to take the plunge and test what social media can do for your business here are some things you need to consider;
- Define your purpose, just as you would for any marketing campaign. For example: deliver useful information, generate goodwill, drive people to your website, build conversations with customers, answer their questions and respond to any issues they have about your business.
- Learn about social media protocols first. It’s called ‘social’ for a reason, so don’t intrude on social interactions with clumsy selling messages.
- Avoid spreading yourself too thinly. Choose one social media platform first such as Facebook Twitter or LinkedIn and build a presence.
- Commit to the effort. Social media is inexpensive, but can be time-hungry. There’s no point in entering it if you won’t sustain the effort. If you want to be taken seriously, you’ll need to respond promptly to enquiries and keep updating your contributions.
- Study how your competitors are using social media. If they aren’t, you may have an opportunity to steal a march on them.
- Keep track of what people are saying about your business. Numerous metrics programs such as Klout or Google Analytics will help you measure the impact you’re making.
- Take this simple step now: add social media icons to your website and email signatures so people can instantly share your useful information.