Social media. By now, you’ve likely heard that it’s an important part of a company’s marketing strategy. But incorporating an effective plan can be more challenging than it sounds. Often, a business’ Facebook Page will have just a few posts, or maybe the most recent one is more than a year old. Unfortunately, not being current with your social media can leave prospective customers wondering whether you are technically savvy, dependable, or even still in business. In the Twittersphere, not sending out tweets regularly can render you invisible. Instagram? Just how do you promote your business with photographs?
The biggest question many entrepreneurs face is this: How do you maintain a consistent social media platform while doing all of the other functions involved in running your business? Should you even try?
Like the telephone and email, companies that delay adopting new technology will find themselves left behind. Social media is, at least for now, where the action is, and the next few blog posts will offer advice on how to make social media work for your business.
First, they “whys” of social media. Here are four reasons why you should incorporate social media into your marketing plan:
- Your customers can’t necessarily just “find” you. Regardless of your industry, chances are you have competition. Traditional advertising forms – newspaper and phone book ads, etc., aren’t as effective as they used to be. Even if you have a Web site, potential customers may not be able to find you. Ever heard of SEO? Search-engine optimization is an ever-evolving game with, thanks to Google, targets that get moved regularly as Google changes the rules. You have to go to your customer, by targeting specific people in your market with information that they need. This will help you to build a loyal tribe of followers who will call you when they have a problem you can solve.
- You can hone in on your market knowledge. More than just tossing out occasional tweets or Facebook posts, paying attention to your followers’ comments enables you to learn their “pain points,” or the problems they need to solve. Via social media, you can learn how to hone your product and service offerings to better meet customer needs. You might even discover a new market you can serve.
- Social media is a great way to show that your business provides excellent customer service. Some companies – Publix, Zappos, Starbucks – even NASA – have been recognized for excellent social media practices, including quick response times to customer questions and complaints. When you develop a reputation for being available to your audience, your business can only grow.
- Social media is how people communicate today. Yes, people still use email and even, on occasion, pick up the phone. But social media is where industry trends are being formed. Industries and businesses that do not jump on board will suffer.
Are you convinced now that you need to add social media to your marketing strategy? Here are four tips to help you get started:
- Have a plan. It’s not enough just to start a Facebook page. Think about how you will promote and use the page. How often will you post updates? How often will you check posts from customers and prospects, and who in your business will do it? Do you need to hire a new staffer or work with a social media marketing firm? What will your response time be to questions and complaints? How will you promote your Facebook page, gain Twitter followers? What other businesses (i.e., competitors) do you need to follow?
- Decide on your scope. Most experts recommend using only two or three social media platforms to promote your business. But which platforms should you use? That depends on where your customers hang out online, and you have to find out.
- Use the right tools. Buffer, Hootsuite and Feedly can help you create content and schedule social media posts, saving time and helping you be consistent.
- Get help. Social media isn’t rocket science, but it takes knowledge, planning and consistency to do it successfully. Your No. 1 job is to run your business; let the experts help with your marketing. Don’t know where to start? SweetWater Marketing can help. Let’s start the conversation today. Call us at (256) 617-2092, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.