Social media is one the most direct methods of communication. As we move towards an “always plugged-in” society, the ability to reach clients through their personal devices creates the need for businesses to engage in social media marketing.
While not all businesses may need to engage in social media marketing, almost all should. The social media trend is growing. Now, everyone can view their kids’ or grandkids’ pictures on Facebook. Immediately, they’re connected and become a target audience for a social media campaign.
What is social media?
“Social media refers to the means of interactions among people in which they create, share, and exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks…Social media road maps exploring the futures triggered by social media,” referenced on Wikipedia. The main social media platforms are Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+.
How do potential or current clients engage in social media? We use social media to stay connected with family and friends and as well staying connected with news and events. While I use Twitter to get news updates, my wife uses it to track deals and discounts for companies she follows.
How are specific customers looking for your business on social media? They’re not. They’re on social media to be entertained, get information about stuff relevant to them, and stay connected with family and friends. So, if the conversation is happening and your clients are engaged in it, it’s a good idea to make yourself visible.
How should your business use social media? Social media is an opportunity for an intimate one-on-one relationship with your clients. No other medium allows instant back-and-forth between a business and a current, potential, or disgruntled client. You could have a customer walk into your business, have an unfortunate experience, and talk about it on Facebook and Twitter. So, jump in and do damage control–but do it in an ethical way. Respond directly to that person and apologize. Say “Hey, how can we help you out? Explain to us what really happened.” Have that conversation out in the open and be willing to correct the situation.
Another way your business should use social media marketing is giving away “free” stuff. You can find a relevant article your client would find helpful or maybe even one your competitors wrote and post it. It will build confidence in your brand. I’ve also seen brands turn their Twitter feeds into an informal Q&A. It allows customers to ask honest questions and the business an opportunity to provide honest answers.
Why do people engage in social media? It’s easy and instant. The typical life span of a post or an update on social media is pretty short unless it gains traction, get trends, is re-tweeted or re-posted. An article will remain on Facebook timelines for a 6-12 hour period.
Why do businesses engage in social media?You go where the money is (or where your clients are.) If your clients are there, it sense you are, too. People aren’t stupid. They know your sole existence is to sell them something. So, being there tells them that. Your marketing message is, essentially: “Hey I’m here. I’m relevant. Maybe you want to buy from me.” But, don’t push that marketing message down their throats.
It comes down to investing time. If you don’t have the time or money to engage in social media, make it. If you have the time and money, consider hiring a a part-time person and later, a full-time person with the right experience. If that doesn’t make sense, outsource it. But, if you don’t have the time, don’t jump in now.
So, consider posting interesting stories or paying for advertising across social media platforms. Facebook almost guarantees the demographic of people seeing your ad.
Whatever you do, know social media is the future. It won’t completely replace traditional methods of delivering content, but will continue to evolve.
Do all businesses need social media marketing? Not yet, but they will. So, get on board.