Social Media marketing is an extremely powerful tool for business marketing especially small business, though it is not a stand-alone solution or a silver bullet, but is highly efficient if the social media marketing is used as part of the overall marketing business plan.
Some companies and businesses are still skeptical about the use of social media marketing, some think that:
- “It is a waste of time.”
- “It is a fad and it will go away.”
- “My clients are not online.”
- “Only people with too much time on their hand use social media.”
- “We will lose control of our brand.”
- “Our confidentiality will be jeopardized.”
- “Only my children are on Twitter and Facebook.”
- “Our employees will have a license to play online.”
* I will start with the following figures and statistics about social media usage by the audience to show why businesses should care about social media:
- 45% visit social networks to find out about product sales or discounts
- 47% will go to social networks to download a free gift or coupons
- 73% of active online users read a blog, 120,000 new blogs are launched daily
- 22% would read or write a product review online or in a blog, 1.5 million posts per day, 45% have started their own blogs
- 39% subscribe to an RSS feed
- 57% joined social networks- LinkedIn has 150+ members; Facebook over 750 million users increasing by the minute, Twitter exploded to a 1382% growth rate.
- 10% of all internet traffic is generated by Youtube, which ranks with Wikipedia among top brands.
- The 5 top 10 websites ever are social
- The Internet users’ ages of 70+ jumped exponentially
(* Sources are Compete, Alexa, MSNBC, Nielsen &Technorati)
To simplify the process of using social media for business marketing, it is important to define their segment markets the business need to reach, set goals, define a strategy, then execute.
Social media marketing is no different than planning any other marketing aspects of a business, and should be a part of any business’s overall marketing plan.
The first step in setting goals, before even thinking about filing any social media channel profile, is for a business to ask itself the following basic questions:
- Who is the audience they are trying to reach and what is the individual persona in that audience?
- Where do they hang out online?
- Are they a part of any online communities that the business should join?
- What do they expect from a business like theirs: solution providing, unique products, customer service?
- How should they engage the audience emotionally and appeal to their sensitivity and senses?
- How do they approach the audience, in what format, and with what content? Also, most importantly what are the keywords used by the audience to discuss the aspects of their industry or business?
- Who will be assigned to engage in the online discussions with the audience and how will they channel the leads, inquiries, comments and to who?
- How will they measure the results?
Then you are ready to proceed in the first steps of your social media marketing for your business
- Your audience and key influencers and know where they hang online.
- Protect against brand hijacking.
- Where is more demand for your products or services?
- What kind of problems does your audience have in your field, and what solutions they are looking for?
- Use Google alerts, RSS feeds, Twitter, email analytics, social buzz, Backtype, Trenderr, Board Reader, then learn the proper keywords they use
- Become a contributing member of Q&A boards like LinkedIn, Google and ask.com
- Have your own blog that shares valuable content about your industry and solutions that can help your audience and not focused on your business or products
- Comment on blogs and articles
- Add to groups on Facebook/Yahoo/LinkedIn/ Google
- Offer specials/promos on Facebook/Twitter
- After establishing relationships, PULL your audience to your services by constantly adding new, relevant and fresh content, instead of pushing your products on them.
Social media is an interactive tool built on communications and two way dialogs. Using social media, your business audience may be exchanging notes about your products, companies and services at this very second — knowing and participating in those exchanges will impact your bottom line, either by generating leads that will lead to sales and revenues, or by reducing or elimination your brand hijacking or negative comments, or by offering better customer service which in turn will increase your revenues by referrals or return customers.
Social media for business marketing is a necessity and is no longer a luxury. Till next time
Sahar Andrade, MB.BCh
Diversity Consultant – Social Media Strategist
Sahar Consulting, LLC. – Home of the D.I.A.L.O.G.™ Programs
Diversity& Inclusion in Active Leadership Organizational Growth™
(Exchanging Ideas through Conversation)™