There is no denying that Social Media is taking up a large amount of time spent online. The number of people using social media websites is huge and has led to increased interest in the growing field of social media marketing. As we see more and more small businesses include social media strategies in their business development plans, we continually look for new and innovative ways to manage social media campaigns that drive real business for small business owners.
Everyone knows about Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Youtube. It seems that many small businesses have rushed to sign up on these popular sites and eagerly filled out a profile page. Then, they wait for this “rush” of traffic and new business to arrive and are generally disappointed when it doesn’t happen. Despite what you may hear, there is no “silver bullet.” Sure there are sites out there like Digg and StumbleUpon that have the potential to send up to 40k unique visitors to your website in a short space of time, but if you don’t get on the front page then you are unlikely to see much more than a handful of visitors. If you want to attract new visitors to your site then you have to actually participate and become involved in a community. You have to develop original content and tell people about your brand to create interest in your products and/or services.
What your organization does and how you do it are important parts of your story. You want people to know that your business provides a valuable solution to meet their needs. And because different elements of your story will appeal to different people, you need to match the right parts of your message with the right audience at the right time.
Benefits of Social Media Marketing More online conversations about your brand – A successful social media campaign leads to a lot more talk about your brand online. When your message works with your users, they will spread your message more effectively than traditional methods.
Every small business owner knows that word of mouth advertising is the best form of advertising because it comes from a trusted source.
Remember, consistency builds credibility, credibility builds trust and trust builds business. And, there are a lot of benefits:
- Quick Exposure – Hitting a front page of major social video, news and bookmark sites will send you huge amounts traffic almost instantly. This doesn’t mean the traffic will equate to conversions, but it should generate momentum in the right direction. Remember, content drives traffic so start telling customers about your business.
- Low Costs – A comprehensive social media strategy may provide a partial or full replacement of traditional advertising and marketing at a fraction of the cost. There are plenty of free solutions out there, and even more that don’t break the bank. Managed Media uses both free and traditional pay for use services designed to drive real business right to your door.
- Impact on Search Engine Rankings – Social media can bring you large amounts of backlinks that benefit your ranking in search engines. Sometimes, search engine rankings are not the best use of your online time, but sometime they are. Strategically, you need to find out if search engine optimization is the best use of your social media spend.
- Compatible w/ Traditional Marketing – No one says you have to approach and embrace social media 100%. Social media campaigns can be run along side traditional marketing and advertising. Use them both, measure the results and find a win win solution that helps grow your business.
- The Power of the Recommendation – Would you rather buy from a faceless company or from a company that people recommend? We know that recommendations from personal acquaintances play an important role in the online buying process and in fact, almost 80% of social media users say they would buy a product or service based on the recommendation of an online friend. That is a powerful voice for your business.
Tips on Running a Successful Social Media Campaign
- 2 Way Conversations – You must interact with your customers. Listen, discuss topics, respond to questions, even a simple “LIKE” shows genuine interest in others and helps build solid relationships. You must do more than just setting up a poll on your site. Having conversations which flow in both directions help you understand the concerns of your customers, why they exist and what you can do to fix them.
- The Personal Touch – Automated responses and standard letters are a great way to sabotage your social media campaign. Social media is about equal participation and recommendation. Just think, would you rather purchase a new computer from someone you know that told you it was a great product or an automated newsletter?
- Transparency – Be transparent, be proactive, and be honest. There are many compelling ways to raising awareness for your company. Having hidden agendas or stretching the truth will simply backfire.
Participate in the Community – Acknowledge others and participate in conversations that allow you to tell your story. Take the time to really be a part of the community and share useful knowledge. Personality goes a long way. It’s a bit like making friends; you have give a little to receive. You never know, you may build useful networks that extend offline.
A successful social media campaign can prove to be the key to growing your business, but you have to do it right. It can increase brand exposure and PR for a fraction of traditional costs as well as provide large scale market research and at no extra charge.