Marketing through social media is giving companies – especially small businesses without big marketing budgets—a more even playing field when it comes to reaching potential customers or clients.
So, in novice terms, how exactly is social media defined? Social media encompasses those internet or mobile-based tools that provide forums for communication and social interaction. Examples include a few that you have probably heard of include Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube.
By now, it is the norm to at the very least have some kind of online presence whether it is a web site, Facebook page, Twitter account, etc. If you have yet to make the jump or are not using social media for maximum benefit, here are a few basics to know about this important component in your marketing plan:
Why Social Media?
Social media gives you an always-available forum to build your brand and lets you reach customers or clients a relaxed and very personal way. It enables you, in a visual way, to connect with people who may otherwise never know about your company, your products or the services you offer. You can control the message and change it on a regular basis based on the feedback you are getting from those with whom you are interacting.
People are becoming increasingly interested in the ‘story’ behind the company. Social media allows you to offer your history and company philosophy as only you can, and your online presence ensures that information is always available to those who seek it. Social media makes you real to your consumers. It gives you the opportunity to, yes, provide your company’s latest news on products or services; but also share your personality with them.
To be honest, it is tough to find one. If there is any downfall to social media, it may be that you literally should be constantly connected to devote adequate attention to be successful. It truly should be a part of your everyday schedule—or that of your designated social media marketing manager – to maintain momentum. The feedback you get, both from the interaction with your visitors and through the tracking mechanisms in place for users, will help you plan your resources. Remember, while it can be far more cost-effective than other more traditional marketing methods, to get results, it does not take care of itself.
Effectively Incorporating Social Media into Your Marketing Plan
To be clear, except in rare instances, it would be poor advice to tell you to depend solely upon social media as a marketing strategy. Rather, you can find great benefit in it when you integrate with other marketing tools in your plan. Down the road, if you are successful in social media, you may change the allocation of your resources.
When communicating online, be yourself. Be consistent, both in terms of frequency of message and content. Create opportunities to build relationships with your customer by inviting interaction through any number of means, including but not limited to offering coupons or special deals to users, hosting online events or workshops, taking polls, holding contests, etc. You will be amazed how many people will follow you and check in regularly if they are engaged and rewarded to do so.
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