Back in October 2009, Duct
Tape Marketing, a small business marketing site, published a survey that
suggests that more and more small businesses are starting to adopt social media as a means to
promote their business. Despite apparent initial skepticism, 45% of the 2,000
surveyed small businesses reported that they are now using some form of social
media.The statistic may seem surprising.
While many business owners already live in an online world, and find
adoption of social media an inviting and essential challenge, for others simply
knowing where to start with social media marketing can be an intimidating task.
And as Duct Tape’s founder, John Jantsch, reflects,” While it’s easy to get on Facebook and
Twitter, there’s still a gap in understanding how to make them pay“.
Skepticism aside, social media (and I mean everything from
social networks, to blogs, to You Tube channels) is now a fundamental part of
any marketing strategy. Now, more than ever, it’s essential to be where your
customers are; engaging with them in more active
ways and nurturing a dialog that builds trust, reputation and (hopefully) a
genuine interest and regard for your product or service.
Here are three ways that you can make social media pay for
Media for Small Business Brand Building
Social media is branding, because it provides a way for
businesses to get out there and get noticed – essentially to be where your
customers are and to create a presence there.
But as with all marketing tactics, employing social media to enhance
your brand is more effective when used as part of a wider campaign or program.
For example, a boutique fashion store looking to market its
new Spring collection, while continuing to build its brand and reputation could
use social media in a number of integrated ways to achieve its overarching
The store owner might choose to combine traditional “push”
marketing tactics, such as email marketing and direct mail, with a social media
element that uses the company’s Facebook fan page to showcase different pieces
of the collection over a period of two weeks as the items hit the store. The
Facebook messaging might invite interaction by asking for feedback from
“fans”. The store could also use its
online blog to share the inspiration for the collection, offer tips for putting
individual garments together, and so on. Then Twitter and Facebook could both
be pulled in to let “fans” and “followers” know that a new blog post is live.
The goal here is to establish social media communities
around the brand–online hubs where a business, in this case our hypothetical
fashion boutique, is actively interacting and engaging with a base of
passionate fans and brand advocates.
It’s not rocket science, and not difficult to execute! But
success really hinges on three things:
monitoring what is being said about your brand online.
to what is said about your social media presence and fine-tuning your message
accordingly (this is two-way, pull marketing at its best).
letting your social media presence to go stale – keep it fresh and engaging
without going overboard (there is nothing more annoying than a Facebook or
Twitter account on steroids).
doesn’t stop there, social media is also increasingly being used to “reward”
fans and followers of brands with exclusive promotional offers – which leads to
my next point – social media as a lead generation tool.
Media as a Lead Generation Tool
Many businesses remain skeptical about the lead
generation power of social media marketing, but according to this article
in Marketing Profs
(citing a recent report from Perfomics and ROI Research), the level of openness
for, and interest in, promotional and branding content from members of social
networking sites is surprisingly large. Here are just some of the
results from the survey:
Facebook users who have connected with a brand on the site:
- 46% say they are likely to talk about or recommend
- 44% say they are likely to purchase a
- 37% say they are likely to link to an ad for
- 27% say they are likely to post an ad for a
Twitter users, for example:
- 44% say they are receptive to promotions and
- 44% say they have recommended a product on
- 39% have discussed a product on Twitter
If you are interested in how your small business
can use social media as a lead-generating tool, take a look at this invaluable Practical
Guide to Social Media published by American Express OPENForum.
The guide features contributions from a host of
small business experts and provides practical advice to help small business
owners understand what social media can offer them. In particular, Duct Tape Marketing’s
John Jantsch outlines a basic framework for optimizing your social media
content and online assets to help you achieve your marketing objectives. As
Jantsch explains, “Lead generation today is more about being found than
the guide to read Jantsch’s tips in full.
your Social Media Impact and ROI
Keeping an eye on social media ROI is not the science that
traditional CRM systems support, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t possible. As
with all things social media, social media monitoring is infinite with a host
of freely-available tools to help you measure and monitor your social media
impact. Read How to
Measure Social Media ROI from Mashable
to get a better understanding of how tools like Google Analytics, Hootsuite,
and more can help you monitor the influence your social media strategy has on
engaging and influencing prospects.
- Small Business Marketing Guide
– From Business.gov, this online portal contains marketing planning and market
research tips, tools, and advice for small business owners.
social media success, do what the wine industry does
– Social media expert Chris Colgan shares his insights.
Steps to Increase Revenue with Social Marketing
Tips for Promoting Your SMB with Twitter and Facebook (OPENForum.com)
to Market Your Business With Facebook (NY Times)
Facebook Really a Good Tool for Business? (OPENForum.com)
- Most Common
Social Media Mistakes (Small Business Trends)