Everyone is talking about social media, and the buzz is that even small businesses should be using it in their marketing. If you’re confused about what you should do, take a look at some key considerations before deciding if/when/how to incorporate social media into your marketing.
- How comfortable are you using new technologies? – It’s not that Facebook or Twitter are so complicated to use, but there is some learning curve involved, and it’s steeper if you aren’t eager to learn new things on computers and the Internet.
- Who are your customers and prospective customers, and are they using social media? – The whole idea of marketing is to reach out to prospects where they’ll be likely to be looking when they’re in the market for what you offer. Social media will only help you reach your market if its members are already using social media themselves.
- What would be your goals and objectives in adding social media to your marketing mix? – Is the goal to get more customers to your website? To help introduce a new product line? To differentiate your business from competitors? What you’re trying to do should define how you use social media, if at all.
- Do you or one of your employees have time to give to regular care and feeding of a social media page? If you don’t continue to maintain the communication you start in a social network, then it isn’t worth doing at all. Social media is not a one-time campaign; it’s an ongoing conversation with your public.
Still open to the idea? Here is a short list of possible business uses of social media:
- Grow a community of influencers that will help spread the word about something new
- Direct attention to content about your company that is posted elsewhere on the Internet — your website, a video you post on YouTube, news articles about your company, etc.
- Draw additional readership to your blog
- Publicize a press release
- Conduct ad hoc research; gather reader opinion
- Create additional web pages about your company that search engines can find.
If you think social media might be helpful to your business, jump in and find out what it’s all about. Find a few willing friends who will “follow” you back on Twitter and be “friends” with you on Facebook. Experiment with the features of each and see how they operate. Then use the network’s search function and see if some of your customers are using it. Search (in Twitter) for words that would indicate a person’s interest in what you do, and see where they are located if geography matters. Once you understand how each social network (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.) works and identify ways you could use them, you’re ready to take it public!