Today, Social Marketing is an important pillar of your marketing strategy. Chances are that after your customer finds you through Recommendation, Search, Chance or Advertisement. She is gonna look for more stuff about you to know better and make an informed decision. Even greater chances are that she will trust your brand more if her friends have recommended you.
Now all this sounds too good because it is. Just like most of the other successful advertising platforms of yester years, this platform too has fallen to bad practices, mainly because of faulty execution by advertisers than other reasons but also for abuse at the hands of Black Hat SEO (Search Engine Optimization) players.
But we believe, With strict focus on ROI (Return on Investment), any small business can balance themselves and make the best of Social Media marketing. Here are few pointers we feel might help.
1. Understand your Customer profile: No matter how new your business is, there is strong chance that you have an idea about average profile of your customer. BTW if that is not the case, either get an idea or find another business. Now after studying your customer, try to find if your customer is more of Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Craigslist, Storify or some other social media person. Its important since the real customer has favorites and If someone like all these to the core, chances are it’s either a BOT or SEO guy, and you can avoid both initially. After that narrow your choices of Social media platform and once you have narrowed your choices.
2. Start from one Tool and build upon it: Out of this narrowed choice, pick one, and start building on it. Focusing on one initially will help you sharpen the message, understand the need of your customer, study the working of Social media and off course focus on running your business (Remember, Social media is to help your business not vice-versa). Only after you get some mileage on one tool, you should focus on other tools.
3. Focus on message not Numbers: Now that you are in the thick of the game, It’s easy to get carried away by the number of ‘Followers’, ‘Likes’, ‘Stars’ and ‘+’. But don’t forget it’s all about finding the right customers for you and not spectators. Sadly, there are too many short-term SEO tactics being used in the market, some are the likes of getting paid – ‘Followers’, ‘Likes’, Links etc. but one thing is sure none of these black hat Optimization tactics would make a non-customer into customer. So rather than focusing on numbers, focus on the right message and sooner or later, small noises would collect to make a thunder.
4. Don’t (DO NOT) overspend: Now, amid the cacophony of fast paced message distribution, sometimes its easy to overspend on advertisement including Social media marketing. As a small business, one should be very aware, One goal to start business is to get material security so no matter what recent sky high valuation exits by start ups tell you, chances are that you will have to make money to survive. One way to do that is by not overspending.
Usually, for an average established business, 10-15% of sales to be spent on marketing expense is not unheard of. So Social media being a part of big marketing expense, one can figure that there should be measured expenditure towards Social. But no matter what you spend, just focus on Return on that Investment. That return is not necessarily increase in sale but also look at how your brand is being build.
5. Encourage Participation: Reason Social is called Social is because it is built upon participation so encourage that actively. Try to be the facilitator of ideas rather than a broadcaster. If you are using Social media channel to just broadcast, you are really not using it’s full potential.
Fully developed Social media marketing should help you understand customer, Develop your product accordingly, get reviews, create brand, create bonding among customers, overall create a community or Society amid your product or company.
To encourage this participation, you can use various tools at your disposal be it discounts, freebies, special offers or other similar tools.
Hope it helps and Always happy to help you with your goals.
Good Luck from Team Pracaara.com