Social media? I don’t have time for that!

Could this statement be much the same thing as saying, “I don’t need to market my business”? In most cases, that turns out to be a big mistake that could cost you your business.

Can you afford to stop marketing just because you’re busy?

You’ll be best able to answer this question for yourself, but there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Limit yourself to your existing customer base, and that’s how far your business is likely to grow.
  • You may be busy now, but will you always be? Customers come and go. Where is the new business going?
  • Is your business as profitable as you’d like? Supply and demand rules say that growing demand increases value perception and brings increased prices – just a thought…
  • If you’re really the best at something, why not let people know? Are you shy?

Ask yourself:

  1. Do I want to grow my customer base and my business?
  2. Do I want people to know what I do?
  3. Do I want people to engage with my business on a personal level?
  4. Do I want to be seen as an expert?
  5. Do I want people to understand my passion for what I do?
  6. Do I want to add value to my community through my business?

If your answer to any of these questions was “Yes”, then you need social media marketing. If your answer was “No,” double-check your reasoning, as it may have a negative impact on your ultimate success.

Snapchat, Facebook, YouTube are basically the new ABC, ESPN and MTV. Get on it

Gary Vaynerchuk – Inbound 2016

Social media marketing vs traditional advertising

There are a lot of advantages to using social media marketing as an important element of your marketing strategy. Sure, you can place traditional print ads, but ask yourself just how many people will actually notice your ad. How memorable will it be? How often will you have to remind them you’re there before you gain recognition, and how much will that cost? Are the people who are seeing your ad even interested in what you have to offer? With social media marketing you can:

  1. Deliver targeted messages: Choose interest groups and demographics to ensure that your message is seen by a relevant audience.
  2. Develop a relationship with your audience: People will react and respond to your social media marketing messages. This is your opportunity to become an online “friend” who is their go-to source when seeking help in your area of expertise.
  3. Get valuable information about what interests your target market and how they feel about your product or service offering. Gauge the power of your marketing message, and adjust as needed.
  4. Build an online audience that does your marketing for you. A loyal audience becomes a group of brand ambassadors. They like YOU, and they’ll tell their friends.
  5. Save marketing costs: Paid advertising campaigns on Facebook are much cheaper than advertising in paper publications – and you’ll know if they’re working.
  6. Get instant feedback on how effective your marketing is: One of the big problems with traditional marketing is that you don’t know how effective it was. Did people remember your pamphlet? Did they come to you after seeing your paper ad? You just don’t know. The reaction to your social media marketing efforts is immediate and measurable.
  7. Personalise your brand. On social media, your brand is no longer an impersonal “thing”. It becomes a personality that can be interacted with. Would you prefer to do business with a “thing” or a person?
  8. Build your reputation (or break it): Everyone knows that social media is largely uncensored. If you’ve given your clients a bad experience, they’ll review you on social media. How you respond could be make-or-break for your business reputation. Your page visitors know this. You can claim to be “the best” on your website, but social media provides social proof.

Be there or be forgotten

A recent survey by the Pew Research Centre uncovered these statistics from US internet users. It’s unlikely that our local statistics would be much different:

  • 72% of adults with internet access have a Facebook page. If you target your marketing correctly, you’re going to get it across to a LOT of people.
  • 31% of internet users have a Pinterest account. Interestingly, there’s a slight bias towards women here. Are you hoping to get attention for eye-candy pics of your products? Here’s where you do it!
  • 25% of adults with the internet use LinkedIn. If you’re looking at university graduates, that jumps to 46%. What about business owners and serious professionals? I suspect the figure is even higher. Adjust it for high earners, and 71% of top earners are on LinkedIn. Is this your market?
  • As for Twitter: well, we all know where to find Donald Trump, and of course, he isn’t alone. 23% of adults with an internet connection use Twitter.

Remember, if you’re not at the party, nobody’s going to remember you. If your competitor is doing a great job with social media and you aren’t, where does that leave you? Nobody likes being a wallflower!

Where do people get information these days?

Print media still has its place, but most of us are getting our information online, and a large percentage of these online information seekers are trusting to social media to provide the info they’re looking for.

You’ll no doubt have read about the fake news websites that are going viral on Facebook with potentially world-changing consequences. Could the same apply to your commercial message? If it really interests your readership, it could!

When you do it, do it well

Most small to medium businesses are not in a position to have a full-time staffer managing social media. As a result, it’s best to pick one or two platforms and focus on creating really brilliant content there. You also have to remember that social media marketing is… well… “social”. That means staying on top of what people are saying about your business and how they’re interacting with it. Feedback from your public can be very helpful indeed – but you ignore it at your peril.

If you can’t afford to go the whole hog with all the most popular social media platforms, find out where your audience is hanging out, and market your business on one or two platforms really well.

When should I use a social media marketing service?

If you keep making false starts but find yourself too busy to administer social media marketing consistently, you need help. But you also have to have at least some interest in the process, or you’ll be wasting your money and your marketer’s time. Engage help if you:

  1. Are willing to provide guidance on the “personality” your business expresses online.
  2. Are willing to answer questions your marketer can’t answer from time to time.
  3. Have the desire to grow your business through formulating great campaigns your target market cares about.
  4. Are ready to change your mind. Your audience may not be as in love with your strategy as you may have expected. Give them something that matters to them.
  5. Don’t expect instant results. Social media marketing takes time to grow momentum. Your competitors may be working on it right now. Are you?

Social media is a disruptive force. Is it working for you?

Turn back the clock a few decades, and only the businesses with the biggest budgets could get a strong marketing message across. They used expensive to print, radio and TV advertising. Smaller businesses managed the occasional trade publication or newspaper ad, but they didn’t stand much of a chance of making an impact.

Then, along came social media. Now, even the smallest business can make a big impact – provided they have the right content for their audience. A single viral post can reach thousands, tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of people. Even if your message isn’t world-changing, it could get as much attention as the biggest news.

What will hit the sweet spot? Only time, trial and error will show you. But because you get instant feedback on how effective your campaign was, you’ll be able to direct future marketing messages based on that information.

Social media puts you in touch on an in-person basis

On social media, your business develops its own personality. It becomes a “person”. People can interact with it. It’s no longer just a presence from “on high” that’s unreachable and impersonal. Social media gives you an unbeatable opportunity to really get to know your customers and potential customers. Use it, or lose out!

That’s all from me today. I hope you enjoyed the post and feel free to message me or comment if you want to see me do a post on a specific topic.

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