Today it is important for businesses, small and large, to participate in social media. We advocate it with our customers, and emphasize that engaging in social media is just that. Engagement. I talked to one business that told me they needed to be on Facebook, and “needed a twitter.” I knew right away that they could use some help to break down what this means for them.
The most important reminder for businesses is that social media consists of more than tools. People know social media by their tool names primarily (a la Twitter). These types of conversations remind me of when businesses used to tell me (in the old days): “I need a brochure.” The same type of thinking applies: what is your strategy and what is your message? What message and value proposition will you put into your brochure? What is the goal or result that you want to accomplish with these tools? In some ways social media is more like a retail store than a brochure: conversations occur and the communication is not one-way as it is with a brochure.
Marketingprofs recently published an article the emphasized similar thinking, so this is not a voice in the wilderness shouting it out. Just as you have done in the past, your business needs a strategy, a brand and a message, and then you use tools to get the message out and accomplish your strategy and goals.
Remember our philosophy of keeping it simple. If you want to use social media as part of your business’ marketing strategy keep these ideas in mind:
- What is the overall message that you want to convey and communicate?
- The tools you select need to be used by your customers? Do you know where your customers hang out online? Do you know where your prospective customers hang out? You may have a current base of customers who are baby boomers and you know they are on Facebook. You may want to improve your brand’s awareness to a different group of people in order to acquire new customers. Perhaps you will want to have a Pinterest page or make your presence known on Instagram in addition to Facebook.
- What do you want to achieve? Will you use social media for promotions, for raising awareness, for being more a part of a community? You need to think through these ideas before you randomly jump in.
- Remember that each of these activities requires effort and dedication. Social media, unlike a brochure, is a living entity and must be cared for and nurtured. It is not static. As we’ve discussed before, your business should dedicate someone to posting, monitoring and engaging on social media. To be successful with it, you need to be conscious of the fact that it is not a nights-and-weekends type of job.
- What will success look like for your business? Is it how many followers you have? Is it how many people bring an online coupon into your business?
- Practice makes perfect (if there is such a thing in social media). The good news about social media is that it changes all the time. If you make a mistake in using it, you apologize to your followers and move on. If you have your authentic voice and use it clearly, your customers will like and respect you for your honesty and for begin direct.
Remember to have some fun with it, and not take yourself too seriously. Let me know how it goes for you and let’s have a conversation.
Here’s an article you can read for more information: http://www.marketingprofs.com/articles/2013/10784/ensure-that-strategy-not-