Social media marketing carries many benefits. One of the most important is that you dont have to front any cash for most social media services. Of course, theres a downside: Most services require a significant time investment to initiate and maintain a social media marketing campaign, and many limit distribution of unpaid posts, charging for advertising and distributing posts to your desired markets.
As you read the following sections, think about whether each benefit applies to your needs. How important is it to your business? How much time are you willing to allocate to it? What kind of payoff would you expect?
Basic marketing focuses on the need for branding, name recognition, visibility, presence, or top-of-mind awareness. Call it what you will you want people to remember your company name when theyre in need of your product or service. Social media services, of almost every type, are excellent ways to build your brand.
Social media works for branding as long as you get your name in front of the right people. Plan to segment the audience on the large social media services. You can look for more targeted groups within them or search for specialty services that may reach fewer people overall but more of the ones who are right for your business.
If youre focused on only short-term benefits, youd better shake that thought loose and get your head into the long-term game thats played in the social media world. To build effective relationships in social media, youre expected to
Watch for steady growth in the number of your followers on a particular service or the number of people who recommend your site to others; increased downloads of articles or other tools that provide detailed information on a topic; or repeat visits to your site. All these signs indicate youre building relationships that may later lead to if not a direct sale then a word-of-web recommendation to someone who does buy.
Social media is a long-term commitment. Other than little experiments or pilot projects, dont bother starting a social media commitment if you dont plan to keep it going.
Already, many clever businesses have found ways to use social media to improve business processes. Though individual applications depend on the nature of your business, consider leveraging social media to promptly detect and correct customer problems or complaints.