Some will say a "resounding yes". But I say it depends. What do you want Social Media to do for your Company? If you don't have a good reason then my advice is to hold off until you do.
What Can Social Media Do?
Social Media may be perfect for your business or it might not be perfect. Before you jump in or ignore it let's discuss some reasons why you might want to consider Social Media in your Marketing plans. In other words, let's ask the question, "what could Social Media do for my Company"? Here are five things I can think of off the top of my head:
Improve communication with your existing customers.
Identify and connect with potential customers.
Nurture leads and prospects that may not yet be ready to buy.
Solve customer service problems.
Listen to customers and prospects discuss their problems.
These are but a few things Social Media could do for you and we could probably add 10 or 20 other items to the list but for the sake of brevity let's stop with these 5 areas and do some exploring.
What is Social Media All About?
Social media is all about sharing and discussion. Sharing is not always about taking pictures of your food or your cat. Everyday I see people sharing problems they are having and asking for advice of how to solve them or where to go to find a solution. If you don't see this it means you are looking in the wrong places, or not looking at all.
In just the last week I found users posting questions about table saws, vacuum cleaners, editing software and SUV's, and these are just from a few friends I follow.
How Can You Tell If Social Media is Right For Your Company?
One way to see if Social Media is right for your business is to start by just listening. First, ask a few of your customers and employees what Social Media sites they frequent and why. Then pick one or two, create an account, and begin following a few folks and listen to the various conversations. By "listen" I mean pay attention to the comments that filter through your newsfeed or stream and what what people post.
Next, use the search capability of the social media sites you are watching to locate conversations that are relevant to your audience. Twitter and Instagram use hashtags. These are words or phrases that begin with #. As an example, if you sold broadcast equipment and wanted to see who was talking about video servers on Twitter you would search using #videoservers or #broadcastservers to see what conversations these terms produced. On Facebook you can search by keyword or hashtag and Facebook will suggest alternative ways to find what you are looking for.
It's important to note that the search terms you use may not be the ones your customers use so it's critical to use a wide variety of terms and measure the search results you get back to see which words and terms resonate with your audience. If you don't know where to start ask your sales folks or talk to a few customers.
What Should You Talk About?
Assuming you have found one or two social networks that include your target audience you want to begin publishing comments and content that your audience will find helpful.
As a general guideline you should publish content that answers the questions you see or hear from your customers and produce content that offers solutions and how-to's as well as education that will help your current and future customers. Why? They will only be interested in talking to you if they trust you and think you can solve their problems. That means you need to be authentic and limit the self-promotion. Instead, talk about them... your customer's and prospect's problems and issues. Now, that does not mean you can't promote your business because you can. However, limit your self-promotion posts to 1 for every five customer focused posts you do. If you are addressing your customer's problems they will quickly understand what you do and how you might be able to help them.
How Does Social Media Help My Marketing Efforts?
Social Media can do many things to support your Marketing efforts and again, it all depends on your specific needs. A few thoughts to ponder:
Social Media is a key distribution system for content, i.e. blog articles and offers so it's a great way to promote new content. By using social media in this way you reach your users where they like to hangout and use the articles to draw them back to your website.
Social Media is great for interacting with customers to solve problems. For this to work you must constantly monitor these sites using search so you get notified when someone posts a problem or needs help. Once you reach out to them it's best to take the issue off line and communicate via email or telephone to solve their problem.
Social Media is a great tool for promoting events such as trade shows or special activities your company is promoting or participating in. Begin several weeks in advance with notices about the upcoming event and include reasons why it makes sense for your audience to attend.
Social Media reaches people that traditional marketing vehicles don't. As an example, more and more people don't read newspapers or magazines so you need to find ways to reach them. Social media is key to reaching this segment of the population.
Social Media is a great tool for visual marketing. Sites like Instagram are photo and graphic oriented so if you sell products that are visually appealing then using a social network could be a winner for you.
Want to know more about Social Media and whether is right for you? Give us a call to discuss at 817-244-0990 or better yet, schedule a 30 meeting. It never hurts to talk.