Using social media as part of your marketing strategy can be a daunting task, especially if you are used to the way traditional marketing techniques work. Whether you think social media for business is a passing fad or a world of possibility you’re scared to try, so here’s a list of the five undeniably beneficial facts that come from making sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and others part of your everyday business plan.
1. Builds a strong community
You will likely find that there are a number of lists out there why you should use social media in your marketing and 9 times out of 10 they are going to start with Community Building, and for good reason.
Something social media offers that traditional marketing doesn’t is the chance to develop that personal connection with your customers. The mentality switches and becomes less about what we can do for you or what we need you to do for us but instead, what can we do for each other and that’s a powerful tool and a win, win situation.
Social media is a great way to become an expert but through community building you learn from others along the way. By providing your expertise you are giving them value. In return they give you feedback, which a lot of people are afraid of but the most successful people cherish. This develops the give and take that leads to a strong relationship. The one thing I’ve learned is that social media has turned an often cold, distant marketing façade into a genuine personality for a business.
2. Brands you as a go-to resource
The great thing about using the Internet for your business is that it allows you provide more information to more people at the click of a button. However, the downside is it’s not just you out there. Not only is your competition likely doing the same thing but any joe-schmo can write about your business topic as well.
When people can’t trust the information they’re getting it reflects on your business whether you have an online presence or not, so why not set yourself apart as the expert? Sure you want people to know you provide a quality product but don’t underestimate the power of information. If people associate you with terms like reliable, knowledgeable and trustworthy, that is what will stick in a potential clients mind and it will keep bringing them back to you.
3. Gets you more for your money
As much as we love TV, radio and newspapers, they are rapidly falling flat when it comes to cost-effective advertising. Even online advertising like paying for banner ads or pay-per-click has less appeal because they have minimal interaction with your potential clients.
Most current social media outlets are free, like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Tumblr and so on. The services cost no money to join and you get to have one on one contact with your customers, which any business owner will tell you is worth its weight in gold.
However, I won’t say that using these social sites is free because what it costs you is time. With traditional advertising you would pay for a commercial it would run and you’re done. But with social media it takes time to cultivate those solid gold relationships and finding the time or the staff to manage that is probably the biggest deterrent for business people to invest in their own profiles.
4. It meets your target audience where they are
I say it all the time, you have to meet people where they’re at, if you are spending your time developing newspaper ads when your main audience is college students using Twitter then you’re not focusing your attention where it will be most effective.
Out of Facebook’s 1,000,000,000 users, I’m going to take a wild guess and say you’re likely to find quite a few people that match your target audience. Not only can you talk with them directly, you get instant feedback from the people whose opinion you value most. It’s scary to think about people talking about you but if you control the conversation it’s a wonderful and profitable thing.
5. Distinguishes you from the competition
More and more businesses are realizing that without an online presence they are falling behind and if you currently don’t have one, I suggest looking up your competitors to see what they have and take notes.
I know no one wants to copy his or her competition and I’m not asking you to. I want you to distinguish yourself from them because right now, if you don’t have a presence that’s the only thing new viewers will know about you.
Maybe your competition is in the same boat as you, great, now is the time to take the leap and you’ll be first in line. However, if they do Facebook really well, go do Twitter really well, if they have a blog, do a video blog and so on. You will likely use the same sites but the thing to remember is doing nothing is still doing something, whether you intend to or not. Customers will see your lack of presence as a lack of interest and your competitors will jump on it.