Marketing and advertising has always been tricky because you have to determine how much to invest in order to get a satisfactory response from your customers. And as much as we love TV, radio and newspapers, they are rapidly falling flat when it comes to cost-effective advertising. In fact these same media outlets have turned to social media for their own marketing. Even though social media is an infant compared to the wise old newspaper, it is fast becoming the most effective way to spend time and money in your marketing plan.
Most current social media platforms are free, like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Youtube, 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. The sites originally started for use by individuals but as their populations grew businesses began to see this as their chance. The sites themselves began to see the push by businesses to use it for advertising and made it easier for them to do so as well as giving them tools to monitor their success. Facebook is the most obvious one. They developed business only pages to make a distinction between personal and company pages. They also put easy to read insights on the front page for the admins to assess the productivity of their posts and interactions from their followers. I may have missed something but I don’t think you’d get that with a radio ad.
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. Finding the time or the staff to manage that is probably the biggest deterrent for business people to invest in their own profiles.
Being in the social media business we know how hard it is for business owners to look at something so new and see its long term potential. The only thing I can say is look at what you normally go to when you want to market to your customers and ask yourself these questions.
1. How much money have I spent on advertising and marketing in the last year?
2. What sort of feedback did I get and was it valuable.
3. Can I afford to take a fraction of my typical marketing budget and invest it in social media, just to try it?
I was working with a client the other day and although he was still a little overwhelmed by the responsibility of having to manage his businesses’ sites he knew he was moving in the right direction. He remembers years ago when having a website seemed like a foreign concept and now if a business doesn’t have one they’re falling behind. Social media is swiftly approaching this same status. Will you be falling behind?