In parts 1 and 2 of this Social Media Marketing blog we have touched on the reasons to consider using social networking as part of your marketing strategy and described the familiar faces of social media marketing sites for businesses. Lastly, I will try to explain why using social media sites in your marketing strategy could be a win-win for your small business.
There are several inherent advantages to consider when deciding whether to incorporate social networking in your marketing strategy. Social media is an inexpensive platform for businesses to use - You can't beat free! It can help keep your "brand" and company name at the top of your followers' minds and it's a fun way to interact with people. Typically social networks are stand alone networks but several integrate with each other. For example, Foursquare integrates with Twitter and Facebook. By checking in at your favorite local restaurant, your location update can be sent to both Twitter and Facebook. The major search engines today are not only searching traditional websites, but also sites that contain all forms of media, including social networking sites. Therefore, having a presence on these kinds of sites can help your search marketing optimization efforts.
Information about your company needs to be able to be found and shared. Traditionally, all the information about your company was stored on your website. If you have a social network presence online, you should have links from your website to all your social media sites and vice versa. After all, social networks are where people are gathering, spending more and more time, and very well could be the where someone is first introduced to your company.
Remember when I said that using social networking in your marketing strategy is “free”. That’s not entirely true - after all, time is money. To use social marketing right, you need to build and keep a “following”. To do so you will need a good strategy, a devotion of staff time, giveaways, and advertising. So you should approach social media with the same thoroughness as you would other marketing options. It doesn’t do much for your company’s image if you have an unmaintained social media presence. Businesses need to consider the costs and potential returns of social media before jumping right into it.
Oh look! Now I’ve scared you. Maybe you like the social media marketing concept but are unsure whether you should take the leap on your companies small budget. No worries, there is help on the web - Roost is one online company that seeks to help you get those word of mouth referrals and loyal customers that will help increase your business. Roost can help you decide what to post of your social media sites - from how many pictures to post, articles to share and even questions to ask. You can also set up a schedule as to when Roost will post the articles, photos and messages automatically for you throughout the week. Roost boasts that it only takes 20 minutes to set up your campaigns for the week. And it's free -- Free is still good, right?
These days people are less likely to trust the many types of advertising messages, instead preferring to trust what each other has to say. As I've mentioned a few times already, word of mouth has great influence and therefore is the most effective advertising medium. The key is to find out who is doing the talking, what they are saying and where are they saying it. Knowing this information you can create a campaign to deliver your message to those influential people where they are doing the talking. So, grab the attention of your audience and encourage them to share your message. By getting followers to share your message, your message is considered as coming from a "trusted source" and therefore becomes a very valuable part of your overall business strategy.