Social Media is the new marketing buzzword. With all of these social media ‘gurus’ and ‘geniuses’ running around it can feel like if you’re not doing the social media thing that you are behind the times and losing out. However, this isn’t necessarily the case. As with many things in marketing, it depends on your individual business whether it will work for you.
Do you have the time to update it?
Social media only works if you can put the time in to it. You need to be able to update it regularly – ideally at least once or twice a day. If you can’t find the time to do that, don’t bother setting it up. A Facebook page or twitter account which is never used looks awful and can even be detrimental to your brand.
Is your brand chatty?
It’s called social media for a reason. If your brand is friendly and personal then interacting with your customers and clients online will build brand loyalty and increase your credibility. If you have the time to put into it (and you get some good advice on social media marketing strategy) then getting into social media is probably a very good idea.
If your company brand has a more serious tone then it isn’t as likely to be lucrative. People are unlikely to be naturally interested in interacting with a chemical waste treatment company. In fact, for many B2B companies social media just doesn’t make sense.
Do you have ideas about how you want to interact with your community?
If you don’t want to interact with your community (whether that community is your customer community or your business community) then social media isn’t for you. Social media isn’t about having another channel to blast out your press releases – it’s a two-way conversation. Do you want to share and debate the latest news in your industry? Do you want to find collaborators and work with new people? Do you want to create/increase your status as an industry leader by sharing your tips with other businesses and key individuals?
You have to give to get
The brands which get the most out of their social media are the ones that give the most. It can seem ludicrous to give away your hard-earned knowledge for free, but what it does do is prove that you know what you are talking about. This leads to people sharing you around on the net, and then going back to you for more for that product or service they’ve heard so much about.
Want to learn more?
There are some great websites which cover the latest social media news. If you start reading some articles regularly then in a few months you’ll start to have a real idea of what companies are doing to be successful on social media, and what you could achieve.
http://mashable.com/ – the latest news and digital gadgets
http://www.marketingweek.co.uk/ – covers the whole spread of marketing, but has some great case study articles
But with social media, like much technology, sometimes the best thing to do is to just give it a go. Sign yourself up with a personal account and try learning the ropes. Get a feel for how facebook works and how users use it, get an account on LinkedIn and browse the groups, and get a twitter account and start following people (to start with follow about 50-100 people). In fact, through twitter and LinkedIn you will probably get linked to lots of other great articles on social media.
‘How social media can benefit small businesses’ The Guardian, Tuesday 14th August 2012 http://www.guardian.co.uk/small-business-network/2012/aug/14/small-business-benefit-social-media
‘5 ways small businesses get social media wrong’ Mashable, June 25th 2012
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