Social media, although a relatively recent phenomenon, is becoming an increasingly important part of any business’s marketing and client base development platform. The perception of social media marketing has shifted quickly”no longer viewed as a trendy or passing fad, having a flexible and well-managed presence in each of the “big three” ( Facebook , Twitter , and Google+ ) has become a must for any business seeking to secure a place in both the traditional and digital marketplace. What could once be accomplished by a traditional website now needs to be supplemented by a robust and responsive utilization of the tools social media offers. Navigating this strange, new world can be quite confusing at first, so here are some tips for those looking to bring their business up to speed.
Here are some quick facts about the role social media is currently playing in the business world, courtesy of the 2012 Social Media Marketing Industry Report :
There are three primary social media outlets that businesses use. Here is a basic overview of each outlet:
One of the keys to a successful social media marketing platform is knowing your own business. A large corporation is going to have needs and attributes which require a very different approach to social media marketing than a small, local business will need to be successful. Play to your strengths”if you’re a larger company, focus on using social media to connect with a larger audience in order to get national exposure for your brand and products. If you’re a small, local business, use social media to build a dedicated, loyal customer base by offering the personal touch that only a local business can provide. If your business has a product or service that is primarily used or purchased by other businesses, use social media to network with other businesses in order to increase your visibility in the commercial marketplace. If your business offers a product or service which is primarily used or purchased by individual consumers, aim to use social media as a way to develop a pool of customers who see your brand as quality, hip, and available. No matter the size or nature of your business, a knowledge of your company’s strengths, target market, and product or service niche is an essential part of any successful social media marketing platform.
Lastly, if it is within your company’s financial position to do so, consider creating a position specially designed to create, develop, and maintain your company’s social media marketing presence. More and more colleges are offering degrees specifically tailored to social media marketing, and graduates of these programs are trained and ready to help utilize the powerful marketing tools social media offers to increase the exposure of your brand and the sales of your products. If your company is not able to afford a dedicated in house position for social media management, be sure to hire a third-party service provider that specializes in social media marketing . It is much easier and effective to hire a trained expert in this field instead of attempting to figure it out on your own or task one of your other employees”whose training and expertise are better used elsewhere”to try to manage your social media marketing.