There is a growing trend for small businesses to be turning up on Facebook and Twitter and making an effort towards building numbers of followers. Social Media we are told is ‘where it is at’ and you need to be there. There is also a growing trend for these pages to be abandoned and neglected and not updated for months at a time.
That’s not a very good sign to leave out to customers. It doesn’t say good things about that business.
Social media offers owners of small and medium sized businesses the chance to compete against large business in an affordable way and get seen. But it isn’t free. And while it may look simple it isn’t easy.
Let’s look at some real characteristics of online marketing using social media.
Myth One – It’s Free!
While the platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are free to use, there are costs associated with making this work for you.
You may want to buy ads on Facebook to build your Likes on the Page or to promote particular posts.
Primarily your time is also a cost. Whether you put a figure on it or not, time spent is costing you. Your time is not just involved in the posts that you put on the wall, but in creating quality content that you can post to your wall, as well as engaging and generating more traffic to your Facebook page on other sites and offline. Adding valuable content to your website and social platforms is the beginning using Content Marketing well to drive more sales.
Myth Two – Your Teenager Can Do It
Your presence on social media may look like fun but it is not a game it is business. How you present your business on Facebook or Twitter needs to be managed by someone who has been trained to know what they are doing, and why things are done *this* way, not *that* way. Just like you would in your business. That’s not your teenager and creating the page is not the end of it, it is the beginning. It is also a commitment that needs to be maintained and will follow standards and policies that you need to know from the point of view of your terms of service agreement with Facebook etc, but also what you decide to be your company policy online.
Myth Three – My Customers Are Local So I Don’t Need To Be Online
Guess what? Local customers use the internet too.
And local customers very often prefer to buy online from a local business. Either way, it’s your job if you own a business, to do what the business needs, and presenting your business professionally in Main Street, and online is part of that responsibility you have to ensure your own success in your business.
Myth Four – I Don’t Need A Website Now
Guess what? You need a website. Your business needs to own its own bit of virtual ‘real estate’ which you control and is not at the mercy of another company.
Your time invested in your Facebook page or other social medial platform is sunk and these social pages are NOT under your control and what’s more … could disappear overnight. And with it gone too are your contacts and all the work you have put into it.
Your social media presence should be driving customers to your own website or to contact you for sales. That’s what online marketing is about. Sales. Sales. Not jibber jabber. Sales.
Remember, it is business – not a game.
What Does A Successful Business Owner Do?
- Develop and write down your strategy for how you will run this section of your marketing plan
- Make sure your online marketing plan is part of your overall Marketing Plan.
- Give it a budget and make the funds available for that purpose
- Make a list of resources you need to use social media as a marketing addition
- Note which of these resources you DO NOT currently have and Get Them.
- If you have had no training get some.
- If you need to hire someone to physically work on the social media campaign get some training first so you know HOW to hire the right person and WHAT you need them to do. Do not leave it up to the junior to make your online business decisions!
- Get your website properly set up to take advantage of increased traffic and to allow customers to purchase easily
Your online marketing combines with your conventional marketing to be your public relations hub.
Put on a good show.