Is Social Media Marketing for Everyone?
An increasing number of small businesses today are beginning to consider social media marketing even more essential than having a website, convinced that social media sites are the ultimate marketing tool.
It's tempting to jump on that bandwagon but look before you leap. Social media marketing could actually lose your business money if you're not cut out for it.
Will social media marketing work for you?
Ask yourself the following three questions to help identify if social media marketing could work for you:
1) Is your target market using social media sites?
This is perhaps the most essential question. If the answer is no, there's little to no reason for you to be using social media for your own marketing.
Do a little research to find out if your target demographic is using social networking websites, and if so, which ones? You don't want to waste your time on Twitter when most of your customer base is on MySpace.
2) How is your target market using social media?
It's very tempting to simply sign up for an account and begin bombarding your potential customers with information; but beware, that's NOT how social media works. Few of your potential customers will pay attention to you if you haven't put the time into figuring out how to use social media tools the way everyone else does.
If your target audience is on Twitter for instance, you will want to start with building some relationships by doing the following:
Post interesting comments on topics related to your area of expertise
Respond to other Tweets with useful, interesting or topical comments
Link to new sources of content (from your website and other industry sources for instance)
Share your personality – after all, it is about being sociable
Doing these things before you promote yourself will help establish you as a person who knows his or her stuff and is willing to share expertise.
3) Do you have the time to use social media?
If all of the above sounds exhausting to you, then you may simply not have enough time to use social media. As mentioned, it is, after all, about being social. You'll need to be able to log on regularly and spend a fair amount of time on simply creating relationships, not just promoting yourself.
Invest your online marketing budget wisely
In a recent survey by Ad-ology, small businesses said they planned to increase their spending on social networking, though most did not intend to change the amount of money they spent on online marketing overall.
If your target demographic already responds very well to email marketing, it probably isn't wise to take money away from that to put into social media.