As a small business owner, using traditional marketing methods can be daunting. Large corporations often have big budgets that allow them to effectively advertise and promote through traditional means. Small businesses, however, must search for more cost-effective ways to reach their target market. In today’s digital age, this answer has come in the form of social marketing.
Social marketing is a powerful tool for businesses to directly engage with their target market. The unprecedented amount of reach and exposure can help small business owners to spread their message across multiple channels–all while keeping those much-needed funds in the bank. Marketing costs can be kept to a minimum, as it doesn’t costs a thing to publish a post on Facebook, tweet a link to a promotion, or upload a product image to Instagram. Sharing content on social media can help raise search engine rankings. Users can like or comment on your content on their own social networks. This provides back-links to your site, which is a primary component for search engines in search results positioning.
Because social marketing is a platform for two-way communication between businesses and customers, it can greatly assist in understanding the needs and wants of your target market. Social media channels are most effective when used to engage with your customers–not just promote your products. It is this two-way interaction that can help small businesses spread their message. This, in turn, helps build a connection between the target audience and the company. When customers are happy with their experience, they will share it with their friends on their own networks. This, of course, creates further opportunities for business when those new customers have a need for your product or service.
While social marketing gives businesses the ability to develop strong relationships with their customers, it is this very characteristic that can also lead to negative publicity. For example, if a customer has a bad experience with your company, they often will choose to share it publicly. This, of course, can have negativity in terms of the reputation of your brand. It is essential, therefore, to IMMEDIATELY deal with feedback and contact the customer directly so as to avoid as much damage to the brand’s image as possible.
While social media does not require much of a financial investment, it does require a personal investment of your valuable time. The most successful social marketing campaigns are built on daily interaction with audiences. It is necessary to keep content updated regularly; while constantly addressing customer issues, responding to comments, etc. Only through a significant investment of your precious time will you be able to develop strong relationships with your customers and increase your brand awareness enough to stay competitive.
Category: Social Media Marketing 201