Marketing is the key ingredient for a successful business. Thus doing it in cost effective way is a burning challenge to all the marketing managers out there since the more cost effective the marketing strategy is, the more is the Return on Investment.
Despite the conventional marketing methods, businesses benefit more from the cost effective online marketing methods. Apart from various online marketing strategies, social media marketing plays a vital role in benefiting your business provided used in a proper way!
Many business owner are still not aware of the benefits of a social media marketing which is why I often posed with questions from clients, the common questions being
I often come across different type of questions from clients, the common questions I get to answer are;
what do i get from social media marketing?
what are the benefits of doing social media marketing?
How many hours should i put in to promote my business?
what if people talk bad about my company?
Before knowing the benefits of social media marketing for business, lets see some statistical data of social media sites.
According to recent Facebook press announcement, Facebook statistics are;
- More than 500 million active users
- 50% of these active users log on to Facebook every day, so roughly that equates to 250 million users
- An average user has 130 friends
The highest number of Facebook users (country-wise) are nicely visualized in the below chart.
The following are the estimated Twitter stats based on comscore.
- More than 80 million global users
- Generating more than 60 million tweets a day.
The highest percent of Twitter users (country-wise) are nicely visualized in the below pie-chart.
Blogs are the best way to keep your target audience updated on your products, services or even about your business as a whole.
Advantages of Social Media Marketing
The above statistics shows how many millions of users use these sites and how potential are these networks for a business to grow. These social media sites can help your business in
- Increasing the exposure
- Knowing your target audience (Start-a-dialog, Interact & Engage)
- Increase the Relevant traffic, leads/sales
- Increase ROI (cost effect marketing)
- Building community around business
[pullquote]Marketers indicated that blogs were the top area in which they planned to increasing their social efforts – Michael A. Stelzner[/pullquote]
Understanding the importance of social media does not get your business the benefits. You need to learn the right way of promoting through social media marketing.
First things first, you need to learn which social media site to begin your marketing. You do not want to hit the tough road right at the start of your marketing.
Do a your research;
- Based on demographics of the social media sites, you can identify the consumer group and know if a particular site has your target consumer group.
- Know from your existing customers, you can get such information using feedback forms (add this in your regular feedback form along with email id).
- Online surveys can help you gather this information.
The better you understand your target group, the better you have the chance and ability to serve them.For instance, your research tells that majority of your target audience use Facebook and only few others use twitter & 80% of the local people visit local news/entertainment blog.
With such information you can decide from where to start your social media marketing, ie. from Facebook in this instance.
Reach & Focus
Create your company/business profile(s) in the selected social site(s). Let your regular customers know that you have your business profile on these social network site. Invite your existing customers for friends. Target only those whom you believe are your target audience. Reaching the right audience is key here.
Have your focus on your goals and do not make your business profile a personal profile. You should interact with your network friends/fans/followers but should maintain your focus on your goals. Business should staff those who believe in social media and who does not loose their business focus.
Communication & Consistency
Make sure your objective is making more and more sales. Do not sound like a robot or a sales pitch, start a dialog, reply to your network friends/fans & engage. Make sure you maintain the consistency in updating your profile, either it's Facebook, Twitter or your company blog. Consistent transfer of information is very important to keep your social network fans/friends interested and entertained. This does not mean you just send automated updates or sound like a robot.
[pullquote]Social media marketing is an opportunity to increase or better your company image as in whole – Vinod[/pullquote]
Attract your network friends/fans by
- Replying or commenting on their updates
- Special Coupons
- Sharing interesting news
- Be creative and not just copy others
Build community but not with increasing just the friends/fans in numbers. Successful social media marketing depends on how effective the response is from your network friends/fans and how influential you are in the network.
Try to be responsive and responsible as a business, you should be ready to handle any customer's negative feedback. If a genuine case, you address it and get it sorted. Ignoring social media marketing just because you are worried about negative feedback is just like a "bad business wanting good feedback". Businesses can be successful if you aim at customer satisfaction.
Be realistic! if your company has a negative image offline, then you cannot expect an over night image change for just being on social media/networks. If you want to be benefited from your social media marketing, then you should be ready to serve those negative feedback customers and turn them to positive, this is an opportunity to your business – utilize it.
Manage & Promote
Managing your social media profile is very important. Delayed response to a query does not really give a good impact. Always protect your profile from spam. There are tools that can help you in managing these tasks. Last but not the least, promote your business profile on regular basis to gain target audience and build your community.