Are you struggling to grasp the value of social media for your business? Has this forced you to push off any real social media efforts? If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to either of these questions, then you’re most certainly not alone.
In this article, we are going to help you answer the question of whether or not your business actually needs a social media strategy by making viable business cases for it. Only then should you be able to decide whether or not social media is right for your business.
What is an Effective Social Media Strategy?
Let’s make sure we are on the same page here before continuing…
Effective social media strategies, to us, are about using other websites and applications to promote original, quality content with the goals of (1) increasing reach, (2) creating engagement and (3) improving communication between businesses and consumers.
Not sure how to actually use social media? Here are some tips to get you started:
Quick Tips for Effective Social Media Marketing
- Promote new blog posts on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn with short, enticing updates that include links back to the post on your blog
- Submit viral content pieces (infographics, videos, memes) to sites like Reddit and StumbleUpon
- Invite customers to follow company social media accounts for exclusive updates, promos, specials and tips relevant to your business
- Sponsor social media contests and polls to encourage customers and prospects to get involved with and support their local communities
- Hold online events (eg. Google+ Hangouts) where customers and prospects can meet with company leaders
Social media is NOT about regurgitating someone else’s point of view, talking at people, replicating experiences that should be happening on a company’s website or originating content that should be published on a company’s blog.
The most effective social media strategies are ones that are targeted to each audience and are made up of higher percentages of listening and engagement than preaching and proselytizing.
With that said, social media marketing is not for every business. Before you make that conclusion for your business though it is important to know why or why not.
Social Media as a Business Case
If you’re a business owner or marketing executive, then tell us if this is sounds familiar:
Many companies have procrastinated when it comes to initiating a real social media strategy. Some of the reasons for this have been lack of knowledge of social media, privacy concerns, cost, time and just plain old fear of the unknown.
There’s absolutely nothing unnatural about this either. A lot of these barriers have originated from the constant bombardment of sales pitches by social media “experts” and the misinformation provided in most cases.
Businesses, like yours, will continue to hold off on social media strategies until the people explaining and selling it to them start doing so correctly.
As Brian Solis, a principal at Altimeter Group, explains in this accurate lesson of how to sell social media, the way to get companies to pull the trigger on social media is to make a business case for it and stop ‘selling’ it.
We couldn’t agree with Brian more. For us to spend time and money on social media there needs to be a strong business case for those efforts. The same should go for your business and we’re going to help you understand where to start with this.
Is Social Media Right for You?
Social media should be something that helps to grow your business, not suck the time, money and life out of it. When you start to think of social media in this way, as opposed to something that will cost you more money, distract your business or leave your company open for scrutiny, only then will you see the real value and get actual results from it.
So, how do you tell if social media is actually right for your business?
Here are some qualifications to help you find your answer.
Social Media is Right for You if…
- Your customers are there. If you customers spend time on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google+, etc, then your business needs to have a presence there.
- You believe in transparency. If you are not afraid or prevented from sharing as many details about your business as possible, then social media can provide an amazing platform for public praise and respect.
- You want more communication. If you want to be able to openly communicate with your customers and prospects where they are, on their time, then you won’t find a better place to accomplish this.
- You welcome word of mouth. If your business thrives off of word of mouth referrals, then you cannot pass up on the opportunity to get even more business from the newest version of “word of mouth” – social media networking.
- You like free market research. If you want to save thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours on market research, then look no further than the top social networks. A few simple polls can deliver what would normally be very expensive data.
- You need a better ROI. If your other traditional marketing efforts are expensive and slow, then you may just find that social media strategies deliver better returns over time. Results may vary depending on involved products and services.
These 6 qualifiers should help you make the right decision for your business. At the end of the day, any marketing campaigns should contribute to your bottom line and improve your relationship with your customers. If you are unable to find a viable business case for your company’s use of social media, then focus your efforts elsewhere.
Finding Your Social Media Strategy
Stop fearing social media and start thinking about it differently.
When you do this will you truly understand social media enough to decide whether its right for your business. And, if and when you do find it to be a fit, you will be able to appreciate it more and get the best results out of it.
If you need help discovering a business case for your company, or just need some direction with your current social media strategy, then we would love to help. Take advantage of our social media experience today to start getting results tomorrow!
Do you need help determining whether or not social media is right for your business?