Does your Business need Social Media to reach Marketing Objectives?
It may be something that scares you, it maybe something that doesn’t interest you at all, it may even be something you know nothing about, unfortunately for you, it’s something you will have to acclimatize to, and sooner rather than later. Over the past 5 years, social media has begun to redefine the way companies operate in their given market place. Recent stats show 46% of online customers look to social media when making a purchase and that 8 out of 10 SMB’s engage with customers via social media platforms. Although these statistics show you that your business probably should be using social media as a marketing tool, they don’t give a fair indication as to how many businesses are butchering their presence, nor do they tell you how to avoid such failures. Whether you’re wondering were it all went wrong or looking to jump in the social media pool, these three steps will ensure you have a strong foundation to build on in the future. Our recent post covers how to set up a social media strategy in 8 simple steps but first lets dive deeper into the numbers.
1. Identify your target market and stick to your marketing objectives
Simple I know, but this is something many SMB’s have failed to do on a regular basis. Moving the goal posts has become a large problem for businesses with the emergence of social media as a marketing tool. The issue is that social media platforms have such a massive reach. To put it into perspective It’s expected by some time in 2015 there will be 1.96 billion social media users worldwide, that is double the 0.97 billion there was in 2010. With numbers like this there’s no wonder eyes light up and objectives go out the window in search of a greater reach. What is often forgotten is that quality is still better than quantity, even on social media. What is often overlooked is that of those 1.96 billion people, maybe 0.5% (and that’s being generous in many cases) is the market your business is in the hunt for. There’s a need to be specific to your target market, and that’s the first hurdle many businesses stumble on when jumping into social media marketing. Any social media consultant will tell you to keep it precise. Some social media mediums will be more fruitful than others, therefore it’s often just a lack of direction, or maybe a lack of understanding about how to attack your target market. But if you are struggling to find the best way to reach your market, then some guidance or direction could be what you need. Do you know how to best reach you target market?
2. Ensure you have integrated marketing communications across all channels
Another simple step that is often forgotten is the integration of marketing communications. The beauty of integrating your communications is that all channels have strengths and weaknesses, and often one channel’s pro will complement another channel’s con. For example there’s nothing better well directed email campaign to remind customers your business is still out there providing a good service, but an email campaign doesn’t offer the customer interaction that the twitters and facebooks of the world do. Unfortunately here is were things can start to break down. One key issue that arises is inconsistencies between channel management. It could be that an outside firm is doing a business’s email campaigns or advertising, and the social media is being done internally. The old adage, too many cooks spoil the broth, is particularly apt for this point. Although synchronization can be achieved when sharing marketing roles, it is often best executed with either one manager overseeing the whole process or the use of a cross-functional team. With one voice all unnecessary noise is cut out and marketing objectives can be achieved with greater ease.
3. Measure what matters and integrate marketing objectives between departments
It’s very easy to get carried away and begin to focus on quantity rather than quality. 5,000 likes doesn’t mean a thing if those likes don’t generate sales. This is often where marketing and sales clash. Marketers feel sales don’t follow leads properly, and sales feel marketer’s leads are poor quality. So continuing on the theme of integration comes the interesting concept of Smarketing. Smarketing is the integration of marketing objectives across the sales and marketing departments of a business. With a common integrated approach between them, businesses have recorded revenue growth of up to 20% annually. Social media has a massive part to play in this regard. Monitoring your social media is hugely important, and you might need some advice when it comes to keeping up with followers and leads across your Social Media accounts. It is very important for the marketing team to accurately measure social media-related metrics, because if efforts aren’t measured correctly, you’ll never know if your social media strategies are working. As different goals have different results, measuring your results against your objectives is incredibly important.
4. Be honest and ask yourself, does my business need a Social Media Consultant?
The first 3 steps mentioned above are at the very least what you should be doing to ensure your business’s social media is integrated smoothly. They are what I will call the foundations to a successful social media presence. These aren’t pieces that will just fall into place. They need to be carefully thought out and implemented to best suit your business. No one knows better than you whether you can effectively put these foundations in place, so take a bit of time and be honest, can you do it yourself?
The premise is, that if used correctly, social media can be a powerful marketing tool, but used without direction or purpose, it can seriously damage your business’s public persona. The benefits are there to be seen through the success of others. Make sure your business doesn’t slip through the cracks into the shadows of the social media world.
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