As a marketer in this brave new digital world, you may well be wondering: Is social media right for my business? A lot is being said about this powerful marketing tool, so it’s up to each decision maker to sift through the information and determine what role, if any, it should play in their company’s overall online marketing strategy.
Asking a few important questions will help you get started:
1. Why do you think you need social media?
Are you motivated by a desire for more and better customer relationships? A need to do what the competition is doing? An assumption that it must be a good thing if everyone else is doing it?
2. Will social media help you achieve your goals?
What are your goals and how can you use social media to reach them? Social media can perform many functions—do they line up with your marketing objectives?
3. Do you have the personnel to run the social media campaign?
Are there people within your team willing and able to perform the day-to-day tasks, such as posting fresh content, responding to feedback, updating the account and measuring results? Or will you need to hire new people?
Answering these questions will help you decide if social media fits into your company’s marketing plan. For example, your company may offer services that are private and confidential. Given the fact that social media is inherently, well...social, do your clients/customers really want to get onto a public forum and discuss their experiences?
Once you’ve asked yourself the basic questions outlined above, think about the following:
Your target audience—Your customers determine your strategy. Social media will fit in only if it aligns with the needs of your target market. You may have to adapt the way you use social media to make these people feel comfortable and willing to engage.
Your existing site—How well does your site perform? It’s tempting to think that your site simply can’t compete with social media in terms of reach and results. However, if your site is well-built, SEO optimized and converting leads to sales at a good rate, you may want to stick with it as your main sales tool.
Other marketing tools—There are ways to engage with customers outside of social media. A blog on your site, for example, can allow comments and guest posts. An email newsletter offers customers a way to link to you.
Social media can be incorporated into your marketing strategy in a variety of ways. It can compliment other methods; it can make up a large or small percentage of your time and resources. The most important considerations are your company’s particular goals, its budget and its human resources.
Remember—you can’t know if social media is the answer until you know the questions! So take the time to ask the questions, plan out your strategy and see where social media fits in, if at all. It’s the surest way to know if this powerful marketing tool will get you where you want to go.