Presenting your business on social networking sites is cheap and very effective. Running marketing activities in social media is currently much cheaper and more effective than presence in traditional media. These facts prove social media as very useful marketing tools. Potential value of social networking sites for entrepreneurs and small businesses has been proven during last few years. On the other hand, there is a risk that if you do not use social media, your competitor probably is, and this puts you at a significant strategic disadvantage.
Common sense tells us that current explosion of social media sites should eliminate any concern over a lack of diversity of marketplace and competition. So, which social networking platform to choose for your business? It depends on what you are attempting to accomplish, and what kind of clients or potential customers you want to reach. Answers to these two questions define the most important part of your social media presence strategy.
Do not put all your eggs in one basket
Presenting your business on large number of sites would be nice as you would engage with more audience but is not feasible in terms of setup costs and more important long-term maintenance costs. On the other hand, do not risk losing everything by investing all your marketing efforts and money into only one platform. You might be thinking Facebook is currently the most popular platform and it will remain as such in the future. New platforms are popping up each day trying to compete with current big players. Do you remember Myspace which is one of the bad examples from the recent past? From 2005 until early 2008, Myspace was the most visited social networking site in the world. Last year Myspace registered its sharpest audience declines and today it is still losing their audience in spite of several redesigns.
If you are using social media to generate revenue, you need to be very careful in how to approach your social media presence strategy. Do you have control over the good and bad management decisions within Facebook and Twitter? By diversifying your social networking presence to several platforms, you can safeguard your strategy against poor decisions within social networking companies. It is highly recommended to diversify in case something bizarre or unexpected happens and not to ignore newly introduced platforms as you could ultimately pay the price. Currently, the most popular platforms are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Goggle+ and YouTube. There are, of course, many other niche sites, but those five are the most important social networking sites for entrepreneurs and small businesses today.
Importance of engagement
You should strive to engage with your target audience over as many channels as you can handle. Experiment with different social media sites, start newsletter and build a list, do create interesting and high quality content so that people see your website, and you, as a resource. Do so and you will be less exposed to the rise and fall of the social media giants and their accompanying egos. We are living in an interesting time as it concerns social media growth and it is important to keep an eye on where the emerging activity and business growth arises and take advantage when it does.
Many businesses, no matter which industry are they coming from, find social media very important component of an online marketing strategy since millions of people access social media sites every day and some of them more the once a day. Communities of popular social networks are several times greater than population of many European countries. Would you refuse to be where millions of your potential customers are?
Many companies mastered good business practice on how to deal with social media presence well. Unfortunately, there are still those that continue to struggle. Common challenge is a pace and reach of social media. Facebook comment can be read and shared instantly and then shared again in matter of minutes. Publishing exceptional interesting content helps build your online audience as it will be likely shared by readers on networks like Facebook, Twitter and many others. The more interesting content you produce, the better your chances for increased search engine ranking and visibility are. This attracts new visitors to your site and your audience is increasing dramatically.
New features and limitations set by social networks ask for inventive thinking to get most out of your social media presence. Cultural differences are challenge on their own as you might find yourself posting something which might be later found offending by someone out there in such a wide community. Such mistakes might be found discouraging for businesses considering entering social media arena, but this challenge is not so hard to deal with.
When you decide to be present in social media you need to be active to be effective. There is no point to open a social media profile and do not communicate with your audience on a regular basis. You should listen more then you talk to succeed. The main point of being social is to deal with your target community members to make this marketing effort efficient and effective. Don’t expect big results over the night. Usually it takes much effort and patience to achieve desired results. You should focus your social media marketing effort to area of your expertise rather than aiming to target everything to everyone.
Bigger companies struggle with prompt posting of information when there is no adequate social media strategy. Such companies worry too much about what to say, how to say it and there might be a significant delay if such content needs approvals from several managers before it can be published. Such practice might cause information becoming outdated before it is actually released as someone more agile might already come into possession of it and had already posted it on his profile before you.
Good practice is to assign individuals or even a team and empower them with procedures and to trust them ultimately that they will do their job well. Assignment of student or a sixteen year old nephew to be responsible for business communication with social media is not the best approach. Persons responsible for communication with social media should have broad knowledge of company products and services, special offerings, company mission and structure itself to mitigate a chance of wrong message being published.