In short, yes. How Social Media Marketing is used however is different for each business.
If you have a business or thinking about setting up a business then this post will not only help you decide how social media marketing might be able to help you, it will have you thinking about what marketing strategies in general you could be focusing on in your business.
Using Social Media Marketing for some is just having a presence for customers to connect and be offered bonuses or specials for participating in surveys of new products or for just being a fan and spreading the word… a sample of this would be Coke Cola’s Facebook Fan Page. For corporate services such as lawyers then their personal profiles and their connections are important – so Twitter and Linked In are great for increasing their network. And we have all seen how YouTube can work for any size business by providing short ‘how to’ info videos or cost effective advertising videos. Even Real Estate Agents are utilizing the power of uploading virtual tours of listed properties and then linking it to their own website for people to book an inspection.
But before jumping in and creating a heap of Social Media Profiles read these general marketing points… especially if you are a small family owned business and ‘wear many hats’ with a limited marketing budget.
★ what contacts have you already got to help you get your product noticed eg look for local shops that would compliment displaying your product but not in competition with you eg if selling cosmetics find independent hairdressers/fashion/jewellery shops who could display your cosmetics for a small % of your profit – and then later consider purchasing the products up front to sell.
★ Market stall holders are also a great resource for networking. Look for stalls that would compliment your product and suggest how the both of you could offer a ‘market special’ by bundling your products together to be sold. I adds higher value to the customer so it is a win-win for you and the stall holder.
★ think of how to keep in touch with your customers by building an email list. This will mean you don’t have to continually spend money/time marketing for new customers and can offer them special discounts or ‘buy this item & get this free’for being loyal followers etc. If you have a website already use an opt-in form on your front page for people to enter their email in. A free service is MailChimp but I prefer using Aweber which is $20 per month because you can run multiple lists and they have a whole lot of other additional features on offer including a tonne of fancy email templates for special occasions or newsletter appearances. Think of a compelling offer to get them on the email list – a discount code or downloadable giveaway such as 10 hot tips in applying your makeup to make it last longer.
★ how much time can you commit to marketing as it will have an impact on the time you already spend in your business on product creation & posting if you’re doing it yourself.
★ how much time you have is a key point to help you decide what kind of marketing strategies you use & where to focus any budget, and then build from there. eg fan pages & twitter are cheap to set up but take time to maintain – searching possible business connections and information to post, harvesting and creating relationships with those connections and what methods you plan to use to list products or take orders if you are not using a website etc. The upside is you are easily creating a list of potential customers who qualified themselves as being interested in your product – they’re not on your mailing list yet but it sure beats paying to have a flyer posted every 6 months to the same address area in hope of finding people who might be interested!
★ a website can automate ordering but needs ongoing maintenance such as new product images or specials to be uploaded. You will also need to consider how to promote elsewhere online to get traffic to your website. There are many cost effective marketing options to build into website such as e-parties where people register to host their own parties and receive in return a percentage to spend on your website, or choose from ‘host only’ product lists. Another common website program offered to customers is affiliate payments for promoting and driving traffic to your website – but think how to get those potential marketers to your website in the first place. Again this is a great way to use Social Media Marketing strategies without spending money… just your time. Post on related Fan Page walls advertising for hosts or affiliates with a link to your website. This too can work offline… think how businesses like Tupperware or Avon started… think your local community billboards, network of friends.
So the key reasons for setting up any Social Media Profiles will be different for each business and rather than think ‘well no one else I know in my field of business is doing it’ think ‘I’m going to start marketing in a place no-one else is!’ This post was inspired by a Facebook Fan’s question today that I thought many would relate to, so I shared my response here, rather than personally message her. I hope some of these ideas have helped in clarifying what it is you set out to do and decide which marketing strategies to focus your businesses budgets or time on.
My best advice is to identify where your skill strengths are and continue to do that – because no one will do it better. The focus your budget on getting done what you’re not so good at, finding the people that do it better. Once you know what it is you want to achieve and have the key people in place to help you, then prioritize the fastest money making ideas first. This is so you can make sales in order to generate a better cash flow and then increase your marketing budget and therefore continually improving your exposure & sales over and over.
For more information on what social media strategies you could use related to your business you can send me an email or you can join my FREE “Socialising For Profit” E-course and start building your own Social Media Campaign. Just fill in the form on my website.