We all know that at times marketing can be costly – and for some smaller business it can be difficult to justify the spend without the cash flow. For those in this situation, social media has been a blessing. It’s a free way to project your message out to the world, without location limitations and a real chance to get your audience engaging with you. A lot of businesses find running online competitions or starting conversations is a great way to get your customers talking to you, and helps you stand out for them in the mire of competitors. With the variety of social networks out there now there is something for almost all business models, but, as with all marketing activities, it needs to be carefully thought through.
Choose your networks
To a lot of people, social networking goes as far as Twitter and Facebook, but there are hundreds of social networks out there and not all of them will fit with your business model, but some of them will. For example, if you are a photographer then networks such as Pintrest and Instagram could be incredibly beneficial to you, whereas Facebook or Vimeo might not work as well. The difficulty will be striking a balance between using too few social networks and using too many – spreading yourself too thinly with a lot of repetition. There are no hard and fast rules for which networks will work for who, but it’s important to give each of them a try and not rule any out before you’ve had a better look.
This is something everyone hates. You go online to network and maybe socialise a bit, but instead your feed is full of one person constantly posting about their product or service. It becomes more irritating than anything else, and actually puts you off buying from them. Whilst social media can be used as a business strategy, it’s important to remember who you are trying to reach, and what they will want to see. 99% of people ignore spam on social media, so make sure what you are sharing is quality, interesting content that people will want to engage with rather than lists of your services.
Where will your customers look?
This may seem like a really basic thing, but it’s important to remember in any marketing activity where your customers will go for your kind of service. Larger corporations will often find that LinkedIn and Twitter are better avenues for them as it allows them a lot of control and helps to connect with other people of the same mindset. However a lot of the more creative or individual focused businesses are now turning to Facebook, Pintrest and Instagram. People involved in craft and design in particular migrate to Pintrest, with some wedding dress designers attracting the majority of their business from the image collecting and linking site.
The thing to bear in mind is: social media is just that – it’s social! We’re at a point in time where people are more interested in buying from people they know and have built up a relationship with, and whilst it may take up to 30 touches with a customer before they buy from you, social media lets you accelerate that process at almost no cost. Combined with a solid marketing strategy and done properly, social media can improve your visibility to customers and even boost your sales for no cost.