With the overwhelming success and sustained growth of Social Media websites and platforms, it has now become the norm for competitive businesses to employ some Social Media (SM) presence. Many savvy SMBs have been active across SM networks and tactics for the past few years. The rationale for each business is different. The upside and benefits are common to all businesses concerned about growth, ROI, marketing, advertising and image.
More Nimble and Less Costly Than Traditional Marketing
Advertising campaigns are designed and planned months in advance. Printing and broadcast are not cheap. Newspaper readership is hitting new lows. Broadcast and cable ads are fragmented, at best. Not a lot of iPod or MP3 player users are listening to radio. When was the last time you used the Yellow Pages? Couponing has gone digital and there are never enough links to your website. And…things change, so your planned ad campaign, if planned 24 hours in advance of launch, would probably be a bit different than 24 days in advance. SM marketing is nimble and less costly. The rumor of SM being free is a myth. Planning and time will be needed. Outsourced professionals may be necessary for small businesses.
Compete with Larger Businesses
Small budgets can compete with big business in this arena. Going viral has nothing to do with brand or budget. Content, timing, and execution rule. Properly executed SM marketing uses pretty much the same tools regardless the size of your business. Your reach can be hyper-local or national. You can have geo-location specials on Foursquare and compete with Starbucks or Chili’s. It’s not the number of your friends or followers, it’s the quality of content and two-way communications.
Image and Brand
It was not that long ago that TV, radio, print, billboards, and cable were the only media capable of reaching mass market. It was costly and mostly large corporations had those types of budgets. The advantage was clear. Social Media has leveled the playing field. You and I can now compete via a wide array of options. YouTube, Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Blogs, LinkedIn, Flickr, and dozens of other platforms have us competing with larger organizations.
Word of Mouth Marketing
Launching or rebranding, new PR push, something big to promote, new involvement with your community, new hires, or whatever drives your business or organization. SM offers vehicles to promote business in a custom fashion that makes sense for you; no cookie cutter approach necessary. There is a lot more to local marketing than coupons and newspaper ads. SM transforms the internet into local micro-broadcasting networks.
New Lines of Communication With Customers
Social Media is not all about promotion. It’s almost 2011 and customers want to be digitally engaged. Forget the tent card on the table or the feedback postcard. Think about that last Yelp review and your Facebook page. Think about your Twitter presence and your next blog entry. SM gives every business owner the ability to listen to their customers in real time and to respond in real time. All business (including yours) is now 24x7x365. Business/social media never sleeps.
If you utilize the different SM outlets, they eventually become inbound links and will drive traffic to your business website. Many companies are missing the boat on this right now. More SM traffic and visibility often equals ROI. Even if you are not in an ecommerce business, you want the traffic to your webpage. And with iPhones, Blackberries, Androids, and other Smart phones reaching critical mass in 2011; that mobile traffic to your site may be the factor that makes or breaks businesses.
SM is searchable. SEO includes “everything” on and connected to your presence on SM sites. SM sites not only rank very high on search engines, they also rank quick. All you SM data and bios are looked at and ranked by Google. Yes, even LinkedIn profiles, Tweets, this blog post, Yelp reviews, Tumblr pictures, and your Facebook updates.
Sometimes this can seem a bit much. If you do not have the time to manage your new media presence, give Inclusion Media a call or send us an email.