In this episode of our marketing podcast, we give you an introduction to social media marketing.
Social media is transforming the way businesses talk to their customers. This new set of technologies, easily accessible by all, has given businesses the ability to reach existing and potential customers quickly and cost effectively.
You probably already use social media. If you have a Facebook profile, or a Twitter account, you are already familiar with these platforms. The trick for businesses is to work out how to harness those tools, many of which we all use every day, and use them to build meaningful conversations with customers.
Social media has a number of clear benefits. Perhaps most importantly, it can allow you to increase your marketing reach very quickly. Your potential customers are spending more and more of their time online, and with the intelligent use of social media you can engage with them there.
Social media is also great for targeting. Think about how much information you have on your own Facebook profile. You’ve probably told Facebook which city you live in, how old you are, what music you listen to, maybe even how you vote. This information is hugely important for businesses. Rather than relying on traditional scattergun tactics, social media enables you to reach the people who are most likely to be interested in what you have to say.
And, of course, most social media platforms are free to sign up to. It costs nothing to sign up to Facebook, for example – although you might choose to start spending money on social advertising further down the line.
It is important to understand, though, that a successful social media strategy requires a time investment. It is not enough to simply set up a profile and expect people to come to you. You need to develop a flexible but defined framework for your activities. Remember that you need to give people a reason to interact with you on social media, and this requires you to devote some time. We will talk more about developing a social media strategy in later episodes.
For now, though, let’s think about choosing a platform. The range of different social media options on offer can seem dazzling, and they all have their uses. The trick is to find a combination of tools that works well for you and your business.
Your choice of platforms might depend, to a great extent, on the nature of your business. The idea is to engage with your customers on the sites they already use. So think about your existing customer base. Are they traditionally early adopters of technology? If so, Google Plus and Twitter might be worth a look. Alternatively, are you pitching at people who tend to use the internet to communicate with their friends, or maybe to keep up with their favourite brands? In that case, Facebook is probably your best bet.
It is also worth thinking about the sorts of content you want to share. For example, are you interested in producing longform content, and interacting with others who do the same? If so, you might want to consider social blogging platforms like Tumblr.
The key is to understand that a successful social media strategy requires mix of activities across a range of platforms. It is a process of evolution and of learning. Don’t be scared to experiment with different sites – it’s by experimenting that you will be most likely to find the combination that works for you.
In the next episode of the Simply Business podcast, we’ll be looking at developing that strategy further, engaging with customers, and building your online identity.