Janet is a savvy small business owner. She successfully navigated her way through the recession and is enjoying steady growth. She’s well-versed on her clientele and knows their individual likes and dislikes. She knows who her competition is and what they’re up to. She keeps up with trends, so she has a Facebook profile and a Twitter handle. So, why has she seen a marked increase in the growth of her competitors’ business and not her own? When she hears people speak of her product, why do they associate it with her competition? What can Janet do to make sure her company is foremost in her customer’s minds?
Regardless of the size of your company, or your position within its ranks, you know how important it is these days to be established on social media, spending ample time actively engaging your client-base. When it comes to social media, most companies are online networking when they need to be social media marketing. The same principles apply to marketing your company on the Web as they do in print — frequency and repetition are imperative. You need to be in front of your target audience again and again on multiple platforms to build top of mind awareness. Here are some areas to concentrate on while building your social media marketing strategy.
1. Avoid the Field of Dreams fallacy.
You have a firm presence on a variety of social media platforms and have carved out a stout digital footprint? Terrific – now, are you taking time out regularly to engage your client-base? Despite the optimistic ‘if you build it, they will come’ mentality, creating social media outlets without frequent, active participation is like fashioning a clipper ship without a mast or sails. In order for your efforts to produce a spike in business or revenue, you need to get into the trenches with your clients. Use ‘@’ replies on Twitter to demonstrate light-speed customer service; post valuable, thought-provoking status updates on Facebook and participate in the conversations that unfold. Never underestimate the value your customers place on actively engaging their questions, concerns and compliments.
2. Market, don’t network.
A critical misstep many business owners make when launching a social media campaign is immediately adding or following everyone they know. While inflated friend statistics may serve to massage your ego, they do little to promote your business or cause. Instead, you should be participating in social media marketing. Priority one should be positioning yourself in front of your customers to generate online traction and expand your reach. Social networking should be confined to your personal profiles, where you’re free to follow your neighbors, and their Great Dane named Pickles, should you choose. Limit your interactions on your company profiles to providing useful content and information to those who frequent your establishment, and restrict any exchanges with colleagues, friends and family to your personal profile.