The concept of social marketing spans all businesses of all types and all sizes. Social marketing requires commitment and consistency. However, depending on the type of business you have and the size of that business, your social marketing strategy may differ from other businesses around you.
It definitely is not a one-size-fits-all situation
There are some basic principles about which you should be aware and beyond that, you will have to figure out how to customize the rest to suit your particular business and to determine what works best for you.
Figure out what you want and need: Before you embark on any social marketing campaign, you will need to determine what your business needs and you will have to establish goals that fit those needs. If you don’t do that first, you will be trying to catch up until the end of time. That will certainly not be a productive use of your time and energy. Once you have established your goals, you will then be at the point where you will need to identify which social media channels are best suited for you and your business. If you can identify two or three important goals for your business, you should be fine. Those goals will help you to figure out if you are on the right track or if you need to adjust your direction in order to get where you need to be.
Determine who your top customer should be: If you sit back and think a little bit about it, you will begin to see (probably quite quickly) who your customer should be. Of course, on a very basic level, you are looking for people who will quickly become loyal to your brand and your offerings. You will look to them to continue to visit you (online as well as in person, if that applies) again and again. It will also help you to gather as much information about your ideal customers as possible so that you can begin to truly understand them and what they need. You won’t be able to build relationships with those people if you are not able to connect with them on a basic, human level. Once you have done all of that, you will be ready to choose the social media channels and circles that are most appropriate for you and your business. Of course, it is also very important to get a keen sense of the demographic details of your customers. One of the important details is the geographic location. The reason why that is important is that you will need to interact with them in person at some point and you can only do that it they are close enough to where you are.
Figure out the difference between social campaigns and social advertisements: In the past, in the days of traditional marketing and advertising, if you wanted to market your products and/or services, all you had to do was pay someone to make that happen. Now, with the advent of social media, it isn’t as simple as that anymore. Now, you have no choice but to spend time and effort promoting your offerings. Not only that but you have to do it in an extremely effective and clever way because your competition is so stiff. If you really want to make it work, you must do more than make use of social advertisements. You need to leverage social campaigns in the most effective manner possible. That involves more than just advertisements. It involves offering your customers and prospective customers incentives for interacting with you such as coupons, free items (such as a white paper, a newsletter, an eBook), etc. Contests are often an effective tool to use to entice people into engaging with you. You should understand that you can use social advertisements and social campaigns in tandem. They will work very effectively together if done correctly.
Make your social marketing a regular part of your work week: This is where the consistency and commitment comes into it. That doesn’t mean that you will have to work on social marketing for your business and that you won’t have any time for anything else. In fact, if that were the case, if would be disastrous. You need to dedicate a regular amount of time to social marketing each week (maybe 30 minutes a day) and you will start to see that your efforts will pay off. The positive results will become apparent. However, you shouldn’t get discouraged because you are expecting immediate results. It will take some months before your efforts start to show but once they do, your business will be buzzing.
Social marketing for your business is something that must be built into your strategy and the commitment that you make and the time and effort that you spend on it will be well worth your time. So remember to determine your goals up front and work toward them until you have achieved what you set out to do. Remember that in this day and age, your marketing success, in large part, is in the hands of your customers. You need them to succeed so you must tap that for all that it is worth. Your online presence and your online and in-person relationships are essential and you must make the most out of them.[signoff][/signoff]
Michael Cohn is the founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of CompuKol Communications LLC. He has over 25 years of experience in IT and web technologies.
Mr. Cohn founded CompuKol Communications to help small businesses and entrepreneurs increase their exposure and reputation on the Internet. CompuKol consults, creates, and implements communication strategies for small businesses to monopolize their markets with a unique business voice, vision, and visibility.
Prior to that, Mr. Cohn spent a significant amount of time at a major telecommunications company, where his main focus was on initiating and leading synergy efforts across all business units by dramatically improving efficiency, online collaboration, and the company’s Intranet capabilities, which accelerated gains in business productivity. His expertise includes social media marketing strategies; internet marketing; web presence design; business analysis; project management; management of global cross-matrix teams; systems engineering and analysis, architecture, prototyping and integration; technology evaluation and assessment; systems development; performance evaluation; and management of off-shore development.
Mr. Cohn earned a Master’s degree in project management from George Washington University in Washington, DC; and a Master’s degree in computer science and a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, NJ.