As the number and types of social media platforms continues to grow, it’s becoming more important for businesses to focus on marketing through these channels. Consumer participation on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and other social sites is only going to keep expanding. If you want to take advantage of this ongoing trend to bring in new customers and create more sales for your business, you have to be ready to overcome the challenges associated with starting a social media marketing campaign.
One of the biggest challenges when starting any new business endeavor is allocating enough time and resources to make it work. You have a set number of employees and only so much time in a day to devote to ensuring that your company runs smoothly. Whether you already have a social media presence or you’re just starting out, it’s impossible to head up a good campaign without enough time or manpower.Before starting your next social media marketing endeavor, make sure that you have:
• Marketing staff to design and implement the campaign
• IT professionals to monitor campaign results
• PR employees to handle customer questions and complaints
• Tools to manage multiple social media platforms and make monitoring easier
The landscape of social media marketing is vastly different from that of traditional advertising. You’re not just selling products; you’re building relationships. People don’t want to follow a Twitter feed or visit a Facebook page that only spews ads. Instead of giving customers the “hard sell” every time you make a post via social media, focus on giving them relevant, interesting content that they’ll want to read. This draws positive attention to your profiles and can help make people more receptive to ads when you do post them.
Consumers also like to feel that they’re part of an overall brand experience, so consider offering special deals or contests that get people involved. Have a coupon that’s only available to Facebook fans or announce a limited-time sale on Twitter to encourage interaction.
Using the Right Channels
It used to be that your website was all you had to worry about when it came to the Internet side of business. Now there are at least half a dozen social media channels to consider, with new ones popping up every time you turn around. However, indiscriminately signing up for every one and attempting to integrate them into your social media marketing plan can lead to disaster.
Not all social media is right for all businesses, and not all platforms will bring the same benefits. Some companies do well with YouTube videos demonstrating products or describing services. Others benefit from the networking potential of Facebook and LinkedIn. Try out various platforms and find out what works for your business, then focus on getting the most out of those select few. Doing well with a few social media profiles will help your business more than trying to juggle too much at once.
Staying Visible and Current
Deciding which social media channels to market through is only half the battle. Once you have accounts set up, it’s important to be consistent with your posts. Whether it’s a blog, Twitter account or Facebook page, new content is essential to brand visibility. Regular postings ensure that your business keeps popping up in customer’s news feeds and offer opportunities for interaction. As long as the content is fresh and interesting, people will want to keep coming back to your page and, by extension, your business.
Dealing With Customers
Interacting with consumers via social media often means having to field questions and complaints. This is where monitoring what people are saying about your business is most important. People who have a disappointing experience won’t always come straight to you about it; they’re more likely to make a general post on one of their social media profiles.
Catching and responding to these complaints in a timely manner is essential to brand reputation management. In addition to offering a quick reply, you want to work out the problem in a way that is satisfying to the customer and has positive results for your business. The interactions you have with existing and potential customers via social media are just as important as face-to-face conversations, as people will remember how you treated them and will recommend your company based on those experiences.
Social media marketing requires an investment of time and effort in order to be successful. As long as you’re willing to invest the necessary resources, you can make social media work for your business. Once you’ve worked out what strategies are best for the company, you can begin sharing quality content, building new customer relationships and growing your business through a wealth of far-reaching channels.