As your company prepares to open the doors to 2012, ask yourself if your business has social media in place for your marketing plans over the next 12 months. If the answer is no, then rethink that strategy.
With more and more businesses and consumers for that matter taking an active role in social media, it proves important for your company, big or small, to have a social media footprint in the marketing arena. By not doing so, you are losing out on potential real-time contact with current and potential customers.
For those companies who fear they don’t have the necessary time and effort needed to devote to social media, keep in mind that using SM in one’s marketing plans is like extending an olive branch to a large amount of consumers. These consumers may already know about your product/s and services, but social media allows you to reach them instantly, giving you an opportunity to scoop the competition.
If your company has not been intertwining social media and marketing to date, then make 2012 the year you do it.
That plan can be accomplished by:
- Spreading the word – Make sure you weave all your marketing efforts into a concise marketing message, including social media, print, display ads and e-mailing efforts. Take your company Facebook, Twitter, and other social media pages and place them on your print ads and e-mail marketing campaigns. In the process, you give customers a door to your product/s and services, allowing those individuals to share with those they know who may be interested. Before you know it, your message is being networked around and all due to simple social media efforts;
- Knowing your demographics – While it seems just about everyone uses social media to some degree these days, it is important that your marketing personnel know who they are reaching out to. Be sure to use a respected analytics program to measure metrics and see who is buying and/or interested in your product/s and services, where they come from, how often they buy, what kind of money they spend with you etc. By knowing these numbers, you can craft a social media campaign that speaks directly to them and is not all over the place;
- Engaging with your social media fans – Whether you’re using company pages on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or wherever, it is important to connect those who follow you. If you are marketing your company’s blog, be sure to respond to comments that come with it. The same holds true for announcements regarding promotions, deals, specials, etc. Engaging with the audience on social media tells them that you are interested in their questions, concerns and needs when it comes to your company. Along these lines, make sure you do this in a timely manner so that you don’t appear to be uninterested in their messages;
- Staying on top of trends – It seems the world of social media is ever evolving, with new sites and features coming at us all the time. Make sure your social media/marketing efforts do the same. As mentioned earlier, read the data and see what is working, what is not working and listening to customer feedback. You should also have in your 2012 budget funds to market your social media efforts. While social media itself doesn’t cost very much, you should if not already be looking including things in your marketing plans like videos, podcasts, infographics and more. Social media is a great way to promote such efforts and at a fraction of the costs of other marketing efforts.
Remember, your social media campaigns are not meant to replace your overall marketing efforts; they are here to support them.
Dave Thomas, who covers among other items business proposals, writes extensively for Business.com, an online resource destination for businesses of all sizes to research, find, and compare the products and services they need to run their businesses.