I haven’t always been a fan of social media. In fact, I was completely opposed to the idea when I first heard about it. What a total waste of time! I really don’t care that someone had a latte at Starbucks and I don’t want to read cliché quotes pictured above fuzzy kittens. Then about five years ago, I had to create Facebook and Twitter accounts at the request of a company I was working for to help promote their postings. Now these many years later, I am ashamed to say that I am a certified social media addict (no really, I should lead a support group with 12 steps). As someone who regularly works from her home office, it is my link to the outside world and it is also a vital part of my professional networking (ah! There’s that word again! Didn’t we just cover networking in one of our last blog posts!?!)
Ready for some crazy statistics about Facebook? Internet marketing company Zephoria just posted these updated facts for February 2015:
- 890 million people logged onto Facebook daily for December 2014, which represented an 18% increase year over year.
- There are 1.9 billion mobile active users.
- 42% of marketers report that Facebook is critical or important to their business.
- 16 million local business pages have been created as of May 2013 which is a 100% increase from 8 million in June 2012.
As you can see, social media isn’t going anywhere but up (and apparently even more addicts are joining the ranks). With so many people tapping into social media, are you making the most of this resource?
Michael Mothner, founder and CEO of Wpromote, clearly and concisely explains the role of social media marketing by commenting that “Social media is ultimately about relationships… As a brand, you aren’t there to promote a product, you are there to communicate and relate. If you approach social media with sales as your end goal, your audience will notice and, most likely, you will be ignored… On the other hand, if you offer your audience something of value, and your message is genuine, aka you aren’t faking it, consumers are inclined to listen.”
So where do you begin? First off, decide what platforms you want to use and determine where the bulk of your customers are. For example, if you are selling product(s), then Facebook and Twitter are good places to start. If you are offering professional services like tech support or web design, consider LinkedIn. Next, connect with others in your industry by following their postings, joining forums, and commenting on their posts. You’ll also want to measure your influence and marketing presence. Monitor your number of Friends on Facebook, followers on Twitter, how many comments are made on your postings, and if your brand is getting mentioned elsewhere. You may want to further your interactions by adding contests, asking for customer opinions, and showing pictures of your newest products or recent events. Finally, as with any A/B marketing strategy, analyze what works and what doesn’t. Is there a day or time that gets you the most feedback? Has a certain topic received more responses than others? What promos are driving more customers to your store or website? Determine what gets a reaction, don’t repeat the flops, and keep testing the waters.
The great thing about social media is that it is one of the most successful ways to get your business noticed while also being extremely cost effective. However, there are a few things to be aware of. Be prepared for negative comments (because you can’t please everyone all of the time), gain a working knowledge of copyright laws (especially if you are advertising name brands or are part of a franchise), and have an UpCounsel attorney’s number on your desk just in case a problems do arise (because with social media, you just never know what can happen).