Social Media can no longer be dismissed as a trend. People of all ages, backgrounds and cultures are engaging. They are using desktops, laptops and smart devices. They do it while watching TV, while they work and even in the bathroom according to Nielsen’s 2012 Report.
Social Media is not going away. Whether your business decides to leverage social platforms or not, it is inevitable that a Social Media presence will materialize as employees and customers talk about their experiences with or without your permission.
Since people are going to be talking about your business anyway, doesn’t it make sense to become an active part of that exchange?
Where do you start?
As with any marketing strategy, your first steps are going to be figuring out what message your business wants to send to the world and gaining an understanding of who your customers are. If your business is established, congratulations that work is already done.
Next, you will have to decide what platforms you want to utilize. It is easiest to start with popular choices like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube. After you become comfortable with those, start exploring the multitude of other options and add platforms that you find interesting and relative to your business.
Block out time to dedicate to your Social Media Marketing. Small businesses are spending approximately sixty to ninety minutes per day interacting. It is important to make sure that you or your employees who are assigned to this task are keeping up with content on a daily basis.
Your Social Media Marketing Strategy should be in sync with all of your other marketing strategies. It should include an outline of how you or any of your employees will interact with customers via Social Media networks in a way that is consistent with your business’s message and how you wish to convey that message.
CRM policies should be outlined for consistent response and procedures to handle customer complaints or offensive posts. Even if only one person is managing all of your Social Media, guidelines will facilitate quicker responses that continue to reflect the message your business has worked so hard to develop and promote.
What should you talk about?
Remember, you are being SOCIAL so keep it fun and genuine. Don’t try to push people to purchase your product or services. You wouldn’t do that to your friends. Simply engage and form a personal connection with your customers. They are more likely to remember a friendly conversation than a sales pitch.
Listen carefully to what people are talking about but don’t forget to initiate conversations yourself. Make sure to post meaningful content, whether it is informative or just entertaining. Social Media has been around long enough now that people can tell when you are posting randomly just to have something to say and they can sense insincerity.
Does your business have a Social Networking Policy?
Now that we’ve covered the fun stuff, there is something else to consider. Social Media can make your business vulnerable.
Whether or not your business uses Social Media, your employees do. They may do this in their off time or on the job which can often help but sometimes hurt your business, depending on the conversation. A Social Networking Policy should be implemented to inform your employees, to protect your business from possible lawsuits, to keep proprietary information secure and to ensure a relationship with your customers that is both professional and in alignment with your standards and message.
Why wait any longer?
Start your Social Media Marketing adventure today.
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