In the day and age that we live in Social Media has changed the industry standard of how business is done. The 80 page business plan has been replaced with a single page CrowdSourcing page. The requirement to pay a huge marketing firm for graphic designs and advertisement slogans has been replaced with freelancer.com and guru.com, just to name a few. The ability to grow a business and compete with the "Mega-player" in your industry has never been so tangible as it is now.
Why is it then that more than half of all small to medium sized businesses are not using social media? or at least not using it correctly? Don't just follow the bandwagon when it comes to your online presence and business reputation, typically if everyone is doing it... then it is probably not working anymore.
Here are 3 steps to help you in your Social Media Empire creation:
1: What is the Point?
Why are you in business? Why should people buy your product or service? If your in business you should already know this. Now take that answer and apply it to your online efforts. Why do you want to offer your product or service online? Do you want more customers to call your 800 numbers? Do you want more people to visit your physical stores or your website? Once this is answered then you can move on to the second
2: What Social Media tool should I use?
You will now need to look at your client base (or your target market for your online campaign). Here is an example:
Lets say there is a BBQ restaurant that has live country music every week and wants to get more people to attend this event. Their target market is college students and young professionals between the ages of 21-35. They notice that most of their customers have Facebook. So the BBQ restaurant creates a Facebook account and includes it on all their print materials (to-go menus, newspaper ads, their website, etc). The BBQ restaurant starts posting pictures of the band and events that they have every week plus useful links, coupons, and other information. Within 2 months they have over 2,000 followers and their weekend attendance has increased from 100 to 150 people each weekend (and it is still growing) plus they have a huge email marketing campaign that developed during this time (this will be discussed in another post).
This is just one of many examples of which social media tool to use. If your not sure just ask your most loyal customers what social media tools they use most often. Be sure to give them a coupon or some reward for helping you.
3: YOU-TUBE IT
I am sure you have heard the old adage "a picture is worth a thousand words." Just think what a video is worth? It has never been easier to put up an online video. These videos not only help increase your brand exposure (through search engine ranking) but can be a great way to get your customers involved and caring about your company. Going back to our example of a BBQ restaurant. They setup a small booth at their restaurant with a big sign that said, "A free Appetizer for 30 seconds of Time." They put a small digital camera in the booth and asked their patrons to leave them a 30 second testimonial about why they love the restaurant. This not only gave the restaurant great insight into their customers and a ton of great content to post on Facebook, You-Tube, Newsletters, etc.. but it also strengthened the relationship between the restaurant brand and the customer. I am sure most of the customers told their friends about the experience and will probably bring their friends in next time to share the appetizer.
If you start with these 3 simple steps you will be off to a great start in truly making the most out of your social media campaigns.
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