Here are some frequently asked questions from business owners we have worked with.
Q. Is social media just a passing fad that will fade away in a short period of time?
A. Social media is here to stay. As a matter of fact, social media will continue to be integrated into our lives, just like the internet itself. Social media will change and evolve as technology improves and people begin to truly comprehend its power.
Q. How is social media marketing different than traditional marketing?
A. Social media marketing is very different from traditional marketing in several ways.
1. Social media marketing has a different focus.
A. Traditional marketing focuses on promotion. Traditional marketing is like a megaphone, broadcasting your message without a way for people to respond.
B. Social media is about engaging with your potential or existing customers. Social media can be compared to a telephone. When you speak on a telephone, you engage in dialog, back and forth.
2. Social media marketing uses a different method.
A. Traditional marketing usually originates from a central office. It is traditionally dispersed from an "authority" at "company headquarters", using research, sales trends and demographics to create marketing messages and advertising. Traditional marketing is often narrowly targeted and creates a burst of responses that fade away until the next burst of advertising is dispensed.
B. Social media marketing happens 24/7 using multiple channels, multiple platforms and multiple messages. It addresses customers at various points in their purchasing decision making process.
3. Social media is viral and sustainable.
A. Traditional marketing is controlled by advertising agencies, corporations and companies who create marketing strategies and corporate image. A 30 second ad that evokes emotion and is entertaining generally drives a temporary spike in sales.
B. Social media gives the consumer as much control of the brand as the agency, corporation or retailer. Customers can review and comment on the products and services a company supplies, which has a wide appeal and influence over other customers. This leads to a long-term relationship with customers and recurring sales.
Q. Isn't social media just for young people?
A. Not any more. Baby boomers (ages 50 - 63) and Matures (ages 63 +) are the fastest growing segments of Facebook users. (eMarketer.)
Q. What's the big deal about social media marketing? Isn't uploading a YouTube video and creating a LinkedIn account good enough?
A. Not even close. Social media marketing is about building a relationship with your customers. Just like any relationship, it takes prolonged, sustained, two way conversations across multiple channels for it to work.
Q. Can you really measure social media engagement?
A. Yes, social media efforts can be measured. When you are able to measure social media that's done right, you will find it's a significant source of profit.
Q. Why do you need so many different social media sites? Isn't it good enough just to send everyone to a landing page?
A. It's more effective to use multiple platforms for two reasons.
1. It increases the volume of prospects coming to your site exponentially.
2. It builds relationships with different customers, at different stages of their purchasing decision making process, and it reaches them at different times.
Q. I don't understand why I have to take the time to "engage" with my customers. Why isn't it enough to just advertise my products and services and keep them up-to-date on my specials?
A. People are tired of being sold to. Social media enables them to interact with and learn about your business in a way that is meaningful to them. Instead of constantly trying to promote your business, taking the time to give them useful information and tools that will help them gives them a non-pressured way to consider buying from you. Nurturing long-term relationships will build a loyal customer.
Q. I've tried using Facebook and Twitter to market my business but I didn't have any success.
A. If you want your social media efforts to be profitable, you have to put time and effort into it. You need to make sure you add DEPTH to your campaign by immersing your business into each social media platform (posting to your Facebook, LinkedIn and foursquare Business Pages at least 1x per day, tweeting 10-20 times per day, posting blogs 2-5 times per week and uploading to YouTube and other sharing platforms at least 1x/week is best practice); you have to add BREADTH across a wide variety of platforms (20 - 25 is recommended); and you have to PROLONG your campaign over time (6-12 months is the average time it takes to have enough IMPACT to see a return on your investment.)
Q. What are the costs of social media marketing?
A. As with any marketing effort, social media that is effective requires an investment.
1. You will need internet-usable graphics
2. Your technology must be able to handle your activities
3. If you decide to do-it-yourself, you (and / or your designated staff) will need training
4. Planning, launching, managing and measuring your social media campaign and promotions will take time.
While it is true that most social media platforms are free, the time and knowledge required to set up, launch and manage a successful social media marketing campaign are high. This is why internet marketing requires an investment on your part.
Q. Is social media a good investment for my business?
A. Social media marketing efforts are generally good for businesses of all types. We can't think of a business who wouldn't benefit. However, it is always good to assess the risks and relevancy for your particular business.
In most cases your competitors are already online. And certainly your customers are. Shouldn't you be too?