If you are a business owner you know that the last couple of years have been brutal to your pocketbook. You also know that technology is moving at a very fast pace. Moreover, it is just not enough to have a website any more. According to Entrepreneur Magazine, nearly half of all Americans are now members of at least one social network and spending money while they’re at it. Gone are the days of one-way, private online shopping. Social shopping and mobile shopping is the wave of the present.
Don’t have a website you say? Don’t know how to tweet, nor do you want to know? Do you have a blog or a way for your customers to contact you and receive your special offers in real time? Or do you have a website, but it is not bringing you sales, and your face book page hasn’t been updated in months and you are thinking of just going back to the old fashioned way of face to face selling? Well up until now, social media has been optional for businesses. But Charlene Li, one of the world’s leading thinkers on social media and co founder of Altimeter group, a research based advisory firm in San Mateo, California predicts that companies that do not get on the social bandwagon soon – within 3-5 years – will not survive.
Now is the best time to get your social media marketing up to speed. Here are a few tips to get you started:
1. Get started now. Either do it yourself or hire a company that can set up and manage your social marketing efforts.
2. Build the program incrementally. Businesses can control costs by not trying to do everything at once.
a) Set up your YouTube accounts – you will need to put together some videos about your business to assist in achieving better search engine rankings. Remember to think about optimizing for search engines with key words targeted for your business.
b) Create your facebook fan page and start to get fans. Populate this page with information and links to your videos.
c) Create your twitter account and get followers
d) Set up your mini website/blog; populate it with articles and links to your videos.
e) Create Lead Capture pages, and offers to your customers and potential customers.
f) Set up your mobile campaign – set up phone numbers for text messaging and auto responders
3. Integrate all the elements so they work most powerfully with each other—search engines, video, social media, mobile marketing.
4) Continually monitor and respond to each of these marketing efforts. Remember, to respond to your customer in the same method they contacted you (ie: SMS Text, Email, Facebook post, Twitter etc. ) Keep up with new posts, tweets and videos.
Most business owners find it difficult to allocate their time to develop a marketing program. This is what con¬tributes to the relatively low percent (26%) that invest time or money in this area. A social media marketing con¬sultant can develop an online marketing plan and organize the resources to execute it so it generates results cost effectively without impacting the business owner’s primary focus, which is managing their business.