In our previous post, we discussed what social media is and how it can help businesses in today’s competitive world. Today we will explain why social media is so important, and how having a well thought out, executable, social media marketing plan is the smartest decision your business can make.
As most businesses have realized, gaining and keeping new customers is rapidly becoming more challenging. The days of loyalty just because customers like using your products or services are quickly fading away. People want information about products and services immediately. Maintaining a consistent customer base depends on faster service with better value. For years businesses have had large marketing and advertising budgets to snag that important “new fish in the water.” With traditional advertising becoming obsolete, many companies are stuck wondering what direction to go.
If you are unsure about this new and adventurous shift in marketing, then pay attention as we dig a little deeper into the subject. When thinking about advertising, most of us think of the following: newspapers, postal mailings, magazines, coupons, yellow pages, billboards, radio, television, etc. Let’s take a few of these and talk about what is happening in the real world.
Newspaper sales have been declining for years. With computers and internet, people are able to access the information they want and need quicker, more directly, and inexpensively.
When was the last time you took your junk mail seriously? Do you really sort through all of the coupons and special offers you receive every day?
How many people use the yellow pages and how many people send it straight to the recycling bin? When you need to find information do you dig out the big yellow book or use Google for instant access?
With the pace of life getting faster and faster and a to-do list a mile long, do you really remember those expensive billboards when you need a product or service?
When you are listening to the radio do you change the station on annoying commercials or do you suffer through them? Not to mention, the popularity of satellite radio with fewer commercials if any at all.
Even the almighty television is taking a hit these days. With its expensive price tag and the complexity of producing a quality commercial that people are willing to sit through instead of hitting the fast forward button on their D.V.R.
For businesses now days, having a website to make information readily available to your customers is standard, however involving social media takes this to another level. The best advertising for any business is a satisfied customer or client. Social media makes information immediately available, allows updates and answers, and the opportunity for previous customers to comment, providing more advertising. It’s the new way to get the word out.
We want to make sure that we are on the same page with marketing and advertising. Yes, social media is extremely important to take advantage of when promoting your business. However it is still evolving, so if you are using traditional methods of advertising, then you have to look at what is, or is not working. We recommend you analyze your advertising costs. What is spent in advertising divided by the number of new customers or clients will give you an estimated customer acquisition cost (cost per new customer). Does this amount seem reasonable and has it increased your bottom line? Social media is best used as an additional tool to drive the growth of your business. As your social presence grows, we believe you will realize it is more cost-effective than most or all of your other advertising.
When creating a social media presence, it is essential to know what you want to achieve. Maybe it would be to drive more traffic to your website. Or possibly bring more customers into your storefront. Would you like to gain valuable information to lead your company in product innovation? Maybe you just want to obtain some feedback on how to service your customers better. What ever your goals, social media can be tailored to work for the desired results.
The best part about using social media is that it levels the playing field between large and small companies. At this time, any business can put forth the time and resources to carve out a successful social media presence. If done correctly, social media can make a company stronger, more stable, and able to gain customers from the competition.
Is this battle going to be won overnight? – Of course not. By working with a Social Media Professional, it is possible to develop and execute a strategic social media plan that will produce results to make your business better equipped to withstand any economic climate that comes your way. As your social media presence evolves, the plan can be modified and expanded to grow with your changing business needs.
The bottom line is, if you are not marketing your business using social media, then you are missing out on the most effective, cost-efficient marketing available to maintain and grow your business.