Should Social Media Marketing be
Your Business’s Priority?
Social media marketing is an effective and affordable way to drive up business in the digital era. Most experts consider it a mandatory part of modern business practices. But is it right for your business? How much time should you be devoting to it?
In this article, we examine the benefits of social media marketing. What it is. How it can be impactful, and why you should be using it to grow your business.
Well, Should It?
Priority is admittedly a tough word in this case. Your business probably has a social media page, but it also has a staff. Customers. A product, or products that require your attention. Can it be said that social media is the be-all end all?
No. Like all business owners, you have a lot going on. Social media marketing is just one side of the dice. However, it is an important revenue generator that, when done yourself, is an almost free way to get people in the door (or to your website as the case may be).
Why Social Media?
Marketing, sure. It’s not exactly a secret that you need that to get the word out. But why social media? The simple reason is that that is where people are. Billions of people use it every day. Everyone from dictators (admittedly not your key demographic, we’re willing to bet) to grandparents have an online presence.
Not only are these folks logging on, but they are doing it for long periods of time. The average user spends around two and a half hours at it each day. That’s a lot of time and attention that you should be taking advantage of.
The nicest thing about social media marketing is that it is either free or very inexpensive. This is particularly true when you compare it to the expenses of newspaper ads or even television commercials.
You can pump a little bit of money into it for sure. Sponsored posts tend to get a little bit more attention. This is particularly true when you know how to use them properly. Then there are analytic tools. Most social media platforms will make these available to business accounts running promotional campaigns.
Some businesses will also consider the services of a professional. This can ramp up the costs a good bit more. Still cheaper than a television spot, but now we’re talking about the sort of thing you need to budget for.
Nevertheless, social media gives you the flexibility to reach a ton of people while controlling costs. In terms of the sheer impact it can have on your business, there are very few value propositions that are equal.
Even a really great Tweet isn’t going to take very long to write. Most businesses with even an excellent social media presence can fulfill all their obligations in about an hour or so each day. That might sound like a lot to the small business owner who is already up to their neck in work, but in terms of marketing work, it’s a small upfront cost.
Once your messages have been created, they can be sent out into the world in seconds. You write. You publish. They see it.
This formula is also beneficial in situations where you want to be spontaneous. For example, let’s say you are a restaurant having a slow day. You want to ramp up business, but what are you going to do, lean out the door and beg people to come in? You tried that last week. It didn’t work.
No. But you can go onto social media, and fire off a Tweet. Half-priced appetizers. This afternoon only. And so on. Things that just can’t happen when you need to go through traditional marketing publishers to get your message across.
Ok, but I’m a small business. How much social media marketing do I need?
Plenty. It doesn’t matter how big or small, or, for that matter, local, your business is. You can benefit from a strong social media presence.
Scenario. You are a small-town bookstore.
You… ? Wait, I thought I was a desperate restaurant owner…
Work with us here. You’re a small-town bookstore. The next town over is almost twenty minutes away. People don’t really make the trip out to see you from there. Most of your customers pass by the shop on their way to work or running errands every day.
Social media would be silly for you, right? You aren’t spreading awareness. Everyone who wants to know about your shop already does.
Sure. But what if you want to have a flash sale? Or a book club. Or free cookies with any purchase this Saturday. Or an author event. Or, or, or.
You get the picture. There are tons of situations where you want to communicate with your customers. Here’s the thing though: if you aren’t making regular posts, the spur-of-the-moment ones will probably slip through the cracks.
People won’t know to look for them. You need to keep your customer communications constant to optimize the efficiency of your social media campaigns.
Using Social Media Effectively
Proper social media marketing is communication, but it isn’t only communication. Even really great copy won’t land without the right strategy. Those billions of social media users we mentioned earlier give you lots of potential customers, sure, but they also create a ton of competition.
Not necessarily other people who are selling the same thing as you (although they are out there too) but people who are competing for attention.
You need your posts to stand out amongst a sea of white noise. Unfortunately, this is often easier said than done. Learning how to interpret and respond to data will take you far in this regard. Good data can tell you not just what posts are being received well, but also who is responding to them and what times those people are most active online.
This data makes it possible to launch highly targeted campaigns that have the highest possible impact.