These days, it isn’t enough to have a website for your business – your digital storefront extends to social media marketing sites like Facebook and Twitter, and it’s time to start capitalizing on it. If your company still doesn’t have a Twitter account or a Facebook fan page, it’s time to get with the program and bring yourself up to speed (or risk falling behind your competition).Still not convinced? Here are nine reasons social media marketing should top your to-do list:
1.) You get to see your target market, up close and personal. Part of what makes marketing with Facebook and Twitter so cool is the interaction you get to have with your customer base – you can read their tweets and status updates to get insights into their daily lives (and maybe adjust your marketing strategy as a result).
2.) You can respond to problems immediately. If there’s a problem with your product or service, you want to know about it immediately. With the feedback you get in the process of social media marketing, you’ll be the first to know when there are issues – and you can take steps to resolve them right away. Study after study has shown that consumers appreciate companies that respond to customer complaints (and don’t hesitate to rant online to anyone who will listen when companies don’t take the time to make things right).
3.) Your competition is Tweeting and Facebooking like crazy. The early bird gets the worm, and the sooner you start up Facebook and Twitter pages, the sooner you can start amassing a ton of fans and followers. This isn’t something you want to fall behind the competition on, because it’s much harder (and more expensive) to play catch up than it is to get in on the game early. Truth be told, your competition is probably already marketing with Facebook, and maybe even Twitter and LinkedIn, too.
4.) People are receptive to your messages. People view Twitter and Facebook as social networks, not marketing machines. As a result, they’re less likely to see what you post as an advertisement and will be more likely to hear what you have to say.
5.) It will get you more sales. Not surprisingly, when you stay in front of your customer base, they’re more likely to buy from you when they need the products you sell. Social media marketing doesn’t just keep your company’s name in front of potential buyers, but it also gives you the opportunity to constantly give them incentives to buy. Try Tweeting or posting coupon codes, good only to those who are your Facebook fans or Twitter followers (around The Content Factory, we call them “Tweeps”). You’ll be surprised at how many people make purchases using the code!
6.) You will find customers you didn’t know existed. If you follow specific keywords in Twitter, you can find people who are looking for the products you sell (and then direct them to your site). Using Twitter for marketing is great that way – telling people who want your products how to get them from your company is just an @ sign away.
7.) Customers you didn’t know existed will find (and buy from) you. In the process of marketing with Facebook, you’ll probably join a ton of groups related to your products, industry and customer base. By posting links in these groups, you’ll help influence customers to check out your site. Post a link today, and two weeks later you might see a sale from it.
8.) It’s free. How can you argue with that? If you handle your own social media management, running a social networking campaign is as cheap as it gets. If you hire a social media management or online PR agency, it will cost at least $1,000/month, but it’ll be an investment that you’ll be likely to see a return on. If you’re intimidated by interacting with people online or your writing skills leave something to be desired, hiring an online PR agency is definitely the way to go. Posting poorly written content or conveying the wrong kind of messages on social networking sites can seriously affect your web PR.
9.) The social media marketing arena is a (fairly) level playing field. Unlike the brick and mortar world where you need to have millions of dollars to run traditional ad campaigns, all companies start off on pretty equal footing when it comes to social media marketing. The people who thrive and go viral in cyberspace are the people with the most clever, attention grabbing tactics and the most useful, link worthy content. If you want to get lots of traffic and really increase your sales online, you’re going to have to outwit, outnetwork and outwrite your competition while offering superior products and customer service. Isn’t that what business is all about, anyway?
Simply put, social media marketing is part of doing business in the new millennium. Marketing with Facebook has been hot for quite a while now, but recently more and more companies have been using Twitter for marketing. If your business isn’t already active on social networking sites, now is the time to start. Who knows, you could be missing out on sales opportunities right now.
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