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Your Small Business and Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing seems to be the new direction in the world of public relations, publicity and advertising. Industry observers believe that social media marketing may one day overtake the once mighty Search Engine Optimization marketing strategy, and it may even overtake mainstream media advertising as the most effective method of promoting and selling products and services.

The greatest appeal of social media marketing stems from the transformation that many businesses have reported after having established a solid presence in the online social networking realm. Businesses that are engaged in positive and continuous interaction with customers on the major social media platforms have a lot to gain from the overall experience. Companies have an opportunity to completely turn their business reputation around with social media, but only if they play their cards right.

Too many companies often fall into the mistake of using the online social networking platforms exclusively to attract new prospects, thereby shunning existing customers. For example, a widget seller could launch an aggressive Twitter campaign to invite new customers to view their online catalog featuring widgets on sale. Meanwhile, existing customers who are also Twitter members find out about the marketing campaign and wonder: Where is my special offer? To offer widgets at deep discounts only for the benefit of new customers could actually prove disastrous, as it could only contribute to a higher attrition rate of existing customers.

Customer loyalty must be fostered at all times, especially on the major social media platforms. The most successful social media marketing efforts to date have concentrated on promoting the growth of loyalty among existing customers. It’s a lot more effective to attract and convert social media prospects with a solid reputation than with gimmicks or special bargain offers.

The way a business is perceived on Facebook or Twitter could “make or break” a company. Management must realize that every social media prospect or customer must be engaged accordingly. Requests for help and information must be answered quickly. When praise is given, it must be given thanks. A concern must be addressed immediately. And “small talk” social chatter should be reciprocated. Businesses must remember that social media is a reflection of the world, and that interaction isn’t limited to their followers on Facebook or Twitter. Every interaction can be potentially shared and scrutinized by the entire Internet community at large.

Although it is conceivable that a business could focus all its marketing efforts exclusively on social media, most companies will realistically use a variety of media outlets. Social media can play the role of promoter for a company’s marketing efforts. This is known as content marketing, whereby a business can direct their social media followers to watch television commercials, listen to radio ads, attend store events, look for ads in newspapers or magazines, or even visit their own website. Content marketing has the added advantage that it can be easily shared across social networks, thus increasing the reach of advertisements, contacting new prospects, and connecting with a larger audience.

In the end, social media marketing should always focus on these major factors–accessibility, sincerity and customer service.

Article written by Holly Adams, who writes for Coupon Croc, your small business’s best resource for savings on electronics, supplies and other expenses.