Although social media has been around for a while now, I still find clients wondering, “Do I really need social media for business?
I get it. Social media takes time. Busy entrepreneurs don’t have a lot of time. And unless social networking comes naturally to you, you might prefer to spend that time doing other things.
As a business owner, especially if you’re a solopreneur, time is one of your most precious assets. With that in mind, the question isn’t really “Do I need social media?” but whether social media is a smart approach to marketing your small business.
Social is a Tool
Social media has earned a place in the marketing mix for most businesses, but the size and scope of it depends entirely on your business and your customers.
Few companies can succeed solely through social media marketing. Social media is just one tool of many you can use to create and foster customer connections.
Personally, I’m a big believer in integrated marketing. I started my career in marketing communications and promoted the benefits of integrated communications programs when it really wasn’t cool. But cool or not, it worked. And it still works.
It’s essential to integrate your traditional marketing and digital communications in a way that embraces customers of all mindsets – those that embrace social media and those that don’t. Marketing is about creating connections, regardless of the platform or venue.
Social media is not just a generational thing.
I’m constantly surprised by who is on board with social and who isn’t. I was talking with an older friend one day, a woman in her 60’s, who told me, “I always love reading your Facebook posts.” A few hours later, my husband (who is well below 60) confessed, “I haven’t spent more than 90 seconds on Facebook in my entire life!”
When you’re pressed for time and faced with limited resources, how do you find the balance between ever-changing social media platforms and old school marketing?
It starts with knowing your customers.
If your demographics and experience suggest that your customers are active on social media AND engaging with brands like yours, then go for it. Get social, create connections, then move them offline into real life.
If your data shows that only a small percentage of your customers are active in social media, or that those who are active don’t engage with brands much, take a different approach.
Work to slowly build your online community whiles focusing on meeting your customers offline. Utilize digital tools like a great website, consistent blogging, and SEO to attract buyers. Build an email list and cultivate prospects with useful and interesting messages.
Talk to customers regularly, through informal interactions, gathering comments and soliciting feedback. Learn as much as you can about your customers and their preferred communication methods.
Use what you learn to tailor your marketing programs to what customers want. Track your results, comparing things like conversions rates from social campaigns versus traditional media, and see what works best for your business.