Social media has become a major part of many people’s lives and for the B2C business, this is an opportunity not to miss. It is a way of connecting with customers, informing them of special offers or new lines or just giving them interesting information. The beauty of social media, is that it can be used in a variety of ways to get your message across and allows your customers to engage with you. We are all aware of the power of the social media for business but with so many different platforms, how do you know which one will be best for your company?
There’s no doubt about it – a strong social media presence can lift your brand. But while you may be tempted to put your product in front of as many eyeballs as possible – there are over 550 social networking sites, according to KnowEm.com – not every business needs a presence on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Facebook… (the list goes on). So here’s what to consider before signing up on your next social media platform.
Don’t chase the shiny object
Before registering for any social networking channel – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Google+ are the most trafficked and most prominent – find out where your customers are and “fish where the fish are,” says Randall Craig, president of Toronto’s 108 ideaspace, a web and social media strategy firm.
It’s easy to be seduced by the latest offering, but sometimes a brand simply doesn’t align with a channel’s user base, and the result can be fruitless appeals to a disinterested audience.
“For example, it makes no sense for a management consulting firm to do a video contest on YouTube, but it might be perfectly appropriate for a consumer products company,” says Craig.
Businesses also need to clearly understand what they want to achieve from joining each channel – whether it’s to develop customer relationships, improve customer service, increase loyalty and cross-selling opportunities, reduce costs, or generate sales – and how they’re going to do this.
And don’t think of your social media efforts as just a tack-on to your marketing strategy.
“Your social marketing should impact everything from new leads, sales, customer service, new candidate recruitment, internal collaborations and your company’s overall results,” he says.
Pull out the calculator
While social marketing tools are typically free, there can be significant costs associated with creating a comprehensive social media strategy. According to a recent Forbes article, it takes a mid-size company at least 32 hours a month to successfully manage just one social media channel. Additional expenses can include legal fees, plus expenses related to promotion, search engine marketing and staff training.
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