Why do we make social media marketing so hard?
The answer lies somewhere between the advice of SEO experts and the expectations of a generation that conducts most of its communication via social media channels. As a small business owner, you feel both sides tugging you in opposite directions. You face a difficult decision that determines your social media-marketing plan. Here is a little advice that will go a long way in saving you both time and money.
You do not need to make your social media efforts complicated!
Many small business owners run around spouting social media to do lists. I have to post on Facebook. My Twitter followers want to know about my latest product. My Google+ profile needs to be updated too.
The demands of social media marketing take its toll, if you fail to adhere to one simple guiding principle. The quick and easy way your business can utilize social media is to respond to customers whenever they have questions or issues with one of your products and services. Make yourself available to help your customers and you will maximize the return on your social media marketing plan.
A recent Maritz Research survey demonstrates the importance of swift customer responses. Out of 1,300 respondents, only 29% said a company contacted them after they initiated contact through a social media channel. Of the 29%, an overwhelming 83% loved or liked the fact that a company returned their queries.
The bottom line is customers want the same prompt response to a problem that they receive when they visit your business. You certainly do not ignore customers who contact you in person. Why would you ignore customers online?
Most small business owners have tight marketing budgets, which is the first reason why they invest their time and money into social media marketing. Nearly 60% of small business owners spend less than $100 to market on social media channels. They eliminate costly direct mail campaigns once they register with Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. The problem does not lie with the money small business owners spend, but how with how they spend their time.
Encouraging your customers (and potential customers) to communicate with you directly online through social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter can be highly effective. These channels allow you to directly communicate with your customers without having to commit a lot of time or money.
Follow the time-tested business adage that “less is better.” Limit your number of social media channels. Register with Facebook and Twitter, since a vast majority of your customers will communicate with you through those channels. Facebook allows you to create a business page and Twitter gives you instant access to your customers.
Once you register with Facebook and Twitter, consider consolidating management of your social media channels with a social media manager such as Ping.fm or HootSuite. Social media managers allow you to manage all of your accounts on one site. Instead of clicking through social media pages to find out who contacted you, you can obtain that information from one application.
Don’t be overwhelmed when it comes to social media. Keep things simple and use these social media channels as an extension of your customer service efforts.