This is a guest post by Cori Padgett who blogs at BigGirlBranding.com.
I know you have a Facebook account. Your secret’s out!
Maybe everyone in your entire family has one already and you use it to reconnect with each other every once in a while. Maybe you use it to play games online, rant about what you do at home or at work, or simply to catch up on the latest gossip with your friends.
Hey, I’m not here to judge!
But then one day while you’re happily watching your Restaurant City crew feed the crowds that come through your cafe’s doors, your eyes slide to the sidebar on the left of your screen.
CAR RENTALS AT THE LOWEST DEALS! Screams one box. GET YOUR CHRISTMAS GIFTS DURING SUMMER! Screams another. Curious, you click on one or the other and you suddenly find yourself browsing car catalogs and gift brochures for Christmas and “lo and behold”… you forget all about your game.
Yep, online advertising works just like magic.
One click and you’re hooked forever.
It’s like technological crack, complete with scary withdrawals when you try to resist!
Your boss (or your employees, if you’re the one who calls the shots) may think you’re just on Facebook for kicks, and maybe you are.
But the real truth is that you can use it to expand your business and make some serious waves in the online community if you’re so inclined.
And honestly, if they are still of the mindset that social media marketing is just a load of sh… pooh-pooh (!), then I’d have to say they’re pretty clueless.
Here’s the deal.
There are three types of people who walk on this earth with no proper appreciation for social media strategies:
- Those who don’t know much about social media in general.
- Those who know enough about it to be dangerous but are uncertain about how to harness its full potential.
- Those who know social media and how to use it (kinda anyway) but simply don’t believe in its power.
And naturally, the fourth group of people is those who know social media and know how to work it.
Erm… I didn’t mean THAT kind of working it. Geez.
I’d even venture to say they’re pretty lucky folks, about to make a huge marketing breakthrough in their business. After all, not everyone is willing to admit that such seemingly innocuous sites like Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr can do wonders for their biz.
Of course, you know better.
But why do social media marketing strategies work anyway? There are actually a couple of reasons they’ve become so popular, but perhaps the most important is that they save people time.
By bringing together a virtually unlimited flow of new and unique content to a single, itty bitty computer screen, within a single, user-friendly interface social media has helped to bring markets closer to consumers. You could say businesses are able to set up shop right in their customer’s backyard.
Think back to that day when you were playing Restaurant City on Facebook and you saw that car dealership ad. It just so happened that your aunt was coming from the East Coast and you needed to rent a car for her. The timing was just perfect—you got your aunt a car, and the company got a nice little pay day from running that one online ad on Facebook.
Now what could be more hassle free than closing a car rental deal at the same time you were playing an online game and chatting with your buds? The Internet provides the medium and social media spreads the message.
And it really levels the playing field when it comes to business and marketing.
Refusing to learn how to make social media work for you and scoffing at its potential is a waste of energy and brains the Good Lord gave you.
The potential is there. It’s a fact. Get over it!
It’s hard though to convert the skeptics into believers. They need to find confidence in the power of social media marketing for themselves. They won’t believe you just because you say so, especially if they think that Facebook is only for gossipy folks and that Twitter is that chirpy sound that a bird makes.
You can set them straight and tell them the benefits of social media marketing until you’re blue in the gills—increased traffic, greater buzz, brand awareness, faster responses, shorter time spent looking for content you really need… but until they see results for themselves, they’ve really got NO idea.
Remember the days when RSS wasn’t available yet? Hell, you clicked and clicked and searched and searched all the news websites just to get one particular news item that featured your product at that State Fair that one time. Nowadays, it’s all right there in your RSS feed ready to be spun into a stunning piece of social PR for your business and broadcasted across the web via social media.
And to top it all off, you can bookmark, StumbleUpon, DiggIt, or Delicious any site you want so you will know exactly where to find it should you need it in the future. You can even link it to your website like a badge of honor. Sounds kinda smart, right?
The point of social media marketing tools—of all IT-related tools, for that matter—is that it makes the lives of people on the go so much easier. Sure, you can always carry your company portfolio and a stack of DVDs when you go visit a new client just to show them what you can do. That’s a given and some folks even prefer it.
But wouldn’t it be much more impressive (and fun!) if you could simply log onto your company’s DropBox account and download everything onto your client’s laptop, so he can browse through it at his leisure?
Better yet, you can convince him to open a DropBox account himself so you can both stay in touch and updated on the progress of your projects with him.
That’s the hidden charm of social media marketing.
It’s so incredibly small but it carries firepower like no other.
If you need to update your site visitors about hot news regarding company events, get yourself a Twitter account and add the widget to your website. Twitter allows posts of only 140 characters but you can definitely say a whole LOT with that if you’re creative enough.
And did you know you can SMS your updates wherever you are? Now that is definitely an improvement from having to boot up your laptop and hop online to send an update!
Besides that, the Twitter widget will make your website look like it’s as busy as a beehive with your daily updates. Later on you can create lengthier content in the form of blog posts, but your updates should be enough to keep your visitors coming back often.
Still not convinced that social media marketing strategies are the way to go? To each his own, but my theory is it’s an excellent way to keep your business thriving and revenue growing, while at the same time building solid and valuable relationships with your target market.
So why not use it? There’s nothing to lose but time and everything to gain… at least in my book!