Listen to some people and you’d think that Social Media is the only game in town when it come to marketing but hold on a second; let’s just take a deep breath, count to ten and ask the question:
Social Media - Do I have to?
…and the short answer: an emphatic No! Social Media is just another way of communicating with your market – just another marketing tool – or perhaps more accurately a suite of tools. Effective marketing needs a strategic plan and part of the planning process is to decide what communication tools you want to use and how you plan to use them. I’m not going into the detail of marketing planning here, a quick search in our blog or on Google will throw up all sorts of info, but I want to look at some of the considerations you might like to take when deciding about Social Media for your business.
You must be committed.
As with any marketing activity, you must be ready to stick at it. I have heard people say it’s great to use Social Media because it is quick and easy. I disagree. It might be easy to publish content on Twitter or wherever but planning what you want to say and how you want to say it takes thought and time. If you start to use Social Media without a plan, the chances are that the programme will fail.
Think of your audience
Every business has a market that falls into 2 distinct groups:
- People you know
- People you don’t know
For people you know, these days you will hopefully have their email addresses so you can communicate with them directly. If you are doing nothing else, you should be keeping in touch with the people you know and building awareness and relationships. Let’s face it, if you don’t keep in touch with the people you know, getting to know new people is a bit of a waste of time unless you happen to be able to do business immediately – which these days is the exception rather than the rule. My advice is that, if nothing else, focus on your website where you can build an archive of content and then use email as a way of letting contacts know about new content that may be of interest. Having historic content on your site as well gives visitors the opportunity to browse and thsi content can also be useful for referral when you are dealing with specific enquiries.
Use Social Media to leverage your comms
The main limitation with what I say above is that if you don’t have an email address, you can’t communicate. Social Media is a great opportunity to leverage your contact with the people you know. By also engaging with known contacts on Social Media you have the chance to communicate with contacts of contacts. The downside of this approach is that you can’t know whether there is a fit between your business offering and these ‘second level’ contacts. It is important to consider your choice of Social Media platform(s) carefully (Take a look at this post for more on this) and aim to make your Social Media Joined up with your other marketing (Blog, E-news etc)
So, do I have to?
As with all marketing – and business in general – success normally comes from planning and it is up to you what you include in your plan so, as I started, No, you don’t have to use Social Media… …But I think you exclude it at your peril! Do contact me if you’d like to look at joined-up, integrated Social Media for your business.