So how do you know if Social Media is really working?
We get this question a lot and that seems to be where most of my blogs come from – questions from the consumers. In the past marketing efforts meant one to one communication, door to door sales, customized personal messages etc. To calculate ROI was an easy task, you would just have to divide your returns by the investment you made and ta-dah… you know your ROI!
Enter social media…… This marketing revolution altered the manner in which successful small business owners handle their advertising and reach out to their potential customers.
So the BIG question: Why should you start using social media today for your small business?
How much thought have you given to how Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest and a few others can benefit your small business? Are you asking yourself is it time to embrace social media today? Is it worth the time and effort? Will it generate a fantastic ROI?
Here are some benefits that will show you how starting to use social media today can explode your business and why you should be investing in it:
- Increase in website traffic: Use your social media platforms like Twitter or Facebook to increase the traffic to your site by sharing links and talking about what (value) they will get when they visit. You have the opportunity to interact with thousands of potential customers every day. An interesting post from your business could lead a person to your website and potentially convert him into a customer – scrolling through your pages, looking at your product catalogue, ordering some of them and may be recommending the link to another friend! You use Social Media to invoke an emotion, to connect with potential clients and create the need to visit your site.
- Building your brand: Large organizations spend millions of dollars on branding initiatives. Social Media allows you to play with the big boys. As a small business, all you have to do is to create a visible brand for yourself over social media platforms – work on your online presence, be yourself, post as frequently as you can, engage with your customers, respond to them, enhance your brand! Work on the TRUST factor!!! Be Real and most importantly after building do not disappear.
- Reward your customers: Look at the days when you do not have on average enough customers in your store. Offer a discount announcement through Facebook to increase traffic only on those days. You could even offer a gift for the first ten customers visiting and making a purchase in your store within a particular time frame; the next ten can get some additional shopping discounts! You could even provide a code to the first few customers who can get a discount through your online shopping catalogue.
- Creating the energy: As a small business owner you can reach potential customers by attending a trade show in order to display your product, let people sample and generate some strong connections. Use social media as an important portion of your marketing plan to create the pre-event hype. Try running a quiz contest and rewarding the winners through some freebies when they visit your booth in the trade fair.
- Cross-pollinate with other businesses: Through your social media strategy, create connections to similar businesses, business owners, potential clients and partners. Build relationships and increase your visibility by sharing each others content. You could actually develop that competitive edge by gaining insight into what your future clients want, engaging with potential partners and further enhancing your product or service.
Do you have the time for using social media today? It is a very relevant question as the lower cost of using Social Media comes at the price of time. If you do not know how to use it, or understand the important techniques that help you increase the value understand it can hurt your business. Using timed posts to land during peak hours possibly the same times you are yourself busy need to be used with caution. The main reason Social Media works so well is that people buy more from business/professionals they know and trust. This means if you are visible and they interact, but you do not respond you will end up hurting more than helping your business grow.
The beauty of social media lies in its accessibility. Spend as much time as you want to, whenever you want to! Your ability to communicate real-time can help you in creating a great online presence.
One well designed and timed post on Social Media on a page with only 200 ‘likes’ that receives between 15-20 interactions has the potential of being seen on over fifty thousand pages. This is the power of Social Media and all it cost was a little creativity, understanding of placement and your target audience and it will take on a life of its own.
The metrics that you would use to measure the success of your social media initiative will totally depend on your objectives. Some examples could be:
- Increase in brand awareness
- Converting likes into sales
- Driving traffic to your website
- Gathering customer feedback
- Gaining competitive intelligence
- Reducing the cost to serve
You should apply the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Timely) methodology to your social media strategy.
Before you start measuring the metrics, consider posting some authentic content on the channels that you feel can drive maximum traffic to your website. Try and engage your followers; greater engagement will lead to greater followers which might lead to greater sales.
A number of free analytics tools such as Google Analytics, MOZ Analytics (free for 30 days) and KISS Metrics (free for 14 days) are available to help you measure and track your impact. So now you know it has measurable ROI – where do you start?
Aim at starting small and creating an engaging list of followers first. Create an interaction plan/ social media calendar for your service – it could be a basic once-a-week interaction to start with. Ensure that your content is meaningful and is generating interest. Do not ever ignore your followers, instead, engage with them on social media the same as if they walked into your place. Reinvent your strategy, if and when required.
Remember, it is all about relationships! You have to be generous and interested in other people, committed to investing the requisite time and effort and it will definitely pay off! Are you ready to start making the most of social media today?