You’ve probably heard the term “social media marketing” multiple times throughout the last couple of years. You’ve probably even spent some time considering what it could do for your business and if this form of online marketing is absolutely necessary.
One of the major challenges that small business owners often speak of is finding new ways to promote their product or service, brand their companies and get the word out on new promotions. Making this more difficult is the fact that most small businesses have very limited budgets and resources for marketing. What it really comes down to for small businesses is getting the message out to as many consumers as possible with the least amount of money invested. This is where social media can play a key role in a small business’ success.
If you are in the service business then you probably already know all about the importance of word-of-mouth marketing. Now, picture a world in which a satisfied customer not only was able to share their experience with your business with a close friend or two, but instead, with a single click of a button could share their approval with an entire network of friends, family, colleagues and associates. All of whom are potential customers of yours. What is being described is the world of social media.
Nowadays, nearly everyone uses some form of social media in their day-to-day lives. Every time a person logs on to one of these sites, it creates a perfect environment for you to market to them. In fact, not only can you market to them, but their entire network and their network’s network, and so on. This is the basic foundation of the viral nature that is social media marketing. It allows you to make your message viral and spread out, using the consumers themselves as the vehicle.
You may be thinking this sounds nice, but how can you apply it in the real world? The first step is to do your research and discover which social network sites are going to be your best bet. Facebook is a great place to start and in most cases will bring you the most traffic. Create a page for your business including photos of your product or service, a detailed description and contact information. Once your page is up and running you need to get fans. You can do this by purchasing a small ad on Facebook or grow it organically over time. The key to getting more fans on Facebook and most other social networks is to create campaigns that people are likely to share and pass on. You can do this through contest/giveaways that require the user to “like” and share your page in order to enter or they can share your contest/update itself. The most important thing is to be creative and come up with unique ways to go viral. Once you’ve mastered some of these techniques they can easily be applied to other social networks such as LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram, Twitter and others.
You will soon find that social networking is not only the least expensive form of online marketing, but often times the most effective.