There is one important fact that needs to be understood and accepted at the outset – the people who hold all the aces with social media are the customers – the buyers, not the sellers! This is quite a shift from traditional marketing. If your business still believes that it is in the driving seat in the sales process, social media marketing is probably not for you.
Those business owners who have embraced the social media revolution and who have implemented a well structured and well thought out online marketing strategy are already enjoying great success.
To successfully implement social media marketing into your overall marketing strategy you need to consider three key stages:
Enablement – You need to Listen, Understand and Share
When businesses start their Social Media Marketing activities they are at this ‘enablement’ stage of the process. This is the stage where you start to understand what Social Media is all about and more importantly which channels are the best ones for your business. It will also help you to understand:
a) what is already being said about your business
b) which social networks your customers and prospects are using – these are the ones you need to be active in
c) which topics are most popular and attract the most attention – these are the topics you need to post about / contribute to.
The enablement stage is very much a ‘testing the water’ stage and involves more listening and learning about what is happening rather than your taking a leading role.
Engagement – You initiate the dialogue and manage your brand
Engagement requires a two way flow of information i.e. dialogue, not monologue. In this stage you need to take action and become proactively involved with your customers via the appropriate social networking channels. The commitment required from yourself and your team is greater because you will need to resource content creation, responding to customer comments etc.
Although your investment, either in terms of time – if you are doing everything yourself – or money if you are outsourcing the content creation will be higher, the potential benefits are also significantly higher. In our experience businesses that invest in proactive social media marketing see significantly improved customer satisfaction, enjoy high customer loyalty and retention and, most importantly, increased brand awareness and trust.
Transformation – a whole new world?
By this stage your business will be an established social media marketer and will have fully embraced and enjoyed all the benefits that social media marketing has to offer. Many organisations have made material changes to their business model based on the success and sales revenues they have enjoyed using social networking. In extreme cases some companies use their customers exclusively to promote and be ambassadors for their brand.
Social Media Marketing is not right for every business, but it could be right for your business. Why not find out by attending one of our half day ‘Social Media for Business Workshops’ or, if not convenient why not ask us for a quote to come to you to deliver this training?
If you would like to learn more about Social Media Marketing please leave a comment below or visit WSI IMS – WSI Internet Marketing Services for UK Businesses.