The Marketing Shop FiveDo we need a Facebook page.

How do we grow our business through Linkedin?

Should we be tweeting our customers?

Can we grow our sales through Social Media?

 

These are some of the questions that are frequently asked by businesses who haven’t as yet taken the plunge and gone Social with their business.  Some will never make the move, others just haven’t found the time yet and others yet again aren’t quite sure whether it’s right for them.

So, in this post we’re looking at social media for SME’s and 5 areas you need to look at in order to get up and running.

 

The Research

You know your target market, are you likely to find them on Social Media?  If you’re not sure maybe check out others in your industry, are they getting good interaction on their Facebook or Twitter accounts?  Don’t assume that because you’ve just done a days course in Social Media that it’s going to be a perfect fit for you straight away.  Likewise don’t assume that just because none of your competitors appear to have a strong presence that it won’t work either.

 

The Marketing plan

If you don’t have a marketing plan, now’s the time to put one together – if you need a hand you can read our guide.  If your plan for the year includes sponsorship, promotions or more traditional marketing such as print media, look at where a Facebook page might complement it.  Never treat Social Media as a standalone effort, to be effective it needs to be integrated with your other marketing or sales efforts whether that’s online or offline.

 

The Resources

Social Media is often perceived as free but it’s most definitely not.  While it may be technically “free” to open up an account on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest or Google Plus there are costs.  Such costs will be in terms of human resources – do you have the time to allocate to updating several platforms or the right person for the job?  Will you need to recruit or outsource?

If you plan on running competitions and don’t have the in-house skills to create your own applications for Facebook for example you’ll need to either pay for software or have somebody create them for you.

 

The Objectives

Look at what you hope to achieve from Social Media.  Creating the right presence, building relationships and finding the right fit for your business takes time so if a quick boost to sales is what you’re hoping for you may find yourself disappointed.

A strategy for Social Media is not something you should download from a template you find on Google, it needs to be tailored to suit your business specifically.  We all know that what gets done gets measured so put it on paper, have a framework to work with so you don’t lose sight of what you’re actually doing.

As Social Media is about engagement and interaction is important, don’t set your plans in stone as a degree of flexibility will be needed to keep up with your customers as you’re setting out to find them where they hang out socially, not where you prefer to be.

 

The Measurement

There are many metrics to consider when deciding if Social Media, or indeed specific channels are working for you.  Some people get caught up in growing the numbers quickly without considering whether these new fans or followers are actually likely to ever do business with them.  This is fine if you’re a high street brand with stores across the country and a product(s) that the population in general may at some time want.

If however your client base is quite specialist or needs to be local to call to your premises, isn’t it more important to have a smaller following of people who are interested in your product or service than thousands who only liked your page to enter a competition but don’t have the means to buy from you?

Decide what you will measure e.g. website activity, sales, enhanced customer service – and how you will decide if you’re getting sufficient return on your investment.  And keep measuring, what worked last month might not suit next month!

 

 

Social Media is fantastic and while there’s a fit for most businesses don’t feel obliged to do it just because somebody has told you that you should.  Ensure you’ve covered the areas we’ve outlined and evaluate if it’s right and how you’ll manage it and if you’re happy just go for it!

 

 

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