Should you invest in SOCIAL MEDIA? That’s a question a lot of businesses, nonprofits and government agencies are asking these days.
In the past few years, the social media craze has swept across the professional business world. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest — these are all social media channels that many companies are using to engage with customers and donors and increase their sales and publicity.
But is social media right for your organization?
That depends on your time, budget and comfort level with this new media tool.
Many of the pillars of a successful social media strategy are time-consuming. Forbes recently reported that it takes as many as 32 hours a month to manage a single social media platform correctly.
But before deciding on whether social media is for you, let’s review some of its advantages.
First, social media can increase your brand reach. Channels like Facebook and Twitter have hundreds of millions of users, and by being on their networks, your business can get direct access to your customers.
Second, word-of-mouth has always been one of the best forms of marketing for a business. A friend’s recommendation is often more valuable than any form of advertisement. Social media helps companies spread their word and get customers talking about them.
Third, it’s a way to boost your customer service. Social media puts business owners in close contact with their customers, allowing for instant response and engagement with patrons. That’s a way to build brand loyalty.
The challenge with social media marketing is that it won’t lead to overnight sales success. It’s all about building relationships with people, a process that can take months or years.
So that brings us back to your time, budget and comfort level.
Perhaps it’s no surprise that USA Today recently reported: the majority of small businesses feel social media is a waste of time, even though for many it’s an integral part of their operations.
It’s fair to say that many small business owners lack the budget for a dedicated marketing staff member. But remember this: although social media isn’t cheap, its cost-per-lead is less expensive than direct mail, television advertising or other traditional methods.
So, again, what should you do?
If your business isn’t on social media, give it a try. Before launching, think through what you want to achieve and have goals in mind. That will help you decide if your investment is worth it.
And, if you’re on it now and not getting any value, try some new approaches. Determine what you want your prospects to do and give them a sense of urgency to support your company, perhaps by offering them discounts or coupons.
Social media is changing the way organizations do business. Hopefully it can transform your company, too.
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