There is no doubt that social media is a key marketing channel for businesses, regardless of size. However, what still needs to change is the way companies approach it. Social media is an immediate connection with your audience and one wrong move can cost you dearly. In order to get the most from it, you can't just go in all-guns blazing and expect to get results. You also need to do more than just set up a Twitter account and expect the followers to come rolling in.
So how do you strike the right balance and get the most out of a potentially very remunerative marketing channel? Well, I'll tell you!
1) Review. Take a look at your current social media channels and rank yourself. How many followers do you have compared to those you are following? Does your branding on social media match and is it consistent?
2) Research your audience, know them inside out. What other companies or thought leaders do they follow? Do they usually tweet in the morning or the afternoon? Are they even on social media at all? Planning your social strategy around those you want to target is crucial, otherwise you are wasting your time.
3) Schedule - it will stop you from having a breakdown. Social media works best with some structure around it, otherwise it has the ability to take over your life. By scheduling posts to go out, you can be safe in the knowledge you have regular content going out.
For social media to be a success for your business, you need to invest time in it. There are so many tools out there nowadays to help simplify the process, but if you don't put the initial leg-work in, you just won't see the rewards. Social media is only going to grow in it's importance as a marketing tool, so take the time to learn.
The common question a few years ago, “why should our business use social media?”, is now being replaced with, “how can our business grow with social media marketing?”. As a social media marketer, this makes me very excited. What doesn’t make me excited is how many businesses are still trying to market on social media without a documented strategy.