I run a virtual company, but my career started in tech startups and with small businesses. It makes sense I’m in love with the latest and greatest digital tools, but I get that many local businesses don’t jump on the latest shiny object to catch their eye.
And I respect the heck out of that.
Marketing isn’t about doing the latest and greatest. It’s about doing what’s going to work for your company. What works for one industry might not work for another. You have to do you.
With that said, there are a lot of benefits to jumping on the social media bandwagon. And let me tell you, it’s one big, stinkin’ wagon.
There is Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, Periscope, Meerkat, and the list goes on and on.
Social media isn’t about doing all of those things all the time. It’s about finding the right channel for you and then surging ahead with full force.
For most local businesses, Facebook is the channel I recommend. It’s where consumers hang out. It’s where communities have their forums (Vail and Rita Ranch, my neck of the woods, has a particularly active one). It’s where your customers are going to get their information and if you’re not a part of it? You’re on the losing side of the equation.
Still, it makes sense you want to do your research about whether it’s right for you. So, let’s bring the old school into the new school and merge the infamous 4 P marketing mix in with why social media is such a critical player in helping you reach your goals.
Target better prospects at a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing channels.
In traditional marketing, it’s all about the numbers. Television commercials see reach thousands of households, but how many people are actively paying attention while your commercial is on? Radio commercials stream into thousands of cars, but how many of those listeners change the channel before your ad airs? Billboards get seen by thousands of drivers every day, but how many of those drivers are off their cell phones and looking intently at your message?
Traditional marketing isn’t bad. It’s just overpriced.
There’s no way to know whether your audience is actually seeing or engaging with your message. You’re paying top dollar to fall on deaf ears.
On social media, the guess work is over. You get to choose who you want to target based on age, location, behavior, lifestyle and so much more. Better yet, you get the stats to back up your marketing spending. You’ll know who saw and engaged with your message because there’s no way to avoid it in the newsfeed and clicks/shares/likes/comments are all trackable.
Cheaper marketing means cheaper pricing (or bigger profits).
When you’re spending less on marketing, you don’t need to charge as high of a price. Or, your margins increase. You decide which option is right for your company – lower pricing or bigger profits (or a mixture of both).
Branding your products has never been easier.
Want to stand out in the crowd? Get a little bit quirky now and then. Doing the same old marketing won’t get you noticed; it’ll make you blend in. On social media, it’s all about stopping people from scrolling through their newsfeed. It pushes you to break away from the rut of what everyone else is doing *yawn*.
Show it off.
Show, don’t tell. It’s the age old advice in marketing, but with traditional outlets, it’s harder to make that mix work for your brand. With social media, you can show off your product being used by your customers and tell a story about why it matters. Bonus: You get your customers excited to be your spokespeople. No expensive models required!
It’s easier for people to talk about you (and for you to listen).
The golden marketing channel is word of mouth. It’s every marketers dream to get people talking about their product without having to stimulate the conversation.
On social media, chatter becomes easier. Your content (blog posts, videos, podcasts, etc.) is easier to share and therefore, easier to talk about. Reviews are easier to give because Facebook, Google, Yelp and other sites make it simple. You’re better able to harness your customers to do the promoting for you with the current landscape of social media platforms available.
Tell your story without sounding like you’re warming up for a round in the Sound of Music.
You know the tune. “Mi, mi, mi, mi, mi.” It’s exhausting to listen to from your friends and from local marketers. As soon as your customers hear you talking about how great you are, they stop listening. They change the channel, look at their smartphone, or keep scrolling.
With social media, you get the chance to tell your story over time. Share something fun. Keep it light. Your personality will shine and so will your sales.
Networking, without having to get dressed and do your hair hoping your customers will show up.
Ever wish you could be a fly on the wall while your customers sip their lattes and chat about their latest purchases (yours included)? Better yet, do you wish you could be a fly that talked so when something is said about your product you can buzz excitedly and say “thank you!”
On social media, you can. You can hide behind the computer screen stalking billions of Facebook and Twitter accounts waiting for someone to say something about you. There are programs that help you do it. And the best part is, you never have to leave your house. Yay, yoga pants and sweatshirts!
You’re in the same spot as your customers, 24 hours a day.
More important than becoming a virtual stalker is planting your message in the same spot your customers are lurking themselves. You can be virtual best buddies without ever having to meet face-to-face (until and unless you want to).
But wait, isn’t this the same as having a billboard for a local business?
Close, but for all the reasons stated above, it’s still better priced and way easier to measure.
Did you miss out on the past 7 days in this 12 Days of Christmas series? Catch up here:
- Day 1: Local Business Marketing Tips for 2016
- Day 2: How to Drive Traffic to Your Small Business Website
- Day 3: How to Get Your Business Listed on Google
- Day 4: Four Easy Copywriting Tweaks to Instantly Make You Sound More Appealing
- Day 5: 5 Customer Experience Metrics to Monitor
- Day 6: Should Your Small Business Start a Blog
- Day 7: 7 Blog Post Ideas to Get Your Creative Juices Flowing