If you and your company haven’t gone all in with social media by now, it’s time to make the commitment as you solidify your marketing plans for 2016.
Long gone are the days when you could afford to be a dabbler in social media. It’s developed into a full-fledged profession all its own, and many colleges offer courses and even majors in social media marketing.
Yet to this day I still see companies that do little with what should be a great marketing opportunity. Instead, they depend strictly on strategies that worked for them 10 or 15 years ago, with little or no awareness of the new digital tools that are available.
Frankly, even some companies that make the effort to embrace social media are missing its true value.
How far do some of them miss the boat?
Here’s how far. Jay York, an EMSI social media strategist, just told me about a company that recently advertised a social media job opening. To Jay’s amazement, the company offered to pay the social media strategist a commission based on sales that resulted directly from the efforts.
Yikes! That’s a clear misunderstanding of social media and the role it plays in marketing. While social media certainly can lead to sales – especially for inexpensive items that people buy often – that’s not really its primary purpose.
Social media is best for building a relationship with potential customers or clients, serving as a critical part of your overall branding efforts.
Let me share a few steps to help you get the most out of your social media efforts in 2016.
- Understand. Opportunities are changing on social media all the time as new features or options are added. Don’t be afraid to admit you don’t understand how it all works. Delve into it and learn all you can. Most social media platforms offer free tips on how to get the best use of the sites, and in some cases those tips are specifically directed to businesses.
- Plan. Study the different social media platforms and what each could do for you. For most people and companies, and especially small businesses, Facebook is probably the best place to start. Everyone seems to be on Facebook and they just expect that you will be, too. You also need to decide who in your organization will take responsibility for social media because someone needs to be the go-to person who posts new material, monitors feedback from followers and keeps up on trends. Finally, you will want to set a budget so you can get involved in social media advertising.
- Commit. Don’t dip your toe in to test the water for a few months, and then withdraw if there’s no quick reward. Social media requires a long-term commitment as it’s about building your brand over time and not trying to make a quick strike overnight.
Ultimately, if you don’t have someone in your organization who understands social media and is on top of the newest platforms, the latest social marketing tools and aware of current tactics that have proven to be effective, you need to explore hiring a firm that can do it for you.
Jay (one of our in-house foodies) likens it to the kitchen of a gourmet restaurant, where so much opportunity would go to waste without a competent chef to oversee the operation.
The point is, why limit yourself to heating a can of soup when the tools are there to prepare a glorious meal?
P.S. If you want professional help with your social media efforts, give us a call at 727-443-7115 ext. 215 or get your Free Media Analysis here!