Why Social Media is Important to your Business & Marketing Plans

27 Jan Why Social Media is Important to your Business & Marketing Plans


Social media can help business if you learn it

Why bother with social media for your business?

I talk to a lot of small business owners and I am amazed at the number of entrepreneurs who start a business and rely on traditional advertising for results. When they talk about their marketing budget, they use the word advertising interchangeably with marketing. But advertising is just a form of marketing. And it’s very expensive, as well as not very effective.

Think about it. When you see a billboard and it’s actually compelling enough for you to notice it and realize it pertains to you, do you actually take action and call that company or change your behaviors because you saw the ad? Probably not. In fact, you have to see that ad a whole bunch of times before you’re compelled to take action, if at all. That’s if the advertiser was lucky enough to reach you among the sea of people who see the ad but aren’t ideal customers.

Yellow pages are the same way. Very expensive and ineffective. Very few people look in the yellow pages anymore for a service provider. They rely on recommendations from friends and people they trust. Where do more and more people communicate with people they trust? On the web and in social media outlets. So whether or not you as an entrepreneur understand social media is irrelevant. Your customers, your clients, and your target audience are conversing via social media and they are looking for people to fill their needs. If you want to generate business from your target audience, you need to go where the audience is. For example, I really don’t understand the purpose of Twitter, but I do understand that a large part of my audience uses Twitter and prefers to receive their information via Twitter. So, I learned how to use Twitter effectively.

With social media, you have the opportunity to build trust and develop relationships with your audience before you even talk to them. You’re not interrupting their lives with a billboard or television ad and hoping you reach the right people. With social media, you can find the people that are looking for the content you have to offer. Now you have their permission to send them information and add value to their lives when they want it, where they want it, and how they want it.

Next week I’ll continue this business discussion and dive into specifically how you should be using free or low cost social media strategies to help your business grow. The takeaway from this week is that growing your business isn’t as easy as setting up shop and paying for advertising. You’ve got to work for your audience these days, but it’s worth it!

4 Comments
  • Christina Tarkoff
    Posted at 21:02h, 27 January

    Yes to all the above. All marketing takes time. And, even though the nature of social media is immediate, the cumulative effect requires patience and diligence.

    • Anonymous
      Posted at 21:37h, 27 January

      Christina, you are so right. Your best efforts in social media today won’t deliver results for months or even years. It’s about building trust at the customer/audience’s pace, not ours. Lots of patience & diligence is indeed needed but definitely worth it!

  • Josh Bulloc
    Posted at 00:31h, 28 January

    Matt,

    I am trying to get my company to use social media more but they are not sure how it will benefit them. They primarily are B2B and most of their product goes to the Army. I told them the benefits of social media is to create a relationship with the nearby community and to help attract talent. Do you have any other selling points that I can sell them with?

    Josh Bulloc
    Kansas City, MO
    How can I help?

    • Anonymous
      Posted at 20:47h, 28 January

      That’s a great question Josh. In their case, social media takes a little different spin but the value is still there. Using tools like Linked In can help them expand their network and not only find new contacts for various opportunities, but can help them identify future leadership candidates and more as you mentioned. And with social media they also have the opportunity to develop a great positive image with the local community, both online and offline. Here again, the idea is to add value to your network, which builds trust over time.

      They could, and probably should, be sending out a regular newsletter to keep their clients, contacts, and prospects up to date on changes in the industry and how it impacts their audience. They can promote the positive things they are doing in their industry to remain the best at what they do.

      There are other professional networks online besides Linked In and Twitter, and probably some specific networking sites or something similar within their niche. If there’s not a network, forum, or informational site for their niche, your company may be well served to create one. That would position them as the authority in that niche, the company that everyone looks to when they need information. There are a lot of potential revenue streams that can branch off of simply being widely recognized as the experts in a specific niche.

      I think it comes back to one point: Companies need to think outside the box to be competitive. While so many companies are using social media today, not that many are being creative with it and using it well to help them grow. There are a ton of ways to use the tons of free resources that are out there. I believe the companies that figure it out and use the same tools in a new way will edge their competitors out.