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!