It’s 2016 and it’s an everyday occurrence to check your phone. Often times, we are looking at what’s going on in our own little world on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and my personal favorite…YouTube. If I want to learn how to ‘pick up chicks’ or wish Hilary Duff a happy birthday, I’m going to need social media to do that. Why is it any different when it comes to YOUR business?
Businesses are increasingly social and will need to continue to be in order to stay relevant to its’ market. Knowing your market and the clientele you will be marketing to is essential when planning your social network marketing campaign. These days, not many people are watching regular TV and paying attention to the commercial ads…Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime are taking away part of the cable/satellite TV market. Nobody reads marketing emails as emailing has become a much more frequent way of communication in our daily lives. Since we use email so much, we tend to only pay attention to the emails that really “matter.”
Knowing how to use social networking tools to the advantage of your business will take time and effort to manage, but can be easily mastered with a little bit of practice. Who knows, maybe you will even find it good fun to learn these technologies?! When it comes to YouTube, it is time to let your creative juices flow! GEICO ads are plastered all over YouTube, and even try to poke fun at YouTube advertisements, and I remember them because they are so silly and so frequent. You may not need to place an ad on YouTube, but placing a video that advertises your product in some way can be extremely beneficial. For example, I desperately want to paint my car…I just do. I want to do it on my own, but I have no formal training and I don’t want it to look like I hired a 4-year-old to finger paint my car. So I watched YouTube and a guy named Fonzi from DipYourCar.com has posted videos on how to paint a car using his products. He advertises his products and shows the quality of the product in each video and I will be buying from him this fall when I decide to paint my car. This is how powerful a video can be.
Facebook. Where do I begin? Until I started working on a Masters degree in Entrepreneurship, I boycotted Facebook. I felt like it was such a waste of time to play on Facebook every day and put my nose in everyone’s’ personal business. Now I understand the potential that Facebook really has for businesses, especially with ad services. In a required reading for my graduate work in entrepreneurship, the author wrote that he was able to target one specific person with a Facebook ad. With this kind of marketing potential at your fingertips, world domination is within your grasp! Ahem. I mean…you can reach everyone who is posting topics related to the product or service that your small business is offering. Facebook gets millions of users every single day. Imagine you own a whoopee cushion company, on Facebook there is huge potential to sell whoopee cushions when you can reach a couple hundred thousand talking about them.
Next, Twitter. I would be cautious about Twitter. It is very important to not get dragged into a conversation that could tarnish the reputation of your company. Personally, I feel like Twitter is a place where mindless drones go to stare at the spinning black and white swirls that would normally hypnotize you. However, Twitter can offer a great resource to respond to customers who may have a bad experience with your, or your competitors’, product or service. It is also a great way to have other people market your product or service for you by giving you great reviews. I would pay special attention to typing out full words, not diving too far into hipster lingo, all while maintaining professionalism and relevance. Like totes, Bae!
Instagram and Snapchat are beginning to catch up to the pack. You’d have to offer a way for many people to add you on Snapchat, but that would be a great social media tool to offer coupons, giveaways, or just let people know what executives are up to when it comes to giving customers what they want and expect. I’d expect that when Joe and Jane decide to send a Snapchat to their group of friends, they’d most likely leave your business out of the group snap, but that doesn’t mean this tool can’t work in your favor. Instagram, on the other hand, is all about the followers. The more people who “like” your photos and share them with others, the wider your network of weak ties becomes. There is great strength in weak ties (PLEASE REMEMBER THIS!). Instagram is a great way to show your followers pictures of your latest prototypes, products, events, locations, services, and anything else that you may want them to know about. It is much faster to advertise a new product when people have instant access to what you are selling.
All in all, to stay relevant (and quite possibly…in business), social media is a MUST. We live in a digital age, taking the information highway to any and every possible destination. These are all tools businesses can use to their advantage to gain new customers, to make current customers more loyal, and to keep people informed. People like it when you aren’t keeping secrets…this builds the most important part of a relationship; trust.