Social Networking – Is Social Media Marketing Right for My Brand?
Social media sites offer advertisers a tantalizing opportunity; their user bases are huge and their users spend several hours per day on their sites. However, the dynamics of the social media world make it prohibitive for some brands to be able to successfully leverage the opportunity. Here are some questions you can ask to make sure that social media marketing is right for you.
Do I Have Bandwidth?
The first question is a simple one – do you have the resources to successfully execute a social media marketing campaign? This is not the sort of thing you can assign someone to check into once per month – someone needs to be manning your Twitter feed, Facebook page and any other vehicles you set up multiple times per day to find and respond to feedback and also to identify opportunities to begin building relationships with new potential customers.
Customers are going to attempt to contact you when it is convenient for them, so thinking in terms of 9-5 hours may not be a viable solution. You need to be ready to answer their questions quickly, because speed and immediacy are at the heart of the very medium of social media. If you do not meet a user's expectation in terms of immediacy your credibility in this space will be destroyed.
The cost of poor implementing a social media marketing campaign due to understaffing is perhaps more than never getting into the space at all. After all, by executing it poorly you run the risk of alienating existing customers. So make an honest assessment of what sort of personnel resources you have (and are willing to make) available for this type of project.
What Are My Marketing Goals?
The next question you should ask yourself is – What does your organization hope to gain from this or any other marketing program? If you are looking to triple web site traffic overnight or double sales in a month, social media marketing is not for you.
By nature of the medium itself, which was designed for connecting and communicating, social media is not ideal for selling products. Recent research has shown that it is becoming a more viable option for selling, but in general a marketer's best hope in the social arena is to build brand awareness and equity. Overnight success is not to be found here. But if you can afford to be patient and diligent in building a following you can cultivate some excellent results. It is important to take a candid look at what your goals are to decide if investing time and money into this avenue is really worth it for you.
What Would I Say?
Keep in mind that visitors to social media sites are doing so of their own volition; they are not a captive audience like a TVwatcher subjected to a commercial. So in order for them to take time out to look at your social media profile or read your message on a social media site, you need to have something compelling for them to say.
What defines compelling in the social realm? It covers a pretty broad spectrum and honestly it differs on the situation and audience. It may be something educational, or something funny, or something that offers them a chance to save money, attend an event or obtain something they otherwise may not get.
So as any good marketer would, you are going to need to heed the important old adage of "know your audience." What do they want and what can you offer that meets that desire? Will they be more motivated to engage with you for a special offer or to learn more about a new product offering? You will need to rely on your own consumer modeling and knowledge of your industry in general to determine this, but these are the types of questions you should be asking yourself in order to develop good social content.
These are the three main questions any brand considering entering the world of social media marketing should ask themselves. These questions will help you determine whether social media is a viable opportunity for your brand, and if so how you can approach it.