It may seem like a silly question after all isn’t everyone using social media as part of their marketing plan? Too many have leaped onto the social media stage before looking. It’s like picking up a tool without knowing what it is and what it can do but using it just because “everyone else is”.
Marketing can go awry because initiatives are implemented from the end and then worked backwards. Directives to start tweeting or make a Facebook page are often handed down without knowing why. They’re done to meet the request. The task of figuring out what to tweet and why and how to maximize return is looked at afterwards. Sometimes that isn’t even done at all. The channel just pushes out a one way stream.
Social media plans should begin with assessing how your customers interact with you. The goal of social media in marketing is to promote your business be it retail, cause, service or industry. If social media is a tool then can it be used to streamline the process for the customer and the business?
Airlines, as an example, use social media to enhance customer support. Near instant communication promotes greater customer satisfaction. The few seconds it takes to reply to a tweet is far more efficient than a 10- minute call.
As another example small business, such as a scrapbooking store, can use twitter to promote sales, specials, events and new products. It takes less time to tweet than create a newsletter and a tweet only requires a glance from a customer rather than devoted time to read. Tweets can be linked to a Facebook page which increases sharing and conversation which, in turn, promotes sales. Of course this should all lead back to the mothership website.
Sometimes certain social media tools may not be the right fit. Do you create enough unique content to warrant a Twitter feed and can you source enough content to effectively promote your business month after month, year after year? There are other tools to share and promote your unique content and unless the aggregate content supports your marketing goals then there is little gain in cluttering up your feed.
Measurement is an important tool in social media. Analytics reveal if social media content is driving customers to the intended goal. It’s not difficult to use Google Analytics to see a response to a tweet or Facebook post. Just don’t post and run. If you are using Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or the like then reading your social media channels (and others) is equally as important. Get a feel for the conversation or lack thereof. It’s free marketing feedback.
If the answer to “Why do you (insert social media tool here)?” is “I really don’t know” then it’s time to reassess. You don’t have to use all the tools because “everyone else is”.
Spend more time creating an experience your customers will enjoy than the noise you feel is required to be heard.