If you are a fledgling start-up or an SME, you are probably operating with an extremely limited budget and you cannot afford to run million dollar ad campaigns through television or Google PPC. However in your case, it is of paramount importance that you get information about your company/products/services to a wider audience as that is the only way you can justify the existence of your enterprise. If you find yourself in such a quandary, Social Marketing is definitely what you need to at least partially level the playing field against even against larger competitors.
As most businesses and managers currently know, Social Marketing leverages the increased reach of Social Media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn etc. to connect with a wider audience. The main benefit of these systems is the increased interactivity ensured by use of Social Marketing as compared to the one-sided communication provided by traditional advertising campaigns. However, it is crucial that you fix goals that you need to achieve for expanding your reach, while ensuring that you connect with the current audience. Often you will find companies using Social Marketing techniques resort to something similar to carpet bombing. This needless to say is a bad idea, because you would end up diluting the potency of your unique message, so it is necessary that you choose the target audience to engage with your message carefully. This is probably the most vital and commonly ignored aspect of Social Marketing.
No business is self sufficient and whatever you trade, you will have partners, supplier etc., whom you depend on and vice versa. In such a situation, it is definitely a smart idea to create referral programs with links placed on your partners’ and suppliers’ sites/social media pages leading to your website as well as vice versa. Alternately, other referral programs focus on the customers themselves and allow them to benefit by providing leads to new prospects. The benefits to such customers could include either cash benefits or complementary services/products along with their next purchase. The main benefit is that your overstretched marketing department can have its load reduced by this, while you spend peanuts to get additional leads.
Too much of a good thing…..
Even though Social Marketing definitely helps a lot with respect to expanding your connections with customers and prospects, things can go wrong, especially if the products/services you offer fall short of customer expectations. Considering the superior connectivity provided by new age social tools, the double edged sword metaphor is apt, because if you develop a bad rapport among your current customer base, Social Media powered outrage will probably bury you. Also too many Social Media messages from your account will cause site administrators to ban your account at least temporarily and sending spam messages to prospects will definitely not endear your business to them, while current customers too will rethink their position if you use social media links to pester them needlessly. Hence, moderation and a targeted approach are critical to successfully benefit from Social Media Marketing.
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