Wide Reach of Target Market
When it comes to an effective marketing channel, social media offers you the potential to reach hundreds of millions of people. Facebook alone touts over two billion users. Twitter has over 330 million users each day. LinkedIn clocks in at about half a billion.
Of course not all of these users represents your target market. That’s why it is important to see if the kinds of people you need to reach are actually hanging out on these social platforms.
One way to do this is:
- To see how many active followers your competitors have. If the numbers aren’t high or your competitors are not very active, it could indicate that you may be wasting your time with social media.
- On the other hand, if you find that many of your competitors have a growing following, creating social media strategy for your small business might be a necessary step.
Social Media sites allow you to create an account for free. Posting to those accounts are free. And free marketing is always a good thing. But even though social media marketing may not cost you dollars out of your coffers, you still need to approach your marketing strategy as if you were paying for it. When you think of the amount of time it may involve, the “free” becomes expensive.
- Digital Marketing connects you with your consumers on the internet:
- 80% of consumers utilize the internet to make their search for information a whole lot easier and convenient.
- Digital Marketing generates higher conversion rates:
- You can reach out to specific targeted audiences to generate interest and leads in your organization and achieve as much as a 24% in conversion rates if done correctly.
- Digital Marketing saves you money:
- Gartners Digital Marketing Spend Report 2013 describes how small business owners are already getting such benefits from digital marketing.
- Digital Marketing Enables Real-Time Customer Service:
- The real time response mechanism offered by digital marketing can give a big impact on the success of your business according.
- Digital Marketing connects you with the mobile customer:
- Digital marketing can help you tap into this very large market. Mobile marketing generates up to 34% of all organic traffic.
- Mobile technology also influences buying behaviors of consumers as well.
- Digital Marketing helps create higher revenues:
- Consumers need at least 6 touchpoints before they are convinced to buy, but if they do they may spend as much as 4x any other type of consumer.
- Digital Marketing helps generate higher ROI from your campaigns:
- In 2013 HubSpot has reported and confirmed 2013 HubSpot Report that digital marketing can help businesses generate better Cost Per lead (CPL) compared to traditional marketing or telemarketing.
- Digital Marketing keeps you at par with your competitors:
- Many organizations are ramping up on their digital marketing campaigns, using various channels available including displays, PPC, mobile and social media.
- Digital Marketing can help you compete with large corporations:
- Digital marketing not only keeps you at par with your competitors, it can also enable you to compete head to head with big brands and corporations.
- Digital Marketing prepares you for the internet of things:
- Gartner has reported that by 2020 there is about 26 billion gadgets-smartphones, tablets, watches, eyeglasses, appliances, shoes and more-interconnected in a global online-ecosystem
Other Benefits of Digital Marketing
Drive Inbound Marketing
- Inbound Marketing refers to business that you generate by people finding you online, usually through your consistent posts through social media or blogs. It is a fact that adding many quality blog posts on your website combined with building inbound links to your pages results in higher website traffic.
- When you promote your posts through social media and you use hashtags related to your topic, people can find you as they scan for the same hashtags. If your post was compelling, they may read to click your blog.
Better SEO Ranking
- Search engines have become one of the most popular ways for customers to find the products and services they need. With a few simple search words, your business can pop up on search results…and you may have found an instant customer.
- Major search engines like Google and Bing look at social media signals when determining ranking. You can improve your Search Engine Optimization through the updates you post on social media accounts. This is a major benefit of using social media marketing.
Improve Customer Relations
- Social Media has proven to be a successful way for any size business to build and maintain customers. It gives you an opportunity to engage with customers.
- Through your social media channels you can spark discussions, obtain market research data by asking opinions and feedback, improve how you handle complaints and returns, and even form positive strategic relationships with other businesses.
- Branding is an ongoing marketing effort. And while branding through regular marketing channels can be challenging, you can easily improve your business identity through social media. That means using your business name, logo and slogan on every social media account.
- It also means getting your business name in front of the right people, or your target market, so your business is more recognized.
Downside to Social Media Marketing
- The biggest disadvantage of using social media as a marketing channel is the amount of time required to make it successful.
- To gain true benefits of social media marketing, you must maintain a regular schedule. This means writing posts and updates, responding to comments, and reviewing results of previous updates.
- Another disadvantage is the fact that whoever does your social media management could get “sucked” into the time warp of these channels. It is amazingly easy to read all of your followers and fans updates, follow links to websites, etc, and find a 5 minute post on twitter can turn into 35 minutes reading twitter posts or that 3-4 hours have also mysteriously disappeared clicking through all of the links embedded into posts.
- You must maintain discipline in your time commitment in order to make social media work for your small business.
Lost in The Crowd
- Due to the sheer number of people and businesses using social media, it’s hard to stand out. You can easily get lost within the millions of other commercial accounts. This makes it difficult to gain visibility to your target market.
- Social media requires you to form a sound strategy and review results to improve your efforts. This is one of the only ways to avoid getting lost among the cyber world of social media marketing.
Before you dive into creating a social media marketing plan to grow your business, you should understand the benefits of social media marketing for your small business. You also need to know the downsides so that you can make an informed business decision about whether you want to add it to your overall marketing plan.
Getting Started with Social Media
Social Media has proven effective for certain types of businesses whose target market is consumers and, in some cases, other businesses.
Step 1: Identify-what you want from your efforts
- How much time can I allocate to social media each week
- Do we have a plan of attack-strategy?
- What growth goals make sense for the company (i.e., number of followers, clicks, metrics)?
- Who are we targeting? How often?
- What is my expected ROI in Social Media Marketing (your return on investment)
- Who in my company will do the work? Who will verify that it is accurate?
- Is it better to outsource this function to the experts?
- What will my posting policies be?
- How often will my company post on social media?
- Which platforms will we post on?
- Which tools will we use for posting and tracking?
Developing a social media marketing plan means more than posting a few tweets, Facebook or LinkedIn updates. With proper planning, you can increase awareness about your business. With proper planning, you can increase awareness about your business.
Social Media Marketing Plan Basics
Social media should not be your only small business marketing outlet. Nor should you ignore the potential of social media marketing. The reasons to consider a social media marketing plan for small business are extensive and include:
- Discover an untapped market-social media can help you discover yet untapped markets or services you can develop.
- Discover new niche markets-Tying in to untapped markets, you could also find a new niche within your industry and adjust your product/service offering accordingly to fit the social media plan.
- Widen the scope of your target market-Rather than market to local in your neighborhood, social media for business allows you to expand your market to potentially limitless customers around the world.
- Improve online sales-Small business social media can help you achieve your online sales goals by expanding your audience reach and engaging with customers as well as prospective buyers on their preferred methods of communication (e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram atc..)
- Improve online sales conversions-You can also improve the actual conversion rates of visitors to buyers on your website with a social media plan. Small business social media allows you to nurture leads, engage with customers in real time thereby increasing the likelihood of converting a follower/fan to a customer.
- Retain loyal customers-you will want to keep in the minds of current and past customers, so they can become repeat business. Social media enables small business owners and entrepreneurs to keep contact with their current customer base, maintaining a valuable relationship and providing constant support.
So how do you formulate a proper and useful social media plan for your small business? Here is our recommended outline
Define Your Small Business Marketing Profile
- Start with your own small business profile.
- Define your current operations.
Some questions to ask
- What type of business are you? (i.e retailer, manufacturer, professional service)
- What is your product or service?
- Do you operate out of retail or office space?
- Do you currently have a website?
- Does your small business currently use social media?
- Which types of social media outlets do you utilize? Are you active?
- Who does, or will your website serve?
Set Overall Goals
Define the overall goals you want to achieve through social media. You don’t have to get too specific. That comes later.
- Improve Branding
- Improve online presence
- Increase customer base
- Increase web traffic
- Improve search results
- Increase revenue
- Reduce advertising costs
Outline Your Target Market Profile
- Describe your general customer
- Get as specific as you can
- You want the reader to have a good idea of who will be buying your product or service
- Use your target market profile to identify who your customers are
- Identify what type of social media they use and how you can interact with them on these social media channels
- There are many social media sites, including some for niche markets that might be a perfect fit for your business. Wikipedia publishes a list of social networking sites that is worth a look.
Have Concrete and Quantifiable Objectives
- Write down your small business marketing objectives through social media
- Be specific and quantifiable
- Web Traffic-I want to increase web traffic by 50%, 1,000 visitors per week
- Online Sales-I would like to increase my online sales conversion rate by 20% in the next 6 months or even achieve a higher per sale average of $15
Estimate a Hard Figure Budget
- While some social media marketing is free and only costs you time and effort, others may require a budget. If you are unsure solicit the professionals.
- Get real with your financial spending for social media purposes.
Include items such as:
- Website Design and Improvement
- Costs for social media content like photo’s, infographics, video’s, podcasts, paid social media ads, guides, articles, quizzes and more-the more engaging your content, the better your chances of spreading the word about your business.
Determine Your Metrics
- Look at your analytics from your social media channels
- See how many views and followers you are getting
- Your social media marketing plan should define the way you track results and determine ROI
- Remember, your advertising costs, whether traditional or online, should help you improve your sales and results in a positive way
Spell out how you will use:
- Customer feedback
- Social media tools
- Website statistics
To determine the effectiveness of your social media marketing campaigns and whether the sales attributed to those efforts results in your desired ROI. Social Media Marketing should be taken seriously as any other traditional advertising efforts. Take the time to formulate your social media marketing plan so you make the most of your timeline.