In my experience in various roles in marketing departments, management and now, as the Vice President of a Digital Marketing Agency which specializes in Social Media, I have come across many objections from the head honchos of many businesses with respect to Social Media Marketing. My experiences have put in front of C-Level executives of Fortune 500 companies and the crotchety old business owner who has owned his own small business for more years than I have been alive. Many have objections or aversions towards Social Media as a viable alternative to traditional marketing, but it is usually a result of fear or lack of knowledge.
The first thing to point out is that a business, any business, should have a presence in Social Media because the business’s customers are already there. With half a billion people on Facebook alone, everyone is involved in Social Media, and I mean everyone. It’s simple. Go where the people are.
Next, I would bring up the topic of brand and reputation management. Often when I am considering trying a new restaurant or ordering something online, I simply Google the business name. I read the first few entries and if anything I see could be viewed as a negative review, I cross it off my list. Social Media is the best way to be involved in the online conversation about your business. The conversation is happening whether you are involved or not. Doesn’t it make more sense to engage with someone who is unhappy or dissatisfied with your product or service and attempt to fix the problem?
Another thing to focus on is cost. I have dealt with many small business owners who have significant trepidation about moving money from traditional marketing to Social Media. I can understand that. They have used the same traditional marketing channels for years, sometimes even decades. There are a few ways to overcome this. The first is to personalize the issue. If the business owner uses ads in the local Yellow Pages, ask him (or her) if the last time they were looking for a business they looked in the phonebook or if the Googled it. That can close a deal. Alternatively, if they use newspaper or magazine ads, ask them when was the last time they picked up a newspaper. Most people today look to the internet for news and information. You can even tweak this for Radio or TV. Who actually buys a product or service based on those types of advertisements? Word-of-Mouth is still the best form of advertising, and Social Media is Word-of-Mouth on steroids.
The costs of these types of traditional advertising is shocking. I once spoke to a business owner who spent $1500 per month on an ad in the phonebook. I asked him if he knew what his ROI was on that expense and he had no idea. I showed him how to track ROI using Social Media Marketing and he was converted. Ask the average small-business owner this same question about ROI on traditional forms of advertising like print, radio, TV or even billboards and you will get the same answer 99% of the time.
Social Media is virtually free. You can use pay-per-click or Google AdWords but you don’t have to. It is dangerous to tackle Social Media all by yourself, but if you hire a marketing strategist with Social Media experience or engage an agency that specializes in Social Media Marketing for small business, like Davanti Digital Media, you can get on the right track for significantly less than traditional forms of advertising. The bottom line is this; Social Media is the wave of the future when it comes to marketing and advertising. If you don’t get involved now, you will get left in the dust.
Another selling point is the fact that any business has competition that is using Social Media. Ask a business owner or executive who their competition is and then search for them on Facebook or Twitter. They probably have a profile and are engaging with customers. This will create fear. Fear of being left out. And that sells.
Yet another way to sell Social Media is explain the SEO implications. Blogging, microblogging and Social Networking are great ways to increase a company’s page rank. Search engines update based on these sites more frequently than a traditional website. Plus, these sites, in most cases, are much easier to update and add new content to than a traditional website. The results is these sites can be much more effective in reaching millions online than a traditional website.
Social sites are more frequently used by a business’s customers and prospects. You can connect and engage with these people in a much easier way than through a traditional website or traditional marketing channels. You can reduce customer service time and costs if you are effectively using Social Media. Social Media can also help a business shape their own brand identity.
Social Media is the wave of the future; for marketing, advertising and everything under the sun. Your customers are using it. Your prospects are using it. Your competition is using it. Why aren’t you?