You run a small business, and things have been going pretty darn well, if you do say so yourself. But as you look at steadily plateauing sales figures despite your best efforts, you realize that there is no use denying it any longer… you need marketing help. And you wonder, what is all the buzz about social media, and what can it do for your business?
Social media has often been touted as the marketing platform of the future, the “next big thing” for Internet marketing strategies, the holy grail of untapped potential. The truth is, if you are a massive company with millions and millions of dollars to throw at your advertising campaigns, nearly ANY niche can serve as a decent marketing platform. And large companies have certainly used social media to that end, and to moderately decent effect. So where does that leave the small business?
It first helps to define the actual strengths and weaknesses of social media marketing strategies, as opposed to the perceived ones. Yes, a creatively marketed ad or campaign can go viral in the social media world, leading to great exposure for the business in question. But while there are certain strategies you can implement to increase the likelihood of your ad going viral, the whims and caprices of the Internet audience can make even the most carefully crafted ad a dicey prospect. The inherently organic response that makes social media such a potential powerhouse for word of mouth advertising is the exact same trait that makes it so unpredictable.
Social media marketing helps the most when you conscientiously use it for the benefits you KNOW you can get from it, rather than putting all your marketing eggs in one fickle basket. Social media can help direct your research, letting you know what people are saying about products or services in your field. Social media can provide preexisting platforms to share your articles and blogs, as long as your copy is high quality and your automation is restricted to the sharing of content and not the generation of content. And social media compbined with your current customer relationships can help you spread the word, if you encourage your current clientele to tell their online friends about the great experience they had with your company.
You can use all the marketing help for small businesses you can get your hands on, but it always pays to be circumspect. Knowing THAT something can help you is not the same as knowing HOW something can help you. Do your homework, check the facts, and follow the marketing strategies you know will bring benefits, instead of throwing your money out into the void and hoping for the best.