Marketing has changed drastically over the past 16 years. It used to be that as long as you were clear on the traditional 4 P’s (product, place, price, promotion) of marketing, and executed a smart strategy incorporating all of them, your campaign had a good chance of being successful. These days, however, that’s just not enough.With improved technology, there’s less difference in products of the same category. The internet has made place almost irrelevant (unless you’re a storefront, but even then, most storefronts have an online presence). Price is no longer a strong enough reason for consumers to choose one product or service over another. And promotion? Well… Most people now skip over traditional advertising, so you’ve got to get really creative with your marketing.
Although a number of businesses have been smart enough to revamp their marketing strategies, not everyone is taking full advantage of this one tool that has revolutionized how brands reach their audience(s). As the data points out, if you avoid learning to use it, you risk becoming irrelevant in the near future. So what is the one marketing mistake you can’t afford to make in 2016?
YOU CAN’T AFFORD TO NOT HAVE A SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY.
Consider these statistics from Media Bistro:
74% of customers rely on social media to influence purchasing decisions
71% of consumers who receive quick brand responses on social media are more likely to recommend that brand to others
97% of consumers search for local businesses online
80% of users prefer to connect with brands on Facebook
HAVING A SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE IS NOT THE SAME AS HAVING A SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY.
There are many businesses that have Facebook or Twitter pages, but haven’t posted anything in weeks—if not months. In fact, it’s better not to have a social media presence at all if you’re not going to maintain it regularly. But once you decide to develop, maintain, and invest in that strategy, you’ll begin to reap the rewards.
Not convinced about the power of social media to grow your revenues? Take this story from Inc.com about Brandi Temple, Founder of Lolly Wolly Doodle, an online children’s clothing company. Temple used Facebook to grow her business in five years to an $11 million enterprise—a number that is expected to double by the end of 2014. And that’s just one example of the power of social media to build your brand and your business.
Building your brand is now a much more collaborative process—one that your customers are actively engaged in.
MARKETING IS NO LONGER A ONE-WAY CONVERSATION WHERE BUSINESSES GET TO SHAPE THEIR IMAGE JUST BY PROCLAIMING WHO THEY ARE.
Social media and the internet have introduced a two-way dialogue where customers and clients get to have a say in who you are and give you immediate feedback as to what is effective (or not) in your marketing efforts. There’s a reason it’s called social media. The “social” part is the important part.
So how do you even begin to develop a social media strategy? Many of the requirements are similar to developing a traditional marketing strategy.
1. Understand that every platform requires different types and formats of information and post accordingly. The type of content you post on Facebook is going to be different from what you post on LinkedIn vs. what you post on Twitter and YouTube. Although I was familiar with how to engage on Facebook, it took me a long time to embrace Twitter. It was like a foreign language (hashtags and handles, RT’s and MT’s, FF’s and DM’s). Seriously, it was enough to make your head spin; however, once I learned it and figured out how to use it strategically, I started making some incredible connections and building valuable relationships.
It’s the same with all social media channels:
YOU GET WHAT YOU PUT IN.
In fact, a few years ago, I landed a marketing project in the Caribbean because of information I posted on one of my social media channels that positioned me as a brand marketing expert. Needless to say, I’m a huge fan of social media marketing.
2. Set up a schedule. Once you familiarize yourself with each platform and the type of content that works best, make sure you’ve aligned your resources to allow you to be consistent with your posting. There’s an old saying that goes,
“WHAT GETS SCHEDULED GETS DONE.”
Apply this same philosophy to your social media marketing. There are some great automation tools (i.e. HootSuite, Buffer, etc.) that allow you to schedule all your posts in advance. However, automation should help provide consistency, not replace personality. You still need to engage with your audience regularly.
3. Dedicate resources (time, people, money) to your social media marketing. If you’re a solopreneur, that might mean setting aside an hour of your day and creating a small budget to grow your following. If you’re a larger enterprise, that should mean hiring someone either part-time or full-time to help create, implement and manage your social media strategy.
Whatever your marketing goals for 2016, you can make it a successful year by giving your social media presence a personality and backing it up with a smart strategy. Happy marketing!