A recent survey by Fox News found that 97% of small business owners preferred to conduct their online marketing efforts through social media sites, rather than through location-based services like FourSquare.
Was it a useful survey? Well, yes, in the sense that it confirmed what has been obvious for some time, and that’s that the social media is now an integral part of any internet marketing campaign. But if your small business uses social media you may have found that, in spite of all the hype and euphoria surrounding the medium and your best efforts, you’re still not getting the sort of results or return on investment that you might expect.
So what’s the problem?
Why are customers not interacting with you? What more can you do to build your online presence? Well, here are some suggestions that might just help.
Keep track of your results.
The only way you’ll ever be able to track the effectiveness of your social media marketing efforts is through measurement, and that means tracking. If it all seems too daunting a prospect, then don’t worry as there are a number of apps out there to help you like Hoot Suite. For a small monthly outlay they’ll analyse the traffic and crunch the numbers and tell you exactly what you’re doing that resonates with users and what doesn’t.
The personal touch works best.
There’s a strong temptation to go down the road of automation where you can send posts to multiple sites. You might think this will increase your online presence and boost your credibility, but what often happens is that this type of behaviour is seen as lazy and anti-social. Depersonalised content turns users off. In fact, many view this type of post as spam. Social networks are built on interaction. If you lose that personal, human element, then campaigns can quickly get derailed.
Content is still king.
Without good quality content your goose is cooked. You need to provide relevant, interesting and thought provoking content that users will want to share. Bland articles that simply repeat what users could read on countless other sites won’t help to increase your audience, nor will they inspire readers to respond and share your brand with others. It may take work and effort, but it’s work that will bring rewards.
Make your conversations two-way affairs.
Even if your content is superb, you’ll still need to give readers an extra incentive if you want them to respond. Put yourself in your readers’ shoes, and think about what they might want. Post questions that require answers, conduct surveys, start tweet chats about pre-arranged subjects and encourage readers to get involved. You might also want to throw in a few giveaways as sweeteners for those who participate, but don’t break the budget.
If you can’t do it, get someone in who can.
Working the social media effectively is full-on and can take up a great deal of time. You may not have the time or the expertise to do it full justice. So get someone in who can help. Someone with proven credentials who knows what they are doing; someone who has done the same sort of work for other businesses and can show you concrete results.