Ok so we know that Facebook is the most popular network and that over 500M users use it more than they collectively use Gmail, Google and Youtube. But what does that mean to you as a business owner?
How will it benefit you? The question of Social Media Marketing and ROI (return on investment) is asked of me every single time I'm talking to a prospect or even in general when I share what I do with others. My first response is a factitious "Marketing has no ROI".
However I realize that businesses need to know that their hard-earned money isn't just going down this loosy-goosy marketing strategy that has no real tangible outcome or so they think.
So I decided that this list to make Facebook work for your company/product/service is what I'm going to share with my prospects going forward:
- Think Conversations: Social websites are about two-way, interactive dialogs and therefore your Facebook interactions must be two-way, not one-way. Try to engage people with questions that allow their responses. Share the good and the bad with your fans & followers. Even if the consumer has a negative comment or experience or is not quite in agreement with your line of thinking on a particular topic, allow those discussions to happen. That's because if you prevent them on your page, that conversation will happen elsewhere and it may be more damaging cause you can't control it.
- Think Branding not Sales: Social media websites are not meant for "direct" sales. Consumers on social networks want to network with others. They know that interacting with a company profile means that they'll hear about what the company does and what they sell but they still don't want you to sell to them. By showcasing accomplishments, clients, positive news, community engagement, etc.
Remember, we do business with people we trust. Similarly, we buy from companies who leave a favorable impression and we stop buying products from companies who are found of ethical wrong-doing. So if you as a company can engage and converse without being intrusive, when the time for buying comes, who do you think the consumer is going to think of?
- Think Visibility: I tell people that "if you and I could afford it, we'd all buy billboard, television, and radio advertisement" because those are all channels designed to reach large audiences. Well, social media websites are YET ANOTHER CHANNEL. Just like radio, television, and billboards create visibility for a brand, so do social media websites because of the large numbers of people who participate. If you aren't playing on social networks, you're losing out because consumers are searching for you on social networks. And if you aren't there now, you'll need to be there soon cause guess what, your competition is already there!
Another great reason to on social media websites is to get maximum links coming into your main corporate website which helps you from an organic search engine optimization perspective. And finally social media websites are the MOST cost effective medium to reach the MOST people, period! If a cost-per-consumer calculation were to be done, social media websites would win hands-down.
Now there are a lot of disadvantages of using social media websites for corporates too and they include distraction from day to day work, non-targeted audience reach, etc. etc. but that's to be expected. Let's take a billboard example to compare: If your ad is placed on a major freeway, is every person driving down that stretch of the highway a prospect? Similarly, every individual on Facebook may not be your target prospect but you know what, they may know someone who knows someone who can use your services. And that's the bottom-line: Networking with your trusted network – that's what social media websites offer.
Agree? Disagree? Would love to hear from you….