Every so often a client at Creative Developments or a prospective client will ask “why do I need social media?” or “why is social media relevant to my business?”
“Why do I need it?” Depending upon the client it can be a very useful marketing tool but social media is not for everyone. For some individuals or businesses it may seem to serve little purpose (Google+ being an exception – more on this below). If you’re not on social media and have no interest in using Twitter or being on Facebook you may not see the need for it. Before reaching that conclusion though and dismissing social media as unnecessary I would first consider the following benefits:
Social Media for Market Awareness:
One use of social media is to generate market awareness for a business and for its products or services. Using social media you can reach out and solicit the attention of a prospective client base from a targeted demographic that is active on social media. For example, if you’re restaurant owner or a dentist or jewelry store owner or a pest control service provider you can “follow” people that follow your competition in the region that you reside in. If your client base has interest in your competitors’ social media feed it’s not a far stretch to think they may be interested in yours as well.
If developing a new and expanding client base is a business objective of yours then social media marketing can be a relevant tool for you. Accruing a social media following can be advantageous to your business both for expanding your client base as well for syndicating your message on social media feeds each day.
“But I never use social media!” If that sounds like something you might say, that’s okay. You don’t need to know how to use social media to implement a campaign. If you have never used Twitter or you don’t own a Facebook profile then a social media management company like Creative Developments in Tempe, Arizona can implement a campaign on your behalf. A Creative Developments social media manager can setup your social media accounts, manage your accounts on your behalf and schedule out a daily feed relevant to your business that a prospective client base may have an interest in following. Learn more here.
Social Media for Public Perception:
Another use of social media has nothing to do with direct marketing or building up a following or fan base. Not every business is modeled to acquire an ever expanding pool of customers and has little interest in accumulating a large number of Likes or followers.
For example we had one client that sold memberships to a lecture series on clinical counseling meant for certified and specialized professionals within their industry. This company had little interest in accruing a following on social media and soliciting for newcomers to join but they did want to present themselves as being as professional and on top of new trends and technologies as their competition. Their social media profiles with a daily news feed rounded out their presentation along with a modern looking website rebuild. Image matters.
Social media can be used enhance a company’s public presentation. An older demographic may not care about Twitter and Facebook and don’t make their decisions on what companies to do business with based upon social media but it may matter to a younger demographic whether or not you have a social media presence. No business wants to be perceived as a fossil company to a younger demographic that they may target.
Another example: We had a home warranty company that wanted to be on social media because their competitor was on it and their competitor maintained a daily industry news feed. So we set one up for them. What news both companies posted out may not have been the essential draw to their respective businesses but they didn’t lose out on a client for offering their informative advice feeds either. Social media served its purpose in this example as window dressing.
For some clients the content that they provide online is not used as a hard sell, they are using social media to showcase that they are experts in their field of choice. They are still relying upon other methods of marketing such as traditional advertising, direct mail and email blasts to sell themselves but their social media presentation relays a perception of professionalism.
A Word about Google+
Google is the world’s most popular search engine and business directory but a Google+ for business account is required for a business to be found on a Google Maps search engine result page. Registering for a Google+ social media profile is how a company appears in the business directory and “optimizing” a profile is how it ranks favorably on a search engine results page. A Google Plus profile is organic and it needs to be optimized if you want your business listing to be found over other registered Google+ business listings for a similar keyword phrase.
Is it worth pursuing a social media management campaign? If for no other reason than to place more favorably on search engine results on Google Maps locally for targeted keyword phrases on Google Maps, yes, yes it is. Who doesn’t want to be found first on Google? If one needs to justify the costs, consider this to be an Internet marketing campaign for positive placement on Google with Facebook and Twitter exposure being an added bonus.
One thing to note: When implementing a social media campaign, the same daily news feed that is written and scheduled out to a Facebook or LinkedIn account can in turn feed the beast that is Google and a Google+ business for profile. To the social media manager the time and cost of managing a campaign is the same whether one posts to a Google+ profile or Google+ AND Facebook. In HootSuite it is just a click of a button to schedule out a post on two different profiles. Learn more about Google+ for business.
All Things Being Equal:
All things being equal, perception matters. In today’s times, when given a choice, it’s still the bright shiny penny that gets picked up over the old dirty one. I think of two dental practices or two law firms or two production companies. One company may have a dated website or no website, no local business directory presence or an underwhelming one, little or no social media presence or a social media presence that is stagnant that includes few to no updates.
The other company may have a modern, responsive website, a presence on Google, a Yelp account, a Foursquare page, an informative daily feed on Facebook and Twitter and Google+. If I am judging both companies strictly by their on-line presence I may be more inclined, all things being equal, to go with the shiny new penny of a company over the old dirty one.