And it is a good question. Before you begin any marketing program you need to decide what you are trying to accomplish. Do you want more customers, more phone calls, more Facebook “likes”? Because if you don’t know where you are going, you will have no way to know if you are being successful.
The question, “What will it do for my business?” is a very difficult one to answer, as it will all depend on your network and the content you are putting forth.
What Social Media Won’t Do
I think we can all agree that social media is an important tool in every business owner’s marketing toolbox, but there are certain things that it can’t do.
1. Social media won’t make a bad product or idea good. Just because you are using social media, doesn’t mean that what you are offering or selling is worth anything. Make sure you have a solid idea/product, one that people will want to talk about (positively, we hope), and one that people will want to tell their friends about.
2. Social media will not provide your company with a “quick fix”. Anything worth doing, is worth doing well. And to really get the most out of social media, you need to give it both time and effort. As I’ve previously written, just saying you are on Facebook doesn’t make a social strategy. You need to commit to engaging and posting worthwhile content to your customers, clients, and fans. It takes time to build up trust. It isn’t given freely.
3. Social media will not replace your customer service. It will only enhance it. Social media will give your clients an opportunity to reach you, at their convenience, and they expect a reply. If someone posts to your Facebook page, don’t forget to answer them the same way you would if they had called or e-mailed.
What Social Media Will Do
So, if it can’t do the things listed above, what, exactly, can it do?
1. Social media will build trust in your name/brand. Over time, as you help and engage, people will come to trust your advice. They will then recommend you, whenever someone in their social circle is looking for that product or service you offer.
2. Social media will provide you with business leads. If someone has taken the time to “like” you on Facebook, or follow you on Twitter, then they are interested in what you have to say. Give them a reason to click through to your site, and they become a lead. It’s what you do with them after the “click” that will turn them into a customer.
3. Social media gives you visibility. You can interact and engage with people looking for your product, and those that don’t even know they need it. You are there when they need you, 24 hours a day, seven days per week. Do it right, and it will never stop working for you.
So, in the end, what can social media do for my business? I believe it will do whatever it is you set out to accomplish. Work at it, follow best practices, and social media will help you build your following. If you proceed to just “sell” whatever it is you are selling, you will accomplish only one thing: alienate those that would most help you.
Craig E. Yaris is the owner of EsquireTech Solutions, which helps small business get found on the social web, whether through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, he can both teach you the effective use of any social network or act as your social media manager, enabling you to reach your clients where they are and when they want to hear from you. He can teach your organization the social media best practices that can help you use the tools of today to cost-effectively increase your bottom line. EsquireTech Solutions brings the social web to your business. Visit EsquireTech Solutions or call 516-495-9107.