In 2014, a time when Twitter and Facebook terminology is firmly embedded in the Oxford English dictionary, (e.g. “hashtag”) it seems almost laughable to consider the business world’s initial attitude to today’s social media giants.
Of course this world had its early adopters – businesses adopting new technologies and avenues to push out messages to potential clients – the problem though, was that the systems were unrefined, immature and largely ineffective at the early stages. They lacked their greatest asset – people.
Fast forward a decade and social media is undeniably engrained into both pop and business cultures. With a combined total of over 1.5 billion users of social media worldwide – the potential for businesses to reach consumers has never been so obvious and promising. There is simply no excuse for not adopting an online marketing strategy – below are three common reservations, followed by their debunking:
With Internet marketing opening up avenues for worldwide reach (and thus vast competition), “opting out” of online marketing is not the solution – this just gives your business less visibility with potential consumers and takes you off the map. Effective segmentation, combining outbound with inbound marketing and building genuine relationships are all great ways to stay ahead of your competition
2. Lack of tangible ROI
Usually accompanied by comments such as “a few tweets isn’t going to make me money”, cynicism toward social media as a marketing tool is usually down to the lack of a strategy. Social media marketing is about generating relationships and loyalty, conveying information and ultimately, sales.
A solid strategy allows business to build repeat business, develop awareness in the relevant sector and pinpoint why it is working. For the unconvinced, there is a multitude of tools that now allow the tracking of leads’ behaviour through to their conversion into tangible sales. Inbound marketing is in fact centred on the very principle of using social media to convert engagement into eventual customers, non-intrusively.
3. Negative PR is amplified
Horror stories in social media are the nightmare of every business, especially SMEs. There have been various viral disasters in social media’s short history and “trolls” are rather dedicated to this task. Remember though, no online presence at all can be more costly than the negative PR itself.
Honesty and swift action are the secrets to bouncing back from social media nightmares. Though procedures and common sense usually prevent mishaps, sometimes these things do happen and it is ironically an opportunity to gain respect from new and existing consumer bases with your brand’s response. Be honest, rectify the problem and use the platform of negative publicity to show your consumers why they should still trust you.
Don’t be invisible!
The truth is that now there is no longer a middle ground, you either have an online presence or you do not. It is dangerous game for those who are yet to make the transition, people cannot buy what they can’t see.