By Edmond Hong
Did you know that there are nearly 800 million Facebook users in the world? The original brainchild of Mark Zuckerberg and his fellow roommates, Facebook started with humble beginnings back in 2004. They have since developed Facebook into one of the most popular and successful social media networking websites. Facebook is now not just a way for family and friends to connect, but even has changed the way companies do business.
In the 2011 business world Tweets have become our business cards and Facebook invitations have developed into our handshakes. Only a few years ago many business owners relied upon the normal customs of networking such as exchanging contact information and sealing it with an iconic handshake. Social media has become the go-to means of networking and connecting with other businesses. With numerous opportunities that once could never be accessed now being available within hours, it’s only natural that successful businesses will want to take full advantage of social media marketing.
Coming up with a successful marketing plan is the first step in creating and running a successful business. It is imperative that you employs long term strategies to market your business on facebook. Unfortunately it’s also one of the most difficult steps as well. Numerous opportunities and advantages have made themselves available for businesses throughout the world thanks to Facebook, Twitter and specific businesses related websites like LinkedIn. Through the use of social media marketing even micro-businesses can reap the benefits of exposure and sales.
Increased sales and profit is ideal but what about customer relations? Social media is ideal for not just communicating with your customers but also give them a reason to really become loyal to your trusted business. The ability to connect with thousands of people instantly is one thing that no business would want to do without. Marketing through social media is a proven way of building strong customer relations. Providing high-quality, interesting content about your business will help increase sales even more.
Understanding Social Media Marketing
If you plan on joining a few social media networks, uploading some content and sitting back waiting for business to roll in you’ll be sadly disappointed. One of the main reasons social media is such a beautiful concept is because you are able to interact with your customers. The truth of the matter is in order to take full advantage of the benefits this type of marketing has to offer you need to engage your customers. When you engage your customers you are building an important repertoire. Your social media marketing foundation will be based upon this.
The perfect tool to gain loyal customers and build a successful reputation, all while keeping an eye on competition, is through social media optimization (SMO). The main reason that SMO is so successful is because you can learn what the consumers do, and don’t, want through direct interaction. The basis of social media marketing is the ability to target specific markets, build a stable reputation, as well as provide compelling content. Not only will you communicate with your customers, but providing interesting content is a sure way to have those customers share the same information with others.
Why Implement Social Media Marketing
1. Increased Sales from Exposure
Businesses who take advantage of social media marketing are quickly realizing the power of a single message. On Facebook one single post can be “shared”. For example, let’s say each of the thousands of people on your friend’s list shared a single message on your page. When you message is shared each person on your friend’s list is exposing your company to their friends. This is essentially the ultimate form of “word of mouth” and one of the best means of advertising. A single person can literally affect the chances of thousands visiting your page. This is one reason why compelling content is so essential in social media marketing. Even the smallest of businesses can successfully gain exposure using this technique. Here are 20 top tips for how to create a facebook business page.
2. Better Ranking with Search Engines
If you’ve spent the time building your business and creating an amazing website it won’t help much if you can’t direct traffic to it! Search engine ranking is vital because it helps to drive visitors to your sites through searches on Google or Yahoo for example. Increased visitors and traffic equals more sales. Facebook and Twitter, along with other networking websites, are key in backlinking your website on your profile and accounts. When you backlink information often you are boosting your rankings in search engines.
3. Budget Friendly
Running a marketing campaign can be very difficult for small businesses to grasp. Not only are traditional techniques of marketing costly and take a lot of time, but they sometimes do not work out as well as planned. Small businesses need a marketing technique that is budget friendly but offers amazing results in terms of exposure. You can easily open an account on Facebook for instance and begin your marketing strategies that day. The amazing thing is that many of these networking websites are completely free to join and use! On top of that, once you really begin bringing in traffic you can usually buy ad space or even friends to increase exposure and sales even more. As long as you take the time to really write engaging content and build your friend foundation you will be rewarded with excellent results.
4. Develop Committed Customers
A small business’s success is greatly dependent upon how many committed customers they have. These types of customers are the ones who will want to buy from your business time and time again simply because you have won over their loyalty and trust. You can connect with these people and engage the ones who already are by running a blog or regularly posting on a social media networking website.
One of the most wonderful things about social media marketing is that you can build loyal relationships with your customers easily and simply! Just by providing compelling content and staying in touch through comments you can turn a consumer into a customer. Not every people enjoy typical “salesy” speech or feel pressured into buying from a company. Every customer prefers a more personal approach and this is exactly what social media marketing offers.
5. Connect with Other Businesses
Connecting with customers is of course an extremely important part of a successful social media marketing campaign, but what about other businesses. It is important to realize that networking with other businesses can greatly expose your own business to similarly targeted populations. It is also important in developing cooperative relationships rather than trying to simply out-do your competition.
The main goal of social media marketing is to drive your audience towards other venues of information such as a website where more information from articles are waiting. If you don’t have the ability to do this your campaign will plummet. To help you with this remember to always converse personally with each customer and give them helpful information. Stay away from anything impersonal such as automated responses. Always work towards engaging your customer base to keep them coming back to you time and time again.
Though an SMM campaign is simple to understand and implement, it will take some time before you really begin seeing increased sales and watch your business develop as a brand. The time it takes to connect with your customers, whether loyal or dedicated, will pay back in the long run. Even if your first try at an SMM campaign doesn’t go as well as planned you will at least gain a better understanding of what your targeted audience really wants.
Wrapping It Up
Social media marketing is ideal for small businesses as it yields amazing benefits such as:
- Increase business exposure (something every business needs)
- Sales improved ( the more traffic, the more customers, the more sales)
- Budget friendly (It is dramatically less expensive that traditional campaigns)
- Search engine ranking rises (more traffic to your site)
- Build loyal customer foundation (more credibility to your business)
Holding honors in both Civil Engineering and Business Marketing from Monash University, Edmond Hong is a well-known expert in the field of small business marketing. He has been a featured writer in the business section of Age Australia as well as having been published in the New York Times. He owns a social media marketing website where online marketers could buy facebook fans and likes. Edmond Hong enjoys coaching up-and-coming entrepreneurs and writing marketing books in his beautiful suburban home in St. Kilda, Melbourne.