If you’re in business, you know the impact of powerful marketing. And with the popularity of social media sites, social media marketing has become critical for every business.
Yes, even local businesses that are offline.
Social media attracts a global audience, but when implemented in a targeted manner, it can be leveraged for local businesses. You see, unless your customers are in a country without Internet or aged over 90, social media marketing should work for your local business.
Besides, just like traditional advertising avenues such as TV, radio, magazines, etc., social media is nothing but a communication channel, a place where you can interact with your customers where and when they want to.
Interacting with people to turn them into customers is what marketing is all about, right?
Social media and local businesses
The question that’s probably foremost in your mind right now is which social media platform is right for your local business. Social media marketing proponents will tell you to go for the sites with the most users, namely, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn.
If you’re still testing the social media waters, that may sound like a lot. The good news is that you don’t have to use all of them. By learning and implementing one at a time, you’ll get to discover which one works best for your business.
Once you determine which gives you the most ROI, (your investment is pretty much time alone because social media tools are free to use), you get an idea where to spend more time on.
While it’s true that new social media channels crop up every now and then, the reality is that people don’t flock to them right off the bat, which means that if your customers aren’t there, there definitely is no use spending your time learning and using such platforms.
Your website as a marketing tool
If you haven’t already created a website, now perhaps is the time to think about coming up with one. And when you do, keep the following characteristics in mind (in no particular order):
- Professional and simple design. Attractive and easy on the eyes – two marks of a good website. Be sure that every time you add an element to your site, it serves a purpose.
- User-friendly and easily navigable. Don’t confuse your visitors. Your Services page should be marked Services or something similar. Naming it Your Business Solution Kit may leave some fellows scratching their heads.
- Targeted audience. When visitors come to your site, they should know at first glance what your business is about.
- Loading speed. A website that’s slow to load is not going to help your business much. Waiting for large graphics and fancy animation will surely turn a visitor away.
- Search engine optimization. Unless your visitors are typing in the exact address you indicated in a flyer, if a website cannot be found by the search engines, it’s pretty much non-existent. Keyword research and other SEO strategies should help your website generate more visitors.
- Data tracking and analytics. Knowing where your visitors are coming from, which pages they click, what medium they use, among others, should allow you to come up with ways to improve your website. A good website doesn’t have to be perfect, but a work in progress.
- Fresh content. I’m sure you’ve heard it many times – content is king. Fresh, unique and up-to-date content can go a long way in your marketing efforts.
Another important point to keep in mind: when marketing through social media, always (yes, always!) direct your customers back to your website. This is essential because while Facebook and Twitter are the most frequented social media sites nowadays, there’s no telling what will happen to them in the future.
Case in point: Friendster and MySpace.
Moreover, if for some reason you violate a provision that you’re not aware of, your account can get deleted. If you have 100,000 followers on Twitter, for example, you cease to have access to those followers.
The best strategy is to come up with an e-mail marketing campaign and a database of precious e-mail addresses that is bound to outlive any social media marketing initiative.
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