I like to remind our clients that social media marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. in other words, if you think you can simply create a Facebook page and a Twitter account and account thousands of new customers, you are in for a rude awakening.
Proper social media marketing requires careful attention to detail; nurturing your fan base and building relationships so you can motivate Followers to become paying customers. It is one thing to generate a lot of activity on your social media network and quite another thing to then convert these people (because they ARE people, not just numbers) into something tangible that can help you achieve a return on your investment.
Social media is like anything else you have ever done for your business: The more you put into it the more you get out of it. But the return rate is skewed. Instead of expecting tangible results in days or even weeks, you will likely have a long term plan that culminates in an achievement some months down the road. This is good and bad. It’s good because it helps you build a strong infrastructure from which you can reach higher heights; it’s bad because because often people want immediate results and if they don’t get them they regard their effort as a failure.
Remember: It’s a marathon. I mentioned that earlier in this post. A marathon is a long, long run that requires months of training and conditioning and huge amounts of effort. A sprint also requires some effort but the ending comes quick; you get immediate knowledge of your results.
With social media the better your preparation, your training, the better the results of those efforts will be. The best way to plan for a social media campaign is to recruit the assistance of a professional social media manager. Someone who can help you analyze your strengths and weakness, identify your audience and point out the specific social media networks which will do your organization the most good.
Start by sitting down and writing down the three things you hope to gain from being involved in social media. Be sure to make them concrete and tangible. Then, when you do sit down with a social media professional you can hand them the list and ask, “Can you help me achieve this?”
While an overabundance of marketing opportunities, introduced by social media, can make the average small business owner feel a certain invisible pressure to always be online and communicating, that isn’t necessarily the most effective way to drive your business. Here are some pointers to help you decide how much time spent on Twitter, Google+, Facebook and other networks might be too much.
No Such Thing as an Overnight Success
It takes hard work, time and dedication to develop a successful social media presence. If you expect to tweet for a few months and triple your business, you are probably in for a real shock when you see how incremental growth actually is. In addition, it’s difficult to actually measure what success you may be achieving. For instance, increased sales is certainly a tangible sign of success, but increased buzz and positive brand image can be the building blocks for future financial success and should not be undervalued. As you determine how much time to devote to your social media campaign, keep this in mind and manage your time so that you can be consistent over the long haul.
What Is the Return on Investment?
For every marketing and networking action a business owner takes, there is an anticipated reaction. They may be using social media to increase brand awareness, increase sales, improve consumer perception and so on. But, without measuring the return you gain on the time you are investing in these things, you can’t know whether or not your efforts have been worth it.
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