The nature and technological platforms of social media marketing are in constant evolution. In order for SME’s to stay afloat and adapt with these changing communication tools we it must be remembered that the underlying principles of marketing still apply and do not change. The following blog post runs through some key dos and don’ts of social media marketing for those SME organisations that are looking to grow their business.
DO NOT # 1: Create too many social network accounts
Marketing Pilgrim recently reported that the “the average large company has 178 corporate-owned social media accounts”. Social media experts are encouraging an unrealistic expectation among the business world that companies must be present on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, Tumblr and other platforms all at once. It is impossible for SMEs in particular to be able to manage all of these accounts at the same time, to a satisfactory level. Your customers will also be puzzled as to how best to interact with you.
DO # 1: Invest more resources into less tactics
In order to see big improvements in growth, your social marketing strategy must be selective and divide up your budget with your available hours for monitoring and management. While spreading your financial investments will minimise your level of risk, it will also reduce your chances of possible return on investment. In online marketing terms, do not “spray and pray”. By putting all your eggs in one, or a few, social media baskets you will likely expand your business quicker.
DO NOT # 2: Rely on other people to share for you
Nobody can deny the benefits of ‘sharing’, ‘liking’ and ‘retweeting’ for exposing your content to new people and allowing customers to become brand advocates however such luck cannot possibly form the basis of your marketing strategy. ‘Word of mouth’ is a great tool for SME business growth as it is entirely free of charge, but you can’t just sit around reactively and wait for others to do your work for you!
DO # 2: Drive visitors to specific pages
Funnel your customers through your existing assets such as your website, advertisements or emails to that specific social media platform you are trying to grow. Don’t just stop at a homepage, direct users to a particular landing page that will trigger a response. Use Promotional Merchandise or ‘freebee’ mailings to encourage your customers to leave you with their details for further communications.
DO NOT # 3: Focus on easy, ineffective tactics
It is not enough for SME businesses to simply join a Facebook conversation, Twitter chat, or to leave a comment under the odd blog post. These attempts at outreach are ineffective and inefficient if true engagement is not occurring with you and your followers. Instead of chasing other peoples’ conversations you should position your brand in a way that will make your target audience actually want to come and find you. That way you’re pulling people in, and they’ll be more receptive to engaging with you.
DO # 3: Focus on business development, not just community management
While community management is important for SME organisations to maintain their audience, it is business development where you must focus your efforts if you want to grow that audience. Creating partnerships with other companies will position your business in front of new consumer groups and perhaps more affluent or influential individuals. An example of this type of venture could be to donate time or money to a non-profit organisation that is either related to your industry or connected to your target customers. This style of partnership could result in mutually beneficial exchanges such as business alliances and brand exposure via social media platforms.
The fast-paced nature of the social media landscape makes it difficult for SME businesses to remain on top of the game. By staying focused, selective and true to the principles of marketing; you can generate the results you are looking for from your customers. Online follower engagement can contribute towards business growth for both the short and long term.