What social media can (and can’t) do for your business

So, you’ve decided it’s finally time your business jumped on the social media bandwagon. You’ve avidly setup your account on Facebook and Twitter; invited all of your friends to ‘like’ your page and connect with you; shared a bunch of links to your website so people know who you are and what you do.

You’re there! You’re online and super excited to start engaging with new people and (hopefully) make some great new customers.

But now what?

You keep sharing the odd cool article or your latest special offer every other week, but nothing really seems to happen…why?

That’s because it takes time. Not days, not weeks, but months for you to earn your audience’s trust and build proper relationships with them.

Think of social media like any other kind of networking. You wouldn’t expect to make a sale the very first meeting you have with a business, so don’t think it’s going to happen on social media either.

Remember, you’re new, many people won’t know anything about you, let alone trust you. That takes time and effort on your part. Coming back week after week, month after month to establish your credibility and prove to your prospects why you’re the real deal.

Social media marketing isn’t marketing the way you know it. In fact, its incredible rise to success has forced the whole marketing industry to change and adapt to this new trend.

Social media marketing vs. advertising

Many people still regard marketing as advertising – shouting out loud how amazing their products/services are; why people need to buy them; and how much better their lives will be once they have. It’s all about special offers, deals and discounts… push, push, push your stuff onto people, but this aggressive approach doesn’t bring results on social media.

Instead, you need to engage your audience with useful/informative posts. These posts should help them and because of that, they will feel inclined to share and help spread the word about your company. Posts on your blog should always provide people with valuable tips showcasing your expertise. Perhaps you can create an infographic that contains useful information and stats about your industry. Basically, anything that’s deemed valuable to your audience.

The more shares/retweets and likes you get, the more widespread your brand becomes known. And the more you engage with your audiences and earn their trust, the more likely it is they will purchase your products or employ your services.

What’s realistic to achieve with social media?

Social media is a great tool for businesses to grow online audience, to get known for their expertise and to improve the product/service they’re offering by listening to their customers’ feedback.

Social media…

  • isn’t a quick win! It’s not a short-term project that will bring in new clients within weeks.
  • isn’t free! Even though setting up social media profiles doesn’t cost you anything, you need to account for your investment in strategy, content, design and your time and effort.
  • isn’t something you let your intern do! The fact that “youngsters” understand modern technology doesn’t mean they understand marketing, customer behaviour and complex business strategies.
  • can’t help you sell a bad product. Not even the most brilliant marketing campaign can fix a bad product. Listen to your customers (if you have any) – what do they want, what are their pain points and how you can help them?
  • isn’t solely about promoting your business. Shouting out loud how amazing your products are doesn’t work on social media is. It’s not like traditional advertising you know from the TV.
  • isn’t direct selling. Discounting or offering special deals (only) won’t bring you more business from social media. Social media selling is a complex inbound process of inspiring interest, building relationships, and nurturing leads.
  • isn’t only for new customers. Your business has more audiences than just potential clients – you have your current clients, VIP clients, partners, providers and influencers to take care of as well.

Is social media right for your business?

Every business can benefit a lot from social media if their expectations are reasonable and backed by a clear strategy. Most of all, you need to remember that social media isn’t about you and your product/service. It’s all about your customers! Be there for them, listen and help!

Have you found this article useful? Do you have any questions? Email me at info@lenkakoppova.com or tweet me at @lenkakopp. I’m looking forward to hearing your feedback.