More and more corporate marketing teams are joining the social networking movement and allocating some of their resources to websites like Facebook, Twitter, LinedIn. But with all the different marketing tactics that companies undertake, how much time should they spend on social media marketing?
Social networking has many convenient uses, from accommodating social pleasantries to assisting with community participation. Social network websites allow users to share ideas, comments, and thoughts, connect with like minded people, and keep in contact with friends and family. On a personal and professional growth level, social networking can provide great benefits for elevating your career. As an ultimate source for networking, Social Media Marketing (SMM) puts you in touch with other experts in your field to discuss ideas, challenges, and solutions and really help you build your reputation.
One popular way in which companies market themselves through social networking sites is by generating goodwill in support of a community or cause. Prospecting, sales and technical support are other common business objectives for social networking.
So as a business owner, how do you determine if social networking is a worthwhile pursuit for your company, and how much time should you spend on it? As always before taking any major initiative you should reference your company goals and objectives. See if SMM falls under the criteria you've set out. If so, then look to your target audience and determine which social networking sites are most popular with your demographic. If your audience is mainly senior citizens who are not Internet savvy, marketing with Twitter may not be your strategy.
If it turns out that SMM is not for you or your business just don't do it. There's nothing wrong with passing up on the trend. Do however keep social media marketing on the back burner for the future. It might not be right for your company today but it may be worth evaluating again.
If social networking makes sense for your company today, the next step is to determine which sites to join and how much time to dedicate to keeping them current. Look to see how often others post comments on your choice of social networking sites and compare if you have this kind of time to dedicate to maintaining one social website, many, or none. For the sake of your valuable time and resources it's important to take the time to research the right social website(s) for you. Note that having a fan page on Facebook for instance, where comments are not responded to for weeks can do more harm than good. On the other hand, posting a few comments and expecting immediate results is just not realistic, it takes continued contributions and patience.
Don't forget to track and monitor things like the traffic from different website sources, number of followers, members, and comments over a period of time. These will help to determine the value of your endeavours. Mind you, some efforts will be harder to evaluate than others and you may very well not see a direct correlation between the time spent on social networking and incoming sales. However social media networking has so many other benefits, as stated earlier, you are sure to find it a worthwhile task.
Overall have fun engaging with your customers, followers, and supporters or even non-supporters. SMM can be a very powerful medium that will continue to be interwoven into our marketing mix.