So you have figured out the basics of what this social network marketing thing is all about. You now need to decide whether your business is going to dip its toes into the shallow end of the pool or take the almighty plunge and develop a full-blown strategy?
Remembering ‘snm’ is still in its infancy for most – there are few great success stories to help us model our own strategies on – so here are some tips on getting started.
The most important question is, “Where is your potential target audience?”
If you sell gophers to the over 65’s you probably won’t find them on Twitter. Although I may eat my words in a year or two, particularly when you consider Facebook has passed the 8-million user mark in Australia and I have recently been teaching my retired mother to surf the net.
But who is on it? Have you looked? Chances are you have as have many others by all accounts.
Alexa.com’s top 500 internet rankings show Facebook as the second most searched for site after Google.
Does anyone do any work anymore?
Other rankings include Youtube at number three, blogging searches in a cool seventh and Twitter sitting in a comfortable twelfth position – and I am in no doubt that it won’t be long before it wings its way further up the rankings, especially now Malcolm Turnbull has become a major flag bearer.
So let’s take it as read that we need some sort of a strategy.
The next big question is, “What type of strategy do we deploy?”
Are we looking for brand building or direct marketing opportunities?
Broadly speaking, brand and reputation building through conversation and activity on the net is in the social networking realm, as opposed to direct marketing, which is more about banner advertising, Google ads, pop-ups and mass emails.
As we know, building your reputation takes a long time to develop in the real world and this is no different when it comes to online social media marketing. So expect to be in for the long-haul as there are no short-cut solutions.
You should also expect to need resources to fuel it – less so in terms of paying for space, but more so in terms of paying for time – which could mean paying for someone else’s time to manage your strategy. These resources are crucial because if you can’t allocate the time, then think very carefully about your commitment.
For instance, if you build a blog and only update it once every three months, then is it really a blog? If you create a Facebook profile for your company and it lays dormant for weeks on end, are you sending the right message about engaging with your audience? If you open a Twitter account tweet for followers and say nothing – what message are you sending?
Are these actions affecting your brand? The answer is yes, very probably. You are doing it more damage than good.
Having an active strategy means being active. If you decide to take that plunge, be warned that once you are in, you are in.
Our online footprints are hard to erase so look before you leap and be sure you can commit yourself as an individual or business.