Facebook for Business – Social Media in Your Marketing Mix: Promotion
Promotion is where the vast majority of change has taken place. The change in promotion is at least equal to the change brought on by the advent of printing, mail, radio and television. While some very entertaining videos would have us believe it is bigger than all of those combined, when adjusted for changes in GNP, population and whatever else, we believe it is as revolutionary as any of these events on the world of marketing.
Forrester Research and Shopping.org
With the change in place, the requirement of our promotional activities has changed as well. There has been much talk about the advent of in-bound marketing. This is marketing not meant to disburse information to potential customers regarding a company’s product offering, but to create an environment in which those inquiring the world wide web about information on the company’s product or service will be drawn to the company’s website and not someone else’s.
This is not as new as many would have you believe. In my business career, the earliest search engine I recall is the Yellow Pages. In the mid 80s I had a neighbor that was a direct salesman for Yellow Pages space. Up until the early 2000s, it was still common to name a company leading with the letter “A” to display first in the Yellow Pages. Search engine optimization was far less complex back then.
That was of course if you didn’t pay for a highlighted ad that would display ahead of the alphabetic listing or a ½ inch, 1 inch. ¼ page, ½ page or full page ad in the Yellow pages. If that doesn’t sound a lot like Google Adwords and SEO marketing, it should.
But things are changing now. The Yellow Pages’ claim to fame had been in local search in the internet era. This, however, was short lived as a somewhat unbiased study showed that the Internet surpassed the Yellow Pages in 2008 becoming the leading source of local business information. Most of the available statistics on the Yellow Pages has conveniently been published by the Yellow Pages or SuperPages. Claims of relevancy are almost satirical given the reality of the world today.
My business center was assaulted annually by Yellow Pages distributors. They would leave what appeared to be a pallet load in the lobby. I would methodically transport these remnants of a genocidal act on trees to the recycling dumpster saving one or two copies for the receptionist in the unlikely event someone would actually ask for one. The poor state of health of the Yellow Pages business is reinforced my the public filings of SuperPages showing a 61.3% revenue decline from 2009 to 2010.
Search engine marketing has replaced the Yellow Pages as the premier in-bound marketing tool. SEO, Adwords, keywords, meta data et al are the tools of search engine marketing we’ve added to our promotional tool kit with the advent of the internet. The Yellow Pages are not irrelevant; they have just become far less effective as a broad based in-bound marketing tool, relegated to being marketed by spammy direct mail announced to be “not a bill” that looks like a bill compared the glory days when you made an appointment with a Yellow Pages salesman.
Promotion has certainly been transformed by the internet. The objective of promotion or out-bound marketing is now as often to drive traffic to a company website as it is to a brick and mortar store. Print advertising is on the decline and taking magazine after magazine after it. Two newspaper towns are now one newspaper towns across the country as advertising revenue drops.
Print based search engines still hold a surprisingly large share, even at the 18 to 24 year old range. It is, however, only dominant over online searches for the 65+ crowd. The trend is clear, off-line searches are losing their relevancy with each passing year. The change is not just a function of a more online population, but of environmental sensitivity to the massive amount of paper used in the production of print directories and the creation of “opt-in” and “opt-out” list for their distribution. Newspapers and magazines are also losing share to online versions of the same publications.
Marketers still need to recognize that printed media continues to be an important factor for many businesses. The trend away from conventional media has also had a dramatic impact on the cost of using them. A careful evaluation of the effectiveness and economics of print media is still warranted for many situations.
Recalling the lack of an online presence as one of the top 7 causes of small business failures, the low adoption rates of these internet solutions is a great concern. Small business marketing priorities must address the proper mix of online and off-line promotional activities.
A surprising number of small businesses still don’t have websites. In all, two-thirds of small businesses have or intend to have in 2 years company websites. In the year between studies, the number of small businesses with websites increased by 10%. Online advertising and plans to advertise in the next 2 years online is a strong 2nd in internet solutions. Social media is 3rd with the 2nd largest percentage with plans to add social media to their internet solutions for small businesses.
Network Solutions, LLC
Marketing strategy decisions regarding “Promotion” must now give special emphasis to using social media to connect to clients and potential clients by building a community of businesses and individuals with a common interest. Social media provides a mechanism to create an ongoing dialog with your target market. Far more powerful than delivering a message, a conversation creates the opportunity to truly “connect.”
The popularity of social networking as an internet tool stems from its phenomenal adoption rate in the span of its start in the early 2000’s. The usage rate in the 18 to 29 years old range seems to have peaked in the 80%+ range, the growth rate in all other age groups is still robust. The fastest growing demographic for Facebook is women over 55.
Social media is not right for all businesses. It must fit into the overall strategy and marketing plan. Don’t include social media in your plan just because it’s the hot thing and everyone else is doing it. Only do it if it’s an integral component of your online promotional and in-bound marketing activity.
Network Solutions, LLC
As is the case with off-line conversations, the key to carrying on an online conversation is listening. If your Fans and Followers tell you something is wrong with your product or the way you are doing business, do something about it. Explain why you do it that way or make changes. Someone has taken the time to give you feedback and they expect a response. Feedback is not always pleasant, but the reaction of people that see they are being listened to is usually quite positive.
Network Solutions, LLC
The businesses using social media report positive accomplishments and increasingly so as they gain experience. Among the accomplishments 63% report stayed engaged with current customer, a 17% increase since the last report. The other 2 most dominant accomplishments are Developed higher awareness and dentified and attracted new customers.
Network Solutions, LLC
Most small businesses are updating their social media at least of a weekly basis. Over 60% of businesses using social media are updating Facebook, Twitter, blogs and location based services weekly or more frequently.
These same businesses reported that social media used up more time than expected. Developing relevant content is a time-consuming process. In order to effectively implement a social media strategy, the sites must be dynamic with content changes and additions frequent enough to engage the audience. Posting must be checked frequently to make sure the conversation with your audience is continued and that complaints, if any, do not go unanswered.
Many people are offering services to update company social media on a daily basis. Because the development of content and posting the content is time consuming, these services usually run about $500 per month. The return on investment may still be attractive, but there are more cost effective ways of managing your social media.
Like many aspects of internet, many of the tools are free, but the time to learn and effectively use the tools is not. Social media can be an incredible investment in time and ruin your marketing ROI if not done properly.
New content development shares the top spot for search engine optimization effectiveness along with on page content optimization. It is also just behind blogging as the in terms of the effort required. Social media is new content development intensive. It’s also a necessary element to almost all small business marketing strategies.
- Marketing & Innovation is the most important non-financial factor in competitive health for small businesses
- Marketing & Innovation has the lowest level of achievement of all of the factors
- Only 36% of small businesses rank themselves as being highly successful in finding efficient ways of advertising and promoting their business
- 42% find internet marketing solutions to be extremely important to their success
- Only 31% of small businesses have a social media presence, but 15% more plan to in 2 years
- Over 60% of social media users found that it allowed them to stay engaged with current customers and develop a higher awareness of the organization within their markets
The fundamentals of marketing have not changed. The objective of marketing has not changed. The focus of marketing has in many or even most instances changed and new tools are in many cases dominating the old standbys of the past. Embrace the internet in your marketing, but don’t lose sight of the fundamentals of your strategy and plan. SEO, your website, your blog and social media presence are not ends in themselves, simply new ways to create sustainable growth in profit and profitability.
Social media is vital to the success of most businesses. To be effective, the social media strategy needs to be grounded by a viable business plan. The strategy needs to include multiple social media sites and maintained with a consistent flow of new content and actively monitored for contributions from your social media community in order to create the connection. In addition, your social media sites needs to look professional and reflect the image you want for your company.
Meadow Creek Marketing and Consulting offers a social media management system that offers small and large businesses alike a means to implement a social media strategy with minimal effort to earn great results. “Social Media Marketing for Success” the product. The product provides a tool for:
Components of the product are:
- Custom Fan page and sidebar
- Video tutorials on developing a Facebook marketing strategy
- 30-60-90 day community management marketing plan
- 1-on-1 quarterly review with Community Manager to analyze marketing results
- Develop methodology for Facebook ads
- Personalized Facebook marketing scripts and private messages
- Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Blog integration
- Access to industry specific and general interest content libraries
Social Media Marketing for Success can be implemented for less than what social media hobbyist offer their services because we have the experience, software tools and understanding of the objectives that they don’t. You can use Social Media Marketing for Success on your own or have us take care of the entire program. Call Meadow Creek today and arrange for a free, no obligation introduction to Social Media Marketing for Success.