One of the first things that we all learned in our first public speaking class was to know your audience. If senior citizen members of a church group would be the audience, you wouldn’t sprinkle in any “colorful” language.
Such also has application in the realm of marketing when it comes to a small business seeking to address and connect with a particular target audience. If you want to engage a male between 18 and 29 years old, your advertising copy shouldn’t be attempting to have them get in touch with their feelings. And not only is the “what” of your marketing efforts important, but the “where” can be critical to your success as well.
For example, if your small business is trying to target world traveler types, the local newspaper’s travel section is a better fit than a home improvement magazine. The better that your marketing message is tailored to both find and address your targeted audience, the more likely your investment of time and resources in marketing will result in a positive return on investment (“ROI”). Or put another way, advertising can be expensive and you want to get the best bang for your buck that you can.
When it comes to Social Media Marketing (“SMM”) efforts, too many small businesses don’t follow the above outlined basics. Part of the problem stems from SMM being touted by many as a marketing opportunity that is “free”. But as anybody that has had even a basic economics class knows, you can’t avoid TANSTAAFL (“there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch”).
And sorry to hit you over the head with economic truisms, but time is indeed money. So when you or somebody else at your small business posts and responds (hopefully) to users of Facebook, Google+ or Twitter, it’s a marketing investment that necessitates taking a look at your potential ROI. And if a small business doesn’t take that approach, it will likely also be unfocused as to the where of its SMM participation as well as what it will say.
A business owner might read somewhere that people are on Pinterest in increasing numbers and that it has a high conversion rate as compared to other SMM platforms. As a result they tell a staff member (the one who has been tasked to keep an eye on their Facebook page) to get them on Pinterest. Yes, there are quite a few eyeballs on Pinterest (72.8 million users as of April 2015), but 85% are females and almost half of such are adults. Not exactly a great fit if your business deals in repair parts used by computer hardware technicians.
Putting aside such potential mismatch of SMM platform audience and business, there might also be an issue as to how the subject matter of the business lends itself (or not) to a platform. Pinterest is a visual medium and there likely would be only so many Pinterest “boards” you would want to populate with images of internal computer parts. In contrast, consider how well suited Pinterest is for a travel agent that could pin images of travel destinations and activities. Talk about a treasure chest of an audience of those who handle most of the details when it comes to vacation plans (i.e., adult females).
It’s obvious that our hypothetical staff member would be wasting time creating boards and pinning images to them. Time that could be better spent on a SMM platform with the potential for a positive ROI. An example might be on Quora, a question and answer forum where the business would likely find potential customers seeking answers to technical issues regarding computer repairs (and possibly the parts required for such).
So how does a small business decide which SMM platforms to spend its time on? Hopefully the business already has an idea of the profiles of the customers it wants to reach (e.g., young females, other business owners, singles, etc.). With such in mind, answer a couple of basic questions when considering a particular SMM platform:
-Are your potential customers actively engaging on the platform ?
Before even researching one SMM platform or another, why not ask your current customers which SMM platforms they already engage on. And as ubiquitous as Facebook has become with even your great aunt having a profile, it’s only useful to you if your target customers are actively using it. For example, many people have opened Instagram accounts, but female millennials are by far the most active users.
-Does the subject matter of your small business lend itself to the platform ?
An initial sub-question is whether you’ll be able to post engaging visuals. As it is, research shows that any post with an image results in higher engagement. On top of that, some platforms are inherently visual (Pinterest, Instagram, Flickr, et al). A CPA firm would struggle mightily to find sufficient content to make a quality impression on those platforms. And even for less visual platforms like Twitter, a business with some sizzle (e.g., public relations firm) could serve up more engaging tweets than businesses with drier, more nuanced subject matter (e.g., estate planning firm).
The bottom line is to keep in mind that the principles of “Marketing” are just as important as the Social Media component of SMM. And that will also ensure that you’re small business is adhering to those pesky economic acronyms of ROI and TANSTAAFL.
LAD Solutions has a team of social media professionals that have been using and researching Social Media Marketing for many years now. During that time, we have created quite a few highly successful advertising campaigns for a wide variety of companies. To learn more about our social media management, please call (888) 523-2926 or submit your request and one of our representatives will be in touch with you shortly!