recently announced 300 million users)– More than 1.5 million pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photos, etc.) are shared on Facebook… daily.– % of companies using LinkedIn as a primary tool to find employees… 80%– Generation Y and Z consider e-mail passé… In 2009 Boston College stopped distributing e-mail addresses to incoming freshmen– There are over 200,000,000 Blogs– 34% of bloggers post opinions about products & brands– 25% of search results for the World’s Top 20 largest brands are links to user-generated content– 78% of consumers trust peer recommendations– Only 14% trust advertisementsSocial Media: The power of people. The power of word of mouth. The power of community. But, with this new consumer-driven community comes a new vulnerability that needs to be addressed: advertising in the world of social media is no longer one-sided. In other words, you are giving your clients a podium to speak their mind to all of your other existing and potential customers. And you need to be prepared for what they say. That's where your Social Media Marketing Plan needs to come into play. It doesn't have to be overly complicated, but you need to have a plan and it needs to be one that's right for your company.Some things to consider: How much time do you have to dedicate to social media? Is video a medium that is relative to your product or service? Are you able to maintain a blog, but also drive the traffic to it? Will you be able to respond to viewers' comments in a timely manner?For people just starting out, my personal recommendation is to start with a Facebook Business Page. I like Facebook because you can share images, links to other sites (including video), articles, and just small snippets of text easily. In other words, if you post an article you like, then all of your friends will see it. If even one of them likes the post and re-posts it, then all of their friends will see it. And so on, and so on. Facebook, through its interface, helps to get the word out for you.Southeastern CT SCORE's Facebook Business Page”]How does this work for your business? And how does this translate to your bottom line?
That all depends on your business. For example, if you have weekly events that you want to get people in the door for, then announcing them on Facebook will get the word out and as you gain “fans” for your page, the word will spread faster each time. The return on investment is easy to measure because you can compare your attendance stats, or take it a step further and ask each attendee where they heard about the event from. Just some straight-forward math.
However, what if your company is a service – then the rules are a little different. In that case you want to approach Facebook from another angle. Here I would recommend focusing on your reputation. Become your customer’s expert friend they want to turn to when they have a problem. Share bits of info with your viewers — this makes you seem generous and knowledgeable and fans will appreciate that. Over time that will build trust in your brand and a positive reputation. But, of course, this is a much harder return to measure.
No matter what your business is though, the important part is that you are going on Facebook because you care about your customers. Don’t make the too frequent mistake of making Facebook about your bottom line and only that. Remember, it’s about customer service . . . their needs, not yours. That approach will help you build your very own positive social media community.
You can’t have too many “friends”, right?
Karen Stevenson, Principal of Thumbnail Designs, a graphic and web design studio, has helped many of her clients navigate the choppy waters of social media and is happy to be helping Southeastern CT SCORE get their feet wet with Facebook.