‘No Corey, you don’t have to lecture me, I know I am supposed to be using it! … I simply don’t have the time and I definitely don’t need another inbox, besides I already spend enough time on Facebook.’ You won’t imagine how often I hear this from busy entrepreneurs / professionals on a quest to grow their business/career and be a positive impact on the world in the process. They are stressed out trying to keep up with the world and using social media for their business is just another thing on their already full plate.The majority always seem to know ‘exactly’ what they need to do. Yet in most cases, they seem to attract persons who have a mindset different from what they are expecting.
Over the past few years I have had the opportunity to design execute and be involved in various types of social media campaigns across different industries, demographics and markets primarily in the Caribbean. Some campaigns had simple objectives, some have been break out successes, some with complex objectives and some never really got going.It’s been a challenging and insightful journey, a first hand education to the importance of a web strategy which includes social media. The web has now evolved to the point where everything needs to be integrated seamlessly with a clear strategy. I believe the social media world is also evolving so rapidly it would not be smart to tie your business’ fate to it indefinately.Let me offer a definition for strategy so that we are on the same page.
What is a strategy?
In my own words – a strategy is simply a plan for you to move from point A to point B which takes into account your current situation and the environment. [See official definitions for strategy]
4 Key factors to consider in developing an social media component of your web strategy
1. Stop Comparing International Campaigns with Regional & Local Campaigns
Immediately you might be thinking, ” duh Corey” international campaigns tend to have much larger budgets and therefore we know that we in the Caribbean cannot compare. The reason is goes a little deeper than that.In international markets with ecommerce as a standard way of doing business. It makes the online environment totally different….Have you ever made a bet for fun vs a bet where direct cash is involved? There is a difference right? Now consider that some of these social media ‘wonder stories’ have access to a market of millions of persons. In some cases a 5% increase in online sales it worth more than $10 000 US. The environment is also factor … in the Caribbean we still live in a region where cheques and cash are the norm.Compare appropriately.
2. Choosing the Right Networks & The Right Content
Given the point above I am sure you are already looking at your social media woes a bit differently. You should take more time to evaluate the networks and content you are using and also don’t automatically think that there must be a way to sell product/service x on Facebook…maybe Facebook is not a fit for you…this is possible!Also remember the more networks you add, the more management time they will need. Too often I am hearing the magical solution to solving marketing & communications problems is to add more social networks to the list…
3. Track Your Inputs and The Outputs You Get
Business is all about about the dollars and cents. It’s not always straight forward. Sometimes you might spend $1 today to make $2 and at other times you might spend $10 per month for 6 months to make $300. Whatever it is the idea is to increase in value. So how do you know if the 20 hours per week you are investing in social is working out for you? You don’t? Well measure it. One way to to measure is to track how many sales come through each network againt what you are putting in. You would also have to factor in a dollar value for product education, customer service, enhanced word of mouth and additional credibility.
- Sales – revenue generated
- Marketing (product awareness) – how much would you pay otherwise in training/product demos for customers to see your product
- Customer service – what the cost of the time you are saving?
As this happens in the digital world we can greatly enhance the quality of this tracking and get more than enough data. All you need is a properly developed website. Armed with this rich data you can use your web strategy to cut the fat and focus on what is working.
4. Budget Effectively and Smartly
You don’t have infinite resources, you might be privileged to have a lot of resources, but at the end of the day they are limited. Just like every other business on the planet.The access to social media networks is free, however everything else you do has a cost. You have to consider :
- Your time
- Creating content
- Advertising cost
- Social Media Tools
Once you have a good idea of what your outputs are likely to be above then you can start to build a budget that will work for your situation.
Like anything else in business and life, if you really want to get the best out of it, you need to have a plan and track your performance against that plan. If you have a clear picture how it impacts your budget then you can prioritize it appropriately!
What are the top benefits for you with social media? Why do you stick with it?
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