Social media and online promotions are the way forward - or are they?
How many times have you heard that social media is the future? Or that Facebook, twitter and Instagram are the way to promote your company.
But are they the right solutions for your business?
There is a mass of information that these are the fastest growing ways to communicate with existing and potential customers. Facebook alone had 1.86 billion monthly active users at the end of 2016 . This is a massive potential audience for your products or services, but is it the right audience for your business?
Many media experts believe that online social media is the only way forward and I have come across many examples of small local businesses using “experts” to tap in to these social audiences.
However, there can be a problem. Many social media experts rate their performance on the number of Likes and followers that they are able to get for a company. But do these turn into money in the till?
One local restaurant complained to me that he was spending over £300 a month for a company to run social media campaigns for him but he had not seen one new customer who had mentioned social media after 3 months. He had been told he had more followers and Likes. When we looked into the demographics of the Likes and followers we found they were not his target audience, in his local area or, in some cases, in the same country.
Now I am not saying that social media does not work. It can be a very successful way to communicate with existing customers and to inform potential new customers To be successful on social media you need to have a strategy in place that will make people want to follow you and read your posts.
Do not try to sell yourself via social media but think of it as a way to constantly remind people of your company and services.
An example of this is a driving instructor – rather than just put up his prices and offers I worked with him to write examples of his experiences, or similar that would make people laugh. Particularly the funny ones where a new driver went the wrong way round a roundabout. After time people started to follow and repost his experiences, which in turn lead to people actually referring him as a driving instructor on facebook.
But social media is not the only marketing solution. Remember, before the development of social media, companies would successfully promote themselves through “traditional media”.
Compare the global billions of social media to your customer base. Remember basic marketing questions: Who, What, Where, When, Why and How.
Ask yourself, Who are your customers? Where are they?
For many small businesses the majority of your customers will be local. So is tapping into the global social audience the best use of your time or resources?
How about just standing outside your business and handing out a flyer or sample? Try actually talking to potential new customers face-to-face. Go networking!! Remember that people will buy from people that they like, know and trust.
Using flyers can be a very cost effective way of getting a promotion directly to your audience. 1,000 A6 flyers can cost as little as £20.00 and you can make sure that you are giving the flyers directly to the right local audience.
If your business is online only, then this may be difficult, but selling directly to the public face to face could make a massive difference to your success and profit.
Look out for Re Balancing Your Marketing part 2 coming soon...