As the popularity of social media grows, more bsuiness owners are trying to understand what its all about. One of the main factors deterring many businesses from using social media marketing is that they don’t understand it, nor do they think it will be targeted for their demographic (i.e. not online, not the right age range, etc.). The biggest misconception is that people over 35 are not on sites like Facebook.com or Twitter.com. That may have been true a few years ago but not anymore.
While just a few years ago the mediums were associated with the teenage and 20-something sets, that’s changed. Two-thirds of all online users visit social networks and blogs, according to data from Nielsen Online. And the largest growth in social media users last year came from the 35- to 49-year-old group. There are a lot of business owners and potential customers in these groups!
The most important thing for business owners to understand is not WHAT social media is but HOW to most effectively use it for their specific brands. It is different for every company and takes research and planning to set up a proper campaign. The industry in general often referrs to social media as on of the most cost effective marketing channels but it is more time consuming than people think. That is why many companies who do not have the bandwidth to tackle this effort in-house will hire a professional Internet marketing or social media marketing company.
Many firms will approach the way they offer the service differently. Some only want to consult but not implement. The problem with this approach is that is still doesn’t solve bandwidth and internal resource issues. It is of course very important to have the client very involved so that the correct message is being communicated. Experts will also advise clients who want to do some of the implementation (i.e. Tweeting, updating Facebook profiles, etc.) to make sure they understand the rules of online social communities. The sales pitch should be subtle and only introduced once the trust has been established. The key to social media is finding out who is talking about topics related to your business and getting involved with those discussions.
From an online brand management scenario (an important aspect to a well rounded social media marketing effort), companies should keep open lines of communication with their customers. If positive things are said online, say “Thank You”. If negative comments arise, apologize and let them know you are looking for a solution. The more that busineses can learn about social media and how they can effectivley use it the better. That is where great Internet marketing companies can play a large role.