The Can and Can’ts of Social Media

There is much more to social media than just building up Twitter hype. Nowadays, businesses may be excited to implement a new social media marketing plan, but have unrealistic expectations of what it can really do. Like anything else, you can’t expect it to help bring you success if you don’t put in enough time and effort. Here’s a look at what social media can and can’t do for your business:

What It Can Do

  • Target your audience: If you’re looking into running ads on Facebook or MySpace, these two sites allow you to target specific demographics of your audience. This will be helpful in identifying your goals, as you can reach users by age, location, interests etc.
  • Improve customer interaction: On the surface, the point of social media profiles is to be social. You’ll want these connections to translate into something deeper but you can’t unless you can improve customer involvement. Social media allows you to do so by consistently involving the audience via blog posts, Tweets, and status updates.
  • Keep customers informed: Awhile ago, Bausch + Lomb recalled their contact solution because it was linked to eye infections. As a recipient of their newsletter, I got an email about the recall and a coupon for a new (untainted) product. Luckily, no eye infection for me! Social media can help with damage control just as well as it’s used to announce local events or new products.

What It Can’t Do

  • Have a short-term mindset: Your marketing plan consists of ongoing efforts, so why wouldn’t your social media campaign? Many people make the mistake by neglecting their social media profiles over time. Social media requires the three C’s: consistence, commitment, and creativity.
  • Replace your entire marketing plan: Although it’s successful for very few companies, a marketing plan solely based on social media is not realistic. Instead of looking at social media to replace your marketing plan, think of it as an additional tool you can use to complement your more traditional strategies.
  • Guarantee success: You may be popular on Twitter, but what does it really mean? You can’t guarantee success on any social media site if you don’t tie it back to your goals – this may be increased visits, clicks, purchases etc. Being popular doesn’t mean that you’re successful, but it can help!

How To Connect on Twitter

Your Plan for Victory
When it comes to your online marketing plan, there is no one route that will guarantee your success. The hard part comes with analyzing your brand and how you want to portray yourself to your audience. Luckily, Twitter and social media internet marketing allows you to have better control of your online reputation. One of the hardest obstacles a business faces is getting new customers and Twitter can help you get started.

A Better Way to Circulate

Don’t underestimate the power of a coupon! Direct mailing and printouts can be costly nowadays, but there are alternatives. In this example, a local chain restaurant more than doubled their foot traffic by advertising a $3 burrito on Twitter. Whereas they usually get 350 customers come in with the coupon, they got an influx of 900 customers when they turned to Twitter.

Find Relevant Followers

If you’re a local business with a physical location, you’ll want followers who are from your surrounding areas. Have more followers is great, but you’ll gain more from customers that are more likely to frequent your business. You can use tools like Mr.Tweet to join relevant communities and connect with others. Whether you’re into psychology or politics, there’s a place for that. Don’t be afraid to use Twitter’s trending topics and to participate in conversation. You can also search hashtags (#) to look at what others are saying about a particular topic. If you like something someone is saying, check out their profile. Once you follow them, you can initiate conversation and they may do the same to you.

Get the Right Attention
We’ve all heard about Kevin Smith’s recent fat fiasco. Not all of us will face a situation of this capacity, but it’s interesting to see how things played out. Twitter is good for damage control, but you can get the right attention too. If you’re an expert in your field, why not start some Q&A? Maybe you do taxes or know some good cooking tips. Your knowledge will benefit your followers and they’ll trust you. Or maybe, you’re looking for new employees. Twitter is a great way to give a shout out to open positions and find people in your relevant field.

It’s Not Just Twitter
If Twitter doesn’t work out for you, don’t fret. There are other social platforms that you can try. Facebook, WordPress and even MySpace works wonders. My hairdresser gets great business from their MySpace and Yelp page. She goes on to share that they continue to get more customers each month! If you haven’t gotten started yet, what’s there to lose? As the old saying goes, “You`ll never know unless you try”.

Do You Read Other Blogs?

With your busy schedule, you may already have a hard time finding a spare moment to crank out some blog posts. Do you take the time to read any other blogs in your leisure? Browsing blogs doesn’t have to be a time-waster and there’s actually a lot you can learn. If you live on the internet like I do, you’ll know why you should read other blogs:

1) Get ideas. Like anything else, blogs come in three different categories: the good, the bad and the ugly. Although you want to stick with the good ones, you can learn from the horrible ones. Reading other relevant blogs will help you keep up to date with current topics. Don’t have a list of favorite blogs? No problem. You can always browse sites like AllTop that aggregate the most interest blog topics. Sometimes, I also just like to surf tags on WordPress.

2) Make connections. Maybe your blog focuses on a niche topic. By reading other blogs, you can make friends with other relevant bloggers. Once you exchange comments, you can add them to your blog roll and hopefully, they’ll do the same. Link exchange is great and you can get more readers.

3) It’s fun! Feel like killing some time on your lunch break? Instead of browsing YouTube for some videos, why not browse some fun blogs? Blogs and tumblelog can be fun and give you a much needed break. Now, sit back and de-stress by reading other people’s work-related hell.