Many marketing and sales professionals admit that attention to business social media outreach tends to wane when times are busy. With so many marketers wearing numerous hats within small businesses, it’s no wonder that social media can become neglected when other duties call. After all, you can crank out a few, quick posts in no time at all, so it’s easy to push social media to later. Plus, you could argue that employees really should focus on the big-ticket, large expense efforts to ensure organizations are spending wisely. Why narrow your efforts to focus on social outreach, when you can invest in activities with broader reach? Hmmm… these are all good thoughts. Yet, this post will play devil’s advocate and push for consistent, social media efforts for the exact same reasons that it often gets overlooked: simple, cost-effective and targeted.
Simplicity of Social Media
Once you’ve tuned into which social channels work best to reach your target audience, the tools themselves aren’t overly complicated. With Google at your fingertips, there’s no excuse for not learning how to use Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn or any of the other social tools specifically for business. Of course, you should have a marketing strategy, but that strategy should be something so front and center in your organization, that creating social content that ties into the marketing strategy doesn’t require a Ph.D. If you prefer learning by sitting down and reading an old fashioned book, try LinkedIn Riches for great insight on maximizing that tool in a professional domain.
Cost Effectiveness of Social Media
Social media remains the lowest-cost form of advertising currently available. It’s the only way to reach 7,000 people for only $20. (Those figures are from one of our actual clients.) When you compare these small costs with the heavy costs of traditional advertising (TV and radio, for instance), it makes sense to reach out to prospects through social channels.
“In general, advertising on social media platforms averages a cost of around $2.50 per 1000 viewers,” according to Social Vantage. Whereas the costs to draft, produce and place TV or radio commercials can cost thousands to millions of dollars. The cost and reach of TV and radio advertising certainly depend on your market but social advertising offers a better return on the investment.
Targeted Social Outreach
Considering most Americans won’t drive more than 20 minutes to visit a business, targeting your advertising dollars in your backyard makes a lot of sense. For instance, in Facebook, here are some of the attributes that you can use to target your ideal customers:
- Location – meaning which city and sometimes even neighborhoods they live or work in
- Demographics (community and social services), interests (dining out and Mexican cuisine) and behaviors (food and restaurant page admins)
In Facebook advertising, you can even see the potential audience reach and if your audience is too broad, too specific or just right.
When it comes to targeting, social media also presents an easy way to interact with customers and prospects. If you think you don’t have enough time to interact with people online, try setting aside 15 minutes once a day for one week and see how it works. A good place to start in Facebook is by looking at your Notifications, seeing how people have reacted with your page and then inviting them to like your page. In LinkedIn, reply to anyone who contacted your business through Messaging and seems like a likely prospect. Also, review the Notifications tab to see how people commented and shared your company’s posts or mentioned your business in a post of their own. Start small but be diligent to reap measurable rewards.
While all the benefits of social media advertising are too many to cover in this post, additional advantages certainly include trackability, shareability and localized/personalized content delivery. Perhaps the easy, affordable and targeted social media really is a great method of advertising for businesses.