Last week, I attended The POWER of Social Media presented by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Greater Kansas City in partnership with Verizon. The intent of the workshop was to help business owners understand how a presence on social media can help their businesses. Aside from the content of the workshop, what I was most impressed by were the sponsoring groups. Both large service providers and civic interest groups know that social media can greatly amplify customer reach for small business.
Social media is a fast, relatively inexpensive way to attract new customers. Social media can also help you develop a stronger voice for your brand. The world of social is growing and quickly changing, as are consumer expectations; therefore, a morning workshop can’t give you the magic formula for success. I was able to takeaway a framework of how to get started in social:
- Determine your purpose – What are you trying to accomplish? Getting into the social realm because your competitors are isn’t the right reason. Understanding that touchstone gives you direction and helps make decisions down the road much easier.
- Pick a channel (for now) – Social is big. Really, really big. Decide which one or two makes sense as a starting point. Determining your purpose will help guide this decision, i.e. what you want to do makes it easier to decide how to do it. Do you want a place to inform customers about your store? Your specials? A website is a great place for that. Do you want to interact with your customers? Facebook makes it easy.
- Make a budget – While many sites setups are no cost, getting the most out of them may require a little investment. Promoted Facebook posts or tweets, Google AdWords, and your own website may be worth an expenditure to get customers in the store. Social media is fun but for a business, it is just like anything else on your Profit and Loss statement. Understand what you are willing to expend so you can see your Return on Investment.
- Set reasonable expectations – Rome wasn’t built in a day, your social media following won’t grow overnight. Remember the purpose you determined in Step 1? Focus on it, do it well, and your customers will start to notice. Oh, about that ROI thing…social is a newer type of marketing; it doesn’t have the same type of return a coupon does. Think of it as digital customer service. Can you say that providing good customer service makes a customer spend X more dollars? No. But you know that customer service makes a difference. Social is the same way.
The POWER of Social Media was a great way to hear about starting out on social. They provided a springboard that any business owner can use to jump into the pool. But I will add for the AWG Family:
- Ask for help – The AWG Marketing Department exists to help you make the most our your presence online and in your store. Have questions about the right channel? Finding your voice? How to get the most out of your website? We’re here for you, and we’re just a click away.