Small businesses can no longer solely rely on traditional marketing campaigns to ensure their success. The market is a fierce environment and whatever your niche is, you will have to face vicious competition. However, the ultimate marketing goal remains the same. You want your company to get exposed to the right kind of audience, in a fast and cost-effective way.
This is where social media can play a decisive role because unlike conventional marketing campaigns, it can be significantly cheaper to pull off. This form of marketing – although quite hard to fully master – has really simple dynamics. It aims to gain and control online traffic and redirect it to the company’s website by the use of social network tools, which create more interest on current and potential clients and ultimately increase the size of total revenues.
But with thousands of similar businesses roaming around the web, it would seem rather difficult to stand out from the crowd, especially when you’re just starting out. Don’t worry, though, great social media marketing campaigns need to follow one cardinal rule in order to be effective. Absolutely every piece of content released online has to be relevant, SEO-ready, and properly distributed to the best audience type.
Understanding Social Media Marketing Dynamics
With proper aim, every piece of content has the potential to go trending, and maybe even viral, so it’s crucial to understand these three major tools used in social media marketing campaigns. Social networks, COBRAs, and eWOMs.
Social networks are self-explanatory. They include all these sites where we frequently hang out and connect with other people. Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Instagram, Yelp, Pinterest, you name it. This is why absolutely all small businesses should have a strong online presence and some serious community managers.
COBRAs refer to all Consumers’ Online Brand Related Activities and here are some great examples. Whenever you’re on Twitter and you tweet your opinions or feelings towards a specific brand and hashtag them, that’s COBRA. Or when you’re on Instagram and upload a picture of your breakfast or lunch, followed by some hashtags that include the place you are at, and the brands you’re consuming, those posts are COBRAs as well.
eWOMs work slightly different, they are all forms of Electronic Word of Mouth or simply put, reviews. Yelp, Foursquare, or any app or website where customers can leave their personal reviews can also impact your small business. With a good review, you create a positive feeling and free online advertising. A negative review, however, could harm your company’s reputation.
All these tools are double-edged swords. They can both greatly benefit your company, or potentially impair your growth. In this way, they work exactly the same as traditional marketing campaigns.
How Can my Business Benefit?
The above-mentioned tools are incredibly powerful, but the keystone of success is to foster a positive engagement with your audience. Make your customers interact with your company in every possible way. Suppose you have a bar, then offer a free drink for every unique Foursquare check-in or Facebook fan page like. A give-away dinner for one lucky customer amongst everybody who shared a particular post earlier that day. There are countless opportunities to generate a good sentiment by using social media marketing.
The truth is, regardless the size of your business, you can benefit from the use of social media. It doesn’t matter if you’re a huge retail store like Walmart or a mom and pop hardware store, an online trading platform tycoon like CMC Markets or a small financial advisor. In this globalized world, where everybody is seamlessly connected to each other, social media has become fundamental in the rise of new and existing companies.