Like social media speakers and experts point out, many organizations want to use social media to promote business, drive awareness and attract new or repeat customers. But as they also note, many organizations that have used it (successfully or otherwise) also know how challenging it can be to leverage the medium’s potential – a challenge you’ll soon learn to overcome with help from this website and its companion resources. But before we get down to the brass tacks of how to make the medium work for you and your brand, let’s begin by talking about what social media is, and isn’t.
The world’s biggest amplifier or cocktail party, depending on how you look at it, social media allows your message and surrounding chatter to spread like wildfire. But while its potential is undeniable (word of mouth is clearly today’s biggest driver of sales, social media’s might has long been proven, and the practice has already been hailed as the new Holy Grail of marketing by Business Insider), it’s also often widely misunderstood, and widely-criticized to the point that it’s actually been called the biggest time-waster on the Web (as suggests Social Media Explorer). Ironically, either can be true. Much depends on your method of approach, whether or not there’s an actual strategy behind how you attempt to connect with your audience, and which tools you elect to use: In other words, how successfully you apply traditional marketing and media principles, yet custom-tailor them to best suit this new medium.
You see, like many forms of customer outreach and communications technology, social media is just one of many implements in your promotional toolbox – and tools are only useful if you know when and where to use them, and how to do so correctly. There’s no sense having an Olympic-size swimming pool if you just want to doggy-paddle, and there’s no use having myriad online accounts (let alone advertising initiatives) or leveraging multiple services if they don’t work in tandem, or worse, send mixed messages.
Similarly, anyone who has paid large amounts to make over their office’s interior design layout, or install a corporate exercise room, will likely quickly raise their hands when asked if these investments in intangibles ever paid off or not. Sometimes, a new look and layout, or commitment to fitness, can do wonders to improve productivity and morale. But as with such initiatives, because the ROI associated with social media campaigns isn’t always directly translatable to sales dollars, benefits can be equally difficult to measure. Without dedication, determination and carefully-applied strategy, these efforts can simply become expensive debits on your business’ balance sheet at the end of the year.
It’s true that making some common mistakes can set your organization back, if only because every victory and misstep can be found online, and tends to live on the Internet permanently. Buzzfeed‘s round-up of 19 epic social media fails, including promotions errantly built on the back of tragic events, features some perfect examples. Holding onto common social media myths – ex: the overnight success, explosive sales, or sudden fame the medium is fabled to generate – can also serve to slow your growth, and provide a drain on resources and morale. But on the other hand, if you apply the right planning, strategy, and execution, social media can also be a powerful and positive force for driving interest, excitement, loyalty and, ultimately, greater returns for your business and brand. In this expert training guide and workbook, we’ll show your organization and brand how to successfully plot, conduct, and capitalize on social campaigns, and transform social media marketing and outreach efforts to be more successful in no time flat.
Worth keeping in mind as you go about the process: As social media speakers and experts (e.g. Social Media Examiner) note, many of the most successful social media stories come from flexible and creative businesses of myriad shapes and sizes – not brand-name, corporate giants. (The publication’s story on Ana White, a homemaker with carpentry skills and 51,000 Facebook fans, is inspiring; Dr. Bob’s Orabrush tongue-brushing video on YouTube that went viral and netted him $1.6 million, along with contracts from Walmart and CVS contracts, equally so.) Bearing this in mind, regardless of the scope of your organization, and whether it’s a for-profit or non-profit entity, it’s clear that investing in social media can lead to great success. Simply browse throughout this website, and its companion guides, to discover how to be more effective at leveraging this burgeoning medium’s potential – and how you can soon follow in these winners’ footsteps.
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