The Changing Face of Social Media Marketing

The Changing Face of Social Media MarketingBy Dawn Berryman

As a small business owner, you know that social media marketing must be a part of your overall marketing and business plan. But how do you tackle this beast? Four years ago, almost every ‘fan’ your Facebook page had saw your posts in their newsfeeds. Interaction was easy. Engagement happened naturally.

Now what? Marketing your business via social media is becoming more challenging by the day. Not only do you have to spend the time actually planning and writing posts, but you have to spend time researching the newest algorithms and educating yourself on the latest tactics and strategies.
Why does it have to be so difficult? Is it really that necessary that your business have a social media presence? With all of the other things on your to-do list, how can you stay one step ahead? I will say that it isn’t as easy as it used to be; difficult even. However, I will also say it’s necessary.

Here are a few ways in which the social media scene has changed; and what to do about it.

Facebook Paid Advertising:

It seems as though Facebook wants paid for every person that sees your latest status update or photo. That’s a stark contrast to when business pages first came out and the site didn’t even offer advertising as an option. Now, you can put an ad on the sidebar to attract new ‘likers’, boost your latest status update or even promote a coupon or deal. There are many ways to advertise on Facebook and it can get real expensive, real fast.

So, what do you do?

Be consistent. Keep posting, keep interacting. Keep your audience in mind at all times and post things that will interest them. Ask questions and engage them in what’s going on. Post photos and links periodically. Be sure to maintain your voice and your messaging. Always be personable and approachable. And, although I don’t recommend a massive amount of paid advertising, placing some ads at strategic intervals can be beneficial. Remember, the old adage quality over quantity really does apply to Facebook marketing.

Twitter for Business:

Twitter has also joined the paid adverting game, launching Twitter for business. It has some great features. Like Facebook, you can promote your entire account, or just specific tweets. You can target specific groups, topics, etc. Also, you set your budget and only pay when interaction happens.

I’m a strong proponent of not putting all of your eggs in one basket, so I think it’s a good idea to give Twitter advertising a shot. Again, try some things, mix up your strategy and see what happens. You may find that you’re not happy with the results and that’s fine. You may only want to pay for advertising on Facebook, or you may decide not to pay for social media promotion period. That’s okay too. Each business must evaluate and execute what is most effective for them. This may be very different than what is effective for someone else.

Instagram, Pinterest, and Google Plus:

Then, there’s the new guys. Social media keeps evolving and there is someone new on the field almost every day it seems. Pinterest, Instagram and Google+ are some of the more notable ones. Who has time to master all these different platforms, plan posts for each, strategically manage audiences, etc.? It can easily become overwhelming, even for the seasoned professional.

I suggest you prioritize. If you see a new platform you like, give it a try. Experiment and see what types of results you get in comparison to your existing efforts. I love Pinterest and Instagram; however, they are definitely image based. If your business offers a service rather than a product, this might not be a good avenue for you. Trial and error will be your best gauge. And, although it is time consuming, there isn’t really any other way to determine what will be most effective for you individually. Make your best educated guess and then test out your hypothesis. If you fall flat on your face, pick yourself up, dust off your pants and try another route.

Dawn Berryman is the founder of MarketMommy.com and Market Mommy:: The Blog, online marketing resources for mom entrepreneurs. Market Mommy shows moms how and where to market their businesses. She holds a B.A. from Indiana University and has worked in the marketing/communications field for more than 11 years. She resides in rural Ohio with her husband and three children. For more information, please see: Market Mommy.

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