Well if you said you thought free advertising was a waste of time, then social media is not for you. The problem is not that social media isn’t a great marketing tool, it’s that social media is not one thing. In its many forms, there is not a “one size fits all”.
The President of the United States uses Twitter because he wants his message to go directly to the American people without a news filter. That might be a good social media tool for him but may not be right for someone selling handmade toys. There is also a burgeoning blogosphere but that may only be the right social media tool for an expert in their field.
As an example, if you make delicious cheese crackers that are a perfect appetizer or snack but your existing market is just specialty food stores in a 100-mile radius from your manufacturing facility, then the web-based sales may be just what you need to increase sales and get the attention of larger food retailers to convince them to carry your product. A great website, attention to keywords for web placement and a good IT person to help you design online buying options would be a great use of social media. Combine that with a Facebook page and asking every friend you have ever known and all of your existing customers to “Like” your page will move you into new territory.
However, if you have a service or product that is unique or has a limited market then the above scenario is not for you. Let’s say you make a sensor that is used in specific applications. You are already aware of your market and have an established track record of repeat sales with good performance. Well,
what happens if a competitor comes into the market? If you use social media to position your business as not only the market leader but your company as experts in the field, chances are you can ward off the competition until you can fully analyze the competitive product and determine if there is real competition or not. You can do this by establishing a blog and/or use your in-house experts/design team to write about your product and its uses and why it is so exceptional. This would be targeted to publications or other bloggers that write about businesses that use your product. By also establishing this social media channel, you can highlight new product developments or even new products you are launching. Your website can contain news from your company and/or news about your company that others have written.
If you need to be the latest and greatest in your field of specialty then blogging and Tweeting is a constant reminder to everyone reading what you send out. Just remember that immediate presence requires regular attention to adding something new.
With any social media, who you send it to and who sees it is equally as important as the content. Like the product on Facebook example, look at other social media outlets like think tank groups or business specific groups on LinkedIn or other web-based platforms. Make sure your website includes a way to link to other social media like Facebook and LinkedIn so you can easily share content.