Know the purpose of social media.

Before you rush headlong into setting up your business Facebook and Twitter accounts and launching a massive business social media campaign, take a moment to think.

Social media is NOT for every business and, even if it is for you, your approach will be more effective if you take the time to ask a few questions of your business before committing resources to social media.

1. Do you understand the Purpose of Social Media Marketing?

There is no point embarking on a social media marketing bonanza without knowing what you want to achieve form it; the end goal will be to increase sales, of course, like any marketing – but social media is a very indirect marketing channel.

If you use traditional “push” marketing on social media you will probably fail; you need to “pull” your clients in to you by providing relevant, informative content and engaging with them on their own terms and in their chosen places.

How prepared are you for that?

2. Is the Back End in Order?

Usually we use social media marketing to drive customers towards a website. Unless that website has a good retention rate and can convert traffic into sales then what’s the purpose of getting traffic?

You need to ensure all your “back end” online systems are in place to guide traffic seamlessly and effectively through the sales process once they land on your site.

How is the usability and navigation of your site? Is your web video all embedded and working? Are your opt-in boxes and auto-responders all in place for capturing leads and communicating with them?

Get this part right BEFORE you start getting serious about Facebook or Twitter!

3. Do you have the Time?

Social media marketing requires ongoing management because communication, engagement and spreading great content are the key ingredients of successfully creating a community.

Are you prepared for answering questions promptly? If you get a question on Twitter from a customer you need to treat it seriously or you could lose them.

This is just one example of the commitment it will take – creating content for your visitors will take even more time and resources.

4. How will you Measure ROI?

Any marketing campaign needs measuring tools in place to gauge its success. How will you measure the effectiveness of your social media presence?

There are tools such as Google Analytics that can show you where your website traffic is originating, but measuring the effect on your branding and online reputation, for instance, is harder to gauge.

5. Are you just doing it because of the Buzz?

If you are planning a business social media push because you’ve heard the buzz and assume that’s what you SHOULD be doing, then hold fire.

This is not a good reason; you need to understand what it is, the opportunities it provides and all the drawbacks before deciding if it’s the right approach at the right time for your business; there may be other priorities!

There is a lot of marketing advice that tends to “jump on the bandwagon”; you’ll find in the Competition Crusher workshop at that you get real, practical tips on all aspects of online marketing, based on practical experience and know-how rather than hype!

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