For many business owners, the lure of social media is hard to resist. It offers the ability to reach and engage their market on their own terms, to promote their products and services, and the freedom to do it all from the kitchen table or smart phone. And the best part is that it’s free. Or is it? Here are five potential hidden costs resulting from social media marketing that could be causing your business to lose profits and customers.
- Time. Depending on the network (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.), you may need to post new material a few times a week or a few times a day. And it needs to be fresh, timely and relevant. This can take a significant amount of time to not only create, but to research. Could your time be better spent on alternate activities such as meeting new people or working the phone?
- Money. The organic reach of a Facebook business post is less than 1 percent. And many of the networks are making it difficult to be seen without paying to promote your post. What was once free, could now cost you hundreds of dollars – or more – a month. So in addition to tracking your analytics, try to create campaigns that offer specific deals and promotions. This will allow you to better measure results by tracking sales.
- Reputation. Too often, the social media line between business and personal gets blurred. From offering product advice to posting pictures of pets and sharing political views, business owners can quickly polarize their online community. Try to only make posts that deliver value, ideas, and positivity as they relate to your market and industry.
- Resources. Social media should be viewed as just one tool in your marketing toolbox. And assuming you’re open to other campaigns such as direct mail, print ads, and trade shows, you’ll need to budget for time and money. Participating in too many types of media will only lead to unfocused campaigns, wasted money, and lots of stress. Find out what works and stick to it.
- Focus. Social media stopped being social a long time ago. For business, it is now simply about being seen by the right people and deciding what platform does it best. Knowing who your customers are and what kind of media they use is key to getting the most out of any marketing campaign – through social media or conventional media. When you understand who your customers are, what they want to hear, and through what channels, you will then be able to create a more relevant and effective campaign.
Marc Gordon is a recognized marketing expert, speaker and strategist. His articles appear in over 200 publications worldwide. Visit marcgordon.ca or his online show at marctv.net for more business tips.