As you are well aware, social media now has a major impact on the daily life of most Americans. Whether it is Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, etc. the reality is people are using it and they rely on it. As this phenomenon has occurred so to has the growth of Social Marketing as an emphasis for businesses. Businesses of all sizes and in all industries are asking how they can take advantage of the social media storm. As the marketing manager for Akin, Doherty, Klein & Feuge, P.C. (ADKF) I receive numerous calls and emails each week from companies and organizations looking to educate or sell their services in regard to how to utilize social marketing. What is a company or organization to do? First, let me be clear, branding your business or organization is critical. No matter what your industry or what your size, the reality is a marketing budget is a must. The problem businesses face is how to spend marketing dollars and what is most effective for producing genuine leads or growth? Unfortunately in this short article I cannot endeavor to answer those questions specifically for you; however, I am glad to offer some general advice. Every business, location, and industry is unique with different marketing approaches having varying impacts. My advice is to (1) recognize the need to market yourself and (2) investigate which forms of branding will have the greatest impact for your particular clientele. With that said, it is likely all business and organizations can benefit from some amount of social marketing. By the end of 2013, it is estimated that there will be more mobile devices on earth than people, which leads us to believe social media is not going away anytime soon. As people continue to rely more on mobility and the devices that enable that mobility, an environment is produced that feeds into the social media craze. As mobile device usage continues to climb so too does your company’s need to be easily accessible and available through social media formats and mobile enabled resources. For example, it is becoming more important to have a mobile website enabled; by the year 2016 it is estimated mobile searches will generate 27.8 billion more queries than desktop searches. The general rule of thumb is to choose which social media formats to use, develop a plan for consistency and content, direct it to your audience and their questions, follow through with your plan, and evaluate regularly. The growing irony for many individuals and business is actually how social media can be so antisocial. One of the great challenges as you discover a marketing balance that fits your business and industry is how to put the social in your marketing. It is my belief that in most situations your social marketing will not ultimately make or break your business, or at least not make as large an impact, as whether or not your business remains social with your targeted clientele. As such it is important for you to ask some important questions while you develop or adjust your marketing plan.
- Who is your target audience?
- How is your target audience most likely to respond to and interact with you?
- How does your business separate itself from the competition?
- How can you move from being an option to being the option for your target audience?
- What leads your target audience to continue to do business with you?
- How can you gain a trust-based relationship with your target audience?
As you take time to answer these types of questions it is very likely that little of your response will be related to social marketing or other forms of branding. As you look to separate yourself in a busy and cluttered world it is important not to forget proven “old school” strategies. The irony is those who maintain some “old school” strategies such as face-time with clients and prospects, exceptional work ethic, being on time to meetings, meeting deadlines, community involvement, community service, consistency, verbal communication, and good listening skills separate themselves in our social/mobile world. We are all in some form or fashion selling ourselves, our business, our services, and/or our products. As such it is important to remember to be personally social as well as technologically social in your approach. At Akin, Doherty, Klein & Feuge, P.C. we have twenty-two years of providing exceptional personal service to our clients which starts from the top with our partners. While it might seem odd for an Accounting Firm to communicate about marketing, we have learned a thing or two over the years. If we can assist you with accounting services or business consulting (even some marketing advice) please contact our office and we will be glad to assist you with exceptional personal (social) service.