One of the major appeals of social media marketing is the ease with which few can reach many at almost no cost. But for many small companies, this can be a fear rather than a blessing. Social media might expand your client base, but it does little to improve productivity to the same degree. While having more business than you can handle is certainly better than not, it is possible overload can harm your business and brand. So how can you make sure social media is working only how you want?
Be honest about what you want
The focus of any social media campaign should increasing user value, but that doesn’t mean you ignore your own needs. If you provide luxury services, be forward about it (and include some price examples so passersby know what they’re getting into). If you only serve local clients, say so. Make sure you know what you want and base your marketing on that.
Niche versus mainstream
Don’t focus on Facebook if your demographics are only a tiny percent of the population. Find niche social networks, forums, and blogs to network with that will help build your small but more valuable community. You can always broaden your reach if you find your current strategy too limited, but it’s much harder to put the internet genie back its bandwidth bottle; even worse would be harming your brand because service suffers under the overload.
Control communication channels
I hate when a company only gives me a generic email (like firstname.lastname@example.org, but I’m the only one, so you know I read it). But deciding the right communication method could be the difference between hours of sorting and a few moments of weeding. If overloads of emails and phone calls really concern you, a contact form can help soften the pressure. You can ask demographic questions to help sort through inquires. And best of all, contact forms will deter more casual inquirers. A great benefit of Twitter or Facebook messaging is you can see many of the sender’s demographics, but turning those into your main communication channel is more effort than its worth.
Change your promotion methods / lower costs
Some of the highest costs related to marketing can be printing and mailing. Moving more of your marketing online, like your catalog, can save tons in printing and add more value by being searchable and more interactive (don’t just turn it into a PDF). Plus, email is free. Free. How’s that for cost-per-prospect?
Remember how I said social media won’t improve productivity? That might be technically true, but the internet can make you more efficient. Depending on your products and services, more and more can be done with technology, helping filter the amount of hands on time required, allowing you to increase your business without significant growth or sacrificing service. From email to e-commerce platforms (like eBay or Amazon, the easiest) are great ways to sell products, for example. Finding the best platforms and strategist, of course, means finding the best value for your users.