Experts have scoffed at social media saying it isn’t the marketing tool it’s cracked up to be. But one expert says it is “imperative” for businesses to incorporate social media into their marketing plan.
Social media coach Natalie Alaimo from the Gold Coast, dismissed a survey recently posted on popular media and marketing website mUmBRELLA.
The survey of chief marketing officers in Australia and New Zealand showed they don’t rate social media as the up and coming marketing tool all the hype would have us believe it to be.
Only 12% of survey participants said social media expertise was required to be successful in their roles as CMOs over the next three to five years.
But Ms Alaimo says that in 2011, businesses can’t afford to overlook this cost-effective marketing tool.
“More and more people are using the internet on their mobile phones and within a few seconds can write a glowing or damaging review on your business before they have left your office or location,” Ms Alaimo said.
Ms Alaimo believes social media can improve business function – without huge costs.
“The great advantage for small business owners is that you don’t need a huge capital outlay to get started and you have a really great opportunity to compete with the big boys,” she said.
“As we all get more and more time poor, social media allows us to leverage our networking and marketing time. We are able to share a message from one to many and then build one-on-one relationships when someone interacts back with us.”
When determining what social media outlet will work best for you, Natalie says you really need to know your target market.
“Social media takes into effect over 16 different areas from online gaming, forums to the more commonly known ones such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. It’s also important to have your own website or blog and a regular newsletter.”
But these social media tools don’t sell themselves. Ms Alaimo has identified five key criteria for maintaining a successful media platform.
1. Knowing your target market
2. Being on a platform where that market is
3. Building relationships
4. Creating engaging content
5. Understanding your sales funnel so you have an end goal for your social media followers, e.g. to sign up for a newsletter
Ms Alaimo recognises that there is uncertainty around the privacy of social media, but said that was due to a lack of understanding of how to make sure privacy settings are set correctly.
“Remember the internet is written in pen, not pencil, so think before you post information and social media is mainly about positive information, don’t use it as an open forum to air your dirty laundry,” she said.
Natalie Alaimo works as a social media coach for women in small business. You can read more of her social media tips at http://nataliealaimo.com/