Tapping the Social Media Opportunity

Finding your way to a solid and successful marketing strategy is becoming increasingly more difficult simply because there are so many more ways to market your business than ever before. It’s analogous to the advertising industry in the early days of television when the Big Three television networks provided 99 percent of all over-the-air broadcast. But then came cable with hundreds of channel choices and that changed everything in the marketing business.

Social Media is a lot like this. It mostly started with the early innovators of MySpace that led to YouTube and of course, Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin (for business). All just 10 years ago! And these have become the Big Four that everyone looks to when developing their social media programs. However, the reality is there are literally thousands of additional online outlets “Channels” that are useful to many types of businesses that are not associated with the Big Four. Do you know which ones are relevant to your business?

In all likelihood, if you are running a successful business that has never used social media your interest in it is fairly low. On the other hand, if your business is struggling you are probably considering social media and new ways to use it.

Frankly, both of these perspectives are too subjective to make an objective assessment of what is required to help you build your company. And yet, this is often the primary basis for the decision to use or not to use social media. It’s a lot like someone in the early television-only days asking, why would I be interested in cable-tv marketing? Seems ridiculous, doesn’t it. So let’s look at some practical ways you can make social media relevant to your business.

In recent years, many new influences have emerged that have significant power to shape how your customers think about your products, services and your entire company. Here’s a chart that displays those several influences. Find what makes sense for your company.

The primary strategic considerations that need to be determined are the different ways that social media has changed how customers find and evaluate information on the brands they purchase. A lot has to do with the quality of the product, of course, but that’s what gets you into the market. From there, it’s how well you can persuade your target customers to purchase your brand.

Tom Marin is the managing partner of MarketCues.com and provides corporate and brand strategy to organizations of all sizes. He has an extensive background in the graphic arts, printing, publishing and media industries. Marin is an accredited member of the national and international chapters of the Business Marketing Assn., is a (CBC) certified business communicator and a past marketing chair of the Chicago chapter.

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