Because of the recent economic downturn, business marketing nowadays, especially for small to medium-sized businesses, have mostly shifted from traditional advertising (print, radio, TV) to Internet-based marketing campaigns. It’s usually the big corporations now who can afford high budget, high-profile traditional advertising campaigns.
But taking one’s marketing to the Internet means you must always be on top of current Internet trends-you must know where in the Internet your prospective clients are hanging out. And the hottest Internet hangouts for people these days are the social media sites-like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Google+. If you don’t go where the fish hang out, you won’t catch any.
If you have a business website, the answer to the title question would almost certainly be YES. Unless you don’t like people or don’t like to cultivate public connections with future prospects.
Yes, it is possible for a business website not to have a social media component like it’s possible for a drag-racing car not to have nitro. But if you’re in a race where your competition all have nitro buttons on their dashboards, would you want to go without one?
That’s why there are Facebook ‘like’ buttons, or Twitter ‘tweet’ buttons, or LinkedIn or YouTube ‘share’ buttons or Google+ ‘+1’ buttons on almost every blog and business website you can find today.
Social media buttons allow people who like your website/products to share your website with people they think can benefit from your products-with just a click, without having to call their friends one by one and telling them the good news. Social media profiles are quick to implement and cheap to set up (they’re free). And results come in fast.
However, there is a price to pay for social engagement. Before you go social, be sure your website is in great shape-has great content and is enjoyable to use. No amount of social media can make up for a content-poor, hard-to-navigate website.
Real social engagement will also take from your busy time-adding contacts/friends, replying to them and chatting with them and posting frequent updates and blogs, being nice and sincere-on top of running your business. Others hire people to maintain social engagement for them but there’s no substitute for an actual business owner (who knows the real ropes) to engage customers with replies and status posts oozing with authority and genuineness coming from years of insider experience.
Other people jump into the social media bandwagon without being adequately prepared for it. Their social media accounts are not updated, engagement is shallow and half-hearted-leading to people’s distrust. If you get into social media, make sure you do it right, not just because everyone else is doing it.
“Well, all that is fine and dandy,” you say, “but is there any business or industry where social media is a no-no?” Yes-yes. Industries where only word-of-mouth and secrecy are key. Like, if you’re a professional assassin, or you have an Amazon-like site like this, you wouldn’t want people at your back, especially the authorities. All other websites please prepare to get social. Now.