SMEs are constantly being encouraged to set up social media platforms for their business, so it’s easy to get caught up in the hype. But is social media all it’s cracked up to be?
What is the actual true cost and value of using it for business? These are all hard questions to answer particularly at this early development stage of social media. What is important to realise, though, is that whether you use it or not, you can’t escape it.
Facebook, as one platform for example, now has enough users to become the third largest country behind China and India. The vast numbers across all platforms make it impossible not to take notice but numbers mean nothing if they are not your target market.
Before delving straight into social media ask yourself some key questions:
- Where is our target market?
- How do we reach them?
- What message do you want to promote?
- What social media platform is best to achieve our aims?
After answering these questions, any business can determine their approach using social media. It is not necessary to be on all platforms. Find the one that you believe will bring the most benefits to your business and use it extensively. Educate yourself, be open to the possibilities and keep learning as the technology changes.
Sometimes there is the impression that social media is the only digital marketing channel available. It is not and social media is not for everyone particularly if your target market is not engaging in it. However, it is still important to learn about it and see if you can utilise, if not now, perhaps in the near future.
Social media is new ground for everyone and the slow painstaking process, effort and resources needed can be challenging. It will take some take to adjust social media with all other business and marketing activities. Only time will tell how successful it is. In the meantime experimenting with social media is the only way forward. There is no right or wrong. So give it a go and see what works for your business.