Trying to get the word out about your business without using social media marketing is like trying to sell ice cream without cones. You may get a little interest from customers, but eventually they’re going to go elsewhere. Any marketing strategy you implement needs to use several fronts, just like that ice cream needs a cone, some sprinkles and a cherry on top.
Exactly what kind of cross-platform marketing is right for your business depends on what kind of business you’re running and what kinds of customers you’re trying to attract. While a national restaurant chain obviously has different needs from a local food truck, an online gourmet store would also require a drastically different marketing plan.
The stage of your business will also alter how you use online and print media. Are you new and trying to get your first customers? A neighborhood fixture trying to retain the customer base you already have? Or a successful small business looking to jump to the next phase of development? To determine what your best marketing plan will be, you need to understand their different uses.
Online Marketing: Your Website
Your website is likely your number one communication tool with your customers and potential clients. Think of your website as not just your storefront but also your salesman. Make sure it is well designed and easy to use. Keep your tagline simple, not clever. Use keywords for search engine optimization purposes, but don’t ruin your content with it. Incorporate beautiful images to keep the visitor’s interest piqued.
Social Media: Facebook
Facebook is best for attracting people to your website, building a relationship of trust with them, and gaining visibility in new crowds. Set up your business’s Facebook page with an eye towards coming across as a human being – not a business. You can do this by using conversational tones in your status updates and commenting on your fans’ feeds. Establish yourself as an expert in your field by sharing valuable information. Don’t push products more than once a week at the most.
Social Media: Twitter
Twitter is another great tool for social media marketing. Make sure you set up a Twitter profile that describes who you are in one line and links back to your website. Then start using it to find the people who need what you are offering and follow them. Many will follow back. Follow friends, celebrities, journalists, comedians – anyone you want! Then start sharing information that is valuable and relevant. Retweet things you like. Have fun with it!
Print media is a tried and true method of gaining attention, but it can be expensive, so make sure it is right for your business. Advertise where your customers will see it – ask yourself if it’s worth the money to buy space in a free newspaper nobody reads. If you are an online store trying to reach a national audience, focus your advertising dollars on national publications. If you’re a local brick-and-mortar shop, national advertising would obviously be a waste of money.
Using Them All Together
Whether you’re using two of these media or all of them, make sure you are getting the most out of your time and money by using them wisely. Don’t send every tweet to show up automatically on your Facebook page. Include your website in your print advertisement, and if you have a Facebook page and a Twitter profile, include that information, too. The most important thing is to keep your message and branding consistent.
[author ] Jake Downs is a freelance writer who contributes marketing and researched based marketing topics.[/author]