This question was put to me on Twitter during the week, but given the 140 character limit on tweets, I decided to write this blog post on the topic instead.
This is the most important question that every business owner would like to have answered before they invest their hard-earned money on a social media campaign. The question is a valid one, but before we could possibly find the answer to the question we postulated above, we need to answer the following questions:
1. Is the Internet infrastructure available?
2. What is the businesses current stage of development?
3. Does the business have a marketing budget?
4. Are your potential customers online?
5. Does the business have the expertise to run a social media campaign?
6. What social media platform is best suited for the product or service?
7. What can be achieved by using Social media marketing?
Is the Internet infrastructure available?
In the majority of first world countries, this question is moot because an internet infrastructure is widely available, there are some exceptions. There are geographical areas in some first world countries, where people are cut off from this type of technology. In third world countries such as Bolivia, the internet infrastructure does not exist, and therefore a social media campaign would not be a viable option.
What is the businesses current stage of development?
An established business will be able to build their social media marketing campaigns on the business relationships they already have with their customers or clients, whereas a business that has just been established will be required to start from a much lower position of power.
Does the business have a marketing budget?
There are no costs in setting up a business profile on any of the social media platforms, but in order to use those social media platforms effectively, a business needs to invest in promoting their online activities through traditional marketing techniques and digital promotion options provided by the social media platform providers such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Are your potential customers online?
This question can only be answered with research, but given that there are up to 1 billion Facebook users, 500 million Twitter profiles and 300 million on LinkedIn, the chances of finding the people who have need of your products and services are quite good.
Does the business have the expertise to run a social media campaign?
If your business does not have the personnel, who are knowledgeable about how social media marketing works? The return on investment will be limited. Social media marketing is not rocket science, but understanding how it works requires time.
What social media platform is best suited for the product or service?
The social media platform you decide to use should be determined by, what is the best fit for your business? Whether you operate in a B2B or a B2C environment, will determine which of the social media platforms is the best fit for your business.
What can be achieved by using Social media marketing?
Social media marketing, like all marketing, is about creating and building relationships with your public’s, it is a brand building exercise, a place where you interact in a social setting with your customers, and it is their choice whether to interact with you or not, because all social media platforms operate on an opt-in basis. Social media platforms are places where you interact with prospects and invite them to the areas of your business, where sales transactions can take place.
*-* So what will be our return on investment from using social media marketing? Given the number of uncontrollable variables involved, answering that question would be nearly impossible as each business will have uniquely different answers to the above questions, but the question you should be asking is,
*“How much will it cost me, if I don’t move with the competition and use Social media marketing?”
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