I love the first part of the new year. It feels like a reboot, a chance to shift things and redefine your goals, personally and professionally. In marketing your business for 2014, that means aligning your objectives and designing a strategy that ultimately generates traffic, leads and sales. Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, social media has taken its well-deserved place as one of the crucial components of your marketing plan.
Investing time and resources into social media marketing and content strategy was something I definitely recommended before this new year, but now that we’re into 2014, the tipping point from “should have” to “must have” has happened and you no longer have the luxury of waiting to see what everyone else is doing.
Many businesses have come to terms with integrating their social media efforts within their organization and those who have see the impact of social media on referral traffic and revenue. We’re seeing a move away from assigning social media tasks to existing untrained employees and replacing that ineffective strategy with the hiring of a social media strategist or a full-time marketing manager.
Social Media has very real and measurable benefits. There’s no longer the argument that it’s a fad or a waste of time. If you’re not seeing results, you’re doing it wrong. Many dealers I see do not invest the time, effort or budget required to succeed and then sit back and say, “Social media doesn’t work.”
Why Invest in Social Media?
The benefits of social media are many. Here are a few of my experiences over the last 5 years:
- Increased brand awareness
- Gives your business an organic, human feel
- Differentiates your business from thousands of others
- Allows you to tune in to what’s being said about your business
- Facilitates word-of-mouth marketing
- Gives you a medium through which to communicate with your customers & prospects
- Increases customer loyalty
- Builds consumer trust
- Engages the customer long before they’re in the market to buy
- Develops warmer leads
Where to Invest in Social Media
When you’ve made the decision to invest in social media, it’s difficult to know where to devote your efforts. To find out, you must first ask yourself this question:
Where does my ideal customer spend their time?
Social is a very new medium and it’s best to work with a content strategy coach first to help you identify where your customer spends their time and how you should ultimately approach them with content. For dealerships, Facebook is the clear first choice simply because it’s the mac daddy of all the platforms. Once your content strategy is in place, then you can venture out into other networks like Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and certainly your Blog.
What to Invest in Social Media
Many people think social media is free. Of course the real estate is, it’s designed that way. They want users to spend time there so their likes and dislikes can be tracked. In the case of Facebook, this gathering of consumers’ preferences has created very valuable ads platform for marketers. Being able to micro-target users is not only efficient but very cost-effective.
These are the areas where you’ll need a financial investment for social media:
- Coaching for marketing manager
- Training of staff
- Design work
- Advertising budget
Investment in Social Media is a Necessity, Not a Luxury
Do you really want your competitor to have the upper hand? The migration to online marketing has been happening for some time now and social is where you need to commit your time and resources. What are you waiting for? Invest in social media and get your business on track for 2014.