Samantha Noble, Marketing Manager
Admitting you have a problem is the first step. I had a dream about social media. I would not go so far as to say I am addicted to this new age networking, but it is a strong possibility. For those of you out there who know what I am talking about, you are not alone.
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, POS Huddle, Digg, BigTent, Cyworld, Avatars United, Eons.com, delicious <Insert a gazillion more options here>. Literally, there are social networking groups for virtually EVERYTHING. How does one pick and choose, and what is the best for you?
Finding the right social media strategy is difficult. For my personal use, I stick to facebook, twitter, and LinkedIn. I like these tools the most because this is the best way to connect with my friends, family, and colleagues. My ultimate goal with social networking is to connect with people I am interested in hearing from, so it is important to find sites that mirror this objective.
Deciding on social networking mediums for your business should be a similar process. Where are your prospects and customers? What is the best way to “join the conversation” with people in your industry? I don’t have all the answers as I have much to learn. Yet, I do know that our target marketing consists of grocery, hospitality, and retail chain stores. I also know that our prospects and customers are on twitter, facebook, and LinkedIn. I suggest to you, before diving head first into 20 different social networking sites, ask yourself first, who is our target audience and how do we break into their network?
Aside from reading up on social media, I make an effort to attend events and webinars. Recently, I attended an American Marketing Association (AMA) webinar entitled Cracking the Code: Advanced Social Media Strategies. A number of great presenters including Greg Verdino (@gregverdino) and Mike Volpe (@mvolpe) presented on topics such as “Getting Big Results by Thinking and Acting Small” and “Integrating social media into your marketing plan.” I believe events like this are extremely valuable, and with new trends emerging daily, it is important for marketing personnel to be well informed.
Retail Tech is a small company in size, but our customer reach is infinite. There are many companies who sell POS equipment worldwide which is why branding is so important. Social media allows us to get our name out in the industry and remain top-of-mind for when people need us. Does this sound familiar to your business model? Most likely, if you are a small company, your main marketing goal is to get people to notice you. I don’t know about you, but I will do anything to deter my boss from making me stand on a street corner as the Retail Tech mascot (not that we have one, but you get my point…).
Every organization has marketing goals. Business to business goals are often different than business to consumer. Yet, it is important to remember with B2B, there is still a real person making purchasing decisions. A real person is also updating their social media. Your customers will read what you write, whether they work for a multi-billion dollar organization, or a small point-of-sale company. They are interested in what you have to say. I think this is one of the most important things to remember.
I will leave you with this, create a social media strategy. Write down goals, objectives toward reaching them, content schedules, and who you are trying to target through the medium. This takes time, but it is well worth it. You wouldn’t do a lead generation campaign without setting any goals first, right? If you answered yes to that question, maybe you should consider another career. To the rest of you marketing people, get social!