I often find myself defending the effectiveness of social media as a viable marketing tool. Allow me this opportunity to say that social media is one of the most cost effective marketing tools ever. I believe that the disconnect comes from the fact that many people have trouble drawing the line between personal social media use and effective business use.
Social media evangelists often say that it is “all about the conversation,” which is undoubtedly true, but it’s important to note that this does not necessarily mean just any conversation. The important thing to learn with social media is that there are easy, effective, and repeatable steps you can take to grow your social networks to include more people interested in your products and services, and that there are efficient ways to seek out the conversations about your industry, where you can communicate with potential customers and business partners.
The key is to get into a cycle of focused growth and targeted communication that drivers visitors to your products and services, while also enhancing your personal relationship with existing and potential clients. This cannot happen if you simply push sales pitches onto your social media outlets. People will tune you out and likely lose respect for your brand. On the other hand, if you provide useful content on your social networks and interesting and positive interaction on the related conversations you will build consumer confidence in your brand and products, which leads directly to sales and positive word of mouth.