Facebook and Twitter: Are they right for your business?

Posted January 27, 2010 by   in Facebook, Marketing Strategy, Social Media

By now I’m sure you’re all too familiar with the words “Facebook” and “Twitter”. It seems one of these social media giants gets coverage once a week by Brian Williams on NBC Nightly News. And like all good Business Owners / Executives, I’m sure you’ve asked the inevitable questions:

Should I be using these tools to market my business?

We suggest the answer to this frequently asked question be a resounding, definite, straightforward, MAYBE!

Let me explain. First let’s start off with explaining that Facebook and Twitter are “social media tools”. Social media appears to be an ambiguous term and there are many different definitions floating around. Our interpretation of social media is web-based technologies used to stimulate social interaction and communication. At the end of the day, Facebook and Twitter are simply “communication tools”, and there are dozens of other “tools” just like them under the social media umbrella.

Now, back to the question at hand: Should I be using these tools to market my business? To answer this question, we refer to our three principles of marketing.

  1. How are you different and why would someone what to buy from you?
  2. Who is your target audience (in most cases, your buying audience)?
  3. How does your target audience prefer to be communicated to?

Answering these three questions is the first step to every marketing initiative, and evaluating an investment into Facebook and Twitter is no different. It is easy to succumb to the peer pressure of Brian Williams and jump right into using Facebook and Twitter, but we are here to tell you….MAYBE!

The marketing principal of “How are You Different” is vitally important, but for this article, we are going to focus more on the “Target Audience” and “Communication Preference” principles.

The biggest attractions to these communication tools seems to be:

1. Everyone else claims they’re doing it, and
2. It’s free…we’ll, kinda

There are a tremendous amount of people, possibly even your target audience, using Facebook and Twitter but you must determine if they are the “right people”. So, you must ask yourself, “Is your target audience on Facebook and/or Twitter?” Both of these tools are Internet based, which means we have a tremendous amount of data to help us answer these questions. Spend some time defining your target audience, and performing research to determine if they are in fact using these either or both of these tools.

This is where the free part comes into question. The tools are free, but there is time required to determine if they are appropriate communication tactics for your business and what your plan is for reaching your target audience. Furthermore, there is time associated with setting up these tools, and actively using them to communicate and participate in conversations with your target audience.

That’s right, having conversations! An important aspect to both Facebook and Twitter is interaction. These are not your traditional one-way broadcast tools like TV or Radio. Those that are your Friends/Fans on Facebook and Followers on Twitter expect to have a virtual conversation with you. If you approach these relationships by just broadcasting information and not interacting, you’ll soon find that no-one is listening!

There is time associated with defining and building the measurement system to evaluate the effectiveness of your social media marketing plan and if you are receiving an appropriate return on investment. There may not be a cost to purchase these tools, but they certainly require planning and strategy along with time to use them properly – and time is money!

So MAYBE! Make sure you address the three principles of marketing and if you conclude that social media marketing is right for your business, spend the time to plan your work and work your plan.
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