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Risks of Over-Focusing on Social Media Marketing
This is a guest article by Jenny Hahn, who writes about why you shouldn’t lose touch with real world marketing efforts in favor of online or social media marketing.
If you’re a small business owner struggling to get one foot in the door and grab a bite of the market, chances are you’ve already been bombarded with offers and advice about using the internet and the social media to increase your public presence and help your business distinguish itself among stiff competition.
Perhaps you followed through on the advice. Perhaps you did all the things you were told you should do, but the end results still didn’t amount to much. Perhaps now you’re sitting here scratching your head and asking yourself what you did wrong. Let’s try and find out.
Were you cheated by these experts? Well, no. Your online presence – especially your ability to network and capture the public attention through social media – could play a significant role in the success of your business venture. Devoting your time to building up your online profile is by no means a bad thing. Devoting all of your time to the said task, however, is a drastic step that could give you the desired results in one aspect of your business, but the time you spend away from other aspects of your business will almost certainly prove itself detrimental to your overall success. Here are a few common mistakes entrepreneurs make when over-focusing on social media and their online presence.
Avoiding the more traditional channels
The rapid technological advances of the past two decades have dramatically changed the media outlook. The rise of internet resulted in traditional media losing large chunks of its audience (check out this infographic to see just how dramatic the process was). However, even though it is obvious that things are moving in a certain direction, the traditional marketing channels still play a significant role in getting your message across. Despite what you might think, not everyone is online at all times, and a large percentage of people still only know “viral” in its medical context. Unless your business is specifically aimed at a younger target audience, you should combine online marketing with its more traditional counterparts.
Addressing the wrong target group
Again, unless you’re catering to a young, tech-savvy audience, your online presence and the degree to which you will focus on it should be determined by the nature of your business. To use extreme examples, you should pay much more attention to online and social media campaigns if you’re running a tech gear business than if you were running an elderly care business. For some age groups, or social groups, some other ways of marketing might be more appropriate and, ultimately, more effective. Research your target clientele and use the gathered information to formulate a marketing strategy.
Forgetting the “real world”
The main appeal of internet as a means of raising your media presence is that it’s free. Or is it? Even if you’re not paying for banner adds online or other ways of marketing, chances of having a successful social media campaign without hiring marketing specialists, SEO experts and other online wizards are fairly slim. And since you’re already paying, you might consider paying for “real life” objects as well. Promotional items and corporate gifts are a great way to show the public that you matter, plus everyone likes free stuff! You can also try to be a bit creative in designing your promotional items and go for something other than the tried and true pen and notebook combo. There are plenty of options out there, from USB sticks and laser pointers, all the way to promotional drink bottles , and we are sure you can find something that tickles your fancy.
Losing track of your real work
Even if you’re a natural born online wiz who has left the competition choking in his dust and conquered the local (or global) online community, it still won’t do you much good if your product or your service is subpar to your competitors. Marketing is nothing more than shiny bow wrapped around your product – it may draw the eye, but if the essence is lacking your potential clients will move on to something better. Your two main concerns should be the quality of your product and customer support – everything else can significantly help raise the awareness of your product, but it won’t make the product for you.
All of this is not to say that you should avoid online and social media marketing. On the contrary! The importance of using internet for promotional purposes is so obvious it should go without saying. However, it is not the be-all and end-all of marketing. You should look at all the aspects of your business and then formulate a promotional strategy you feel will be the most effective. Different things work for different businesses, and you should do your research instead of taking the “universal” rules for granted.