Is internet and social media marketing another item on your to do list?
Don’t do it.
The internet, web and social media are no longer something separate that a few people are checking out. They are an integral part of our daily lives, and it is time you made them an integral part of your business. If you look at your internet presence as an add-on to your “real” responsibilities, you will never have enough time for it.
Start by looking at your basic business processes. Customers expect to find out about your products and services, do their pre-sales research, conduct a transaction smoothly and get after sales support. Increasingly, they expect to find out this information and get answers online. This doesn’t mean there is no human element to these interactions, but you must use technology to meet your customers’ expectations.
Is your product or service complicated? Can you use the web and social media to educate your customers? If you find yourself answering the same questions over and over again, write a blog, take some photos, or produce a video to help explain the answers. Your prospects will be more informed and you will save time answering questions.
Do you have regularly changing specials and events? How will people know? Use email marketing, the web and social media to make sure up-to-date information is always available.
Start mapping out what you do and how you serve customers to identify areas where the process can be streamlined for both your customers and your staff.
5 Takeaways for Integrating the Web and Social Media into Your Daily Business Processes
Your company needs a home on the internet.
You should own that home. Establish a presence on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+ or YouTube, but remember you do not control the content and presentation there. Your own website is key. Search is still the most important way you are found, even for current customers, so make sure that all your social media efforts point people back to your website. See my article on thehub-and-spoke approach to building your web presence.
Mobile and tablet internet use is exploding.
Internet use from mobile devices is expected to surpass that of desktop devices sometime this year (Kissmetrics infographic). If you haven’t updated your website to work on mobile devices, now is the time to do it. Use a responsive design approach and you will not have to maintain and update a separate mobile version of your website.
Have a plan.
Integrate your real-world and online strategies by identifying opportunities to improve customer service, customer relations, the sales process and your own internal procedures.
Have an editorial calendar.
Create overall themes for your content, and organize how you will coordinate that content across the web, social media and in the “real” world. Have a plan by month and include holidays, seasons, and events. You can also feature a different product or service for a given month. Check out this article from Search Engine Watch for more ideas and tools for editorial calendars.
Understand that this is a process.
Start with what you can manage. Monitor your results. Change your business processes for better results. The tools and technologies to do this are available to everyone, not just large organizations with large budgets. The important thing is to start somewhere and to keep at it.