Yesterday, we covered some of the small business trends taking shape for 2013. Here’s what you need to know about the changing online media landscape – which may force you to shift your strategies, by the way – and some of the classic tactics, which will still apply in the new marketing world.
First of all, social media marketing is taking a larger piece of the advertising pie. Although Google Adwords and pay-per-click marketing are still in play, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest marketing have emerged as popular competitors.
Business centers would do well to find the strategic combination between traditional marketing, search engine marketing and social media marketing approaches and then embrace cutting-edge marketing tactics. That means looking at your web analytics to gauge your response rates and revising your marketing budgets to put more money where the momentum is.
With all this in mind, we’re outlining some predictions for 2013 and how your business center can tap into them the right way. Most of these tactics are familiar to you, but their application in the social media marketing world has a new twist.
Customer Service: The best advertising you’ll ever get is word of mouth marketing. Maybe you remember the old Faberge shampoo commercial that reminds us customers “tell their friends – and so on, and so on and so on.” That works for good and bad. In other words, word of mouth marketing can work for you or against you.
Providing stellar customer service is the cornerstone of strong customer satisfaction and retention – and free marketing. And in the world of social media, that free marketing can go viral. When people post to their social networks about a good experience with a brand, friends take that to heart.
Business centers should consider doing a January online survey to discover ways they can better serve their customers. (And, while you are at it, promote that survey through your social media channels. And when the survey is over, post the results and let folks know what changes you’ll be making.)
Storytelling 101: Every brand has a story. Are you doing a good job at telling yours? Letting customers know your history, how you got started and where you are going helps establish your brand as relatable. If your founder was an entrepreneur, for example, your target audience can relate to that. If you’ve found ways to succeed through the recession, share your story. It gives you credibility.
Beyond this, start sharing your stories on social media sites. People love to see photos of you, your facilities, your customers. In the age of social media, the photos don’t have to be spectacular. Just snap them from your smartphone and upload them with appropriate keywords via Facebook, Twitter, etc. Consider implementing a “photo of the day” or “photo of the week” to build an ongoing dialogue with your customers.
And speaking of customers, be sure to tell their stories too. Why not gather testimonials now and start publishing them on your web site and social media channels? Sharing customer testimonials taps back into the word of mouth marketing trend.
Plan Your Social Media: Rather than just willy nilly posting this year, plan a social media strategy. That strategy includes what types of content you’ll post and exactly when you’ll post it, i.e. what time of day.
You may even want to consider outsourcing this function, or at least assigning it to someone who can see the big picture and build expertise within your business center. Social media strategy has become somewhat of an art and it can backfire if you aren’t careful. But it can pay huge dividends if you get it right.
Develop a Smartphone App: Smartphones users love apps. If you want to tap into the mobile worker trend, a smartphone app is almost a must. Mobile workers are searching for meeting rooms, virtual office space and day offices on the go in cities they travel through. You can make it easy for them to stick with your brand if you develop your own app. This can be outsourced and it’s not expensive if you find the right developer.
Be encouraged. There is a world of opportunity for local business marketing online. It’s likely that you have the tools and people in place to make a splash in 2013. If you haven’t already assessed your possibilities, don’t waste another minute. Online marketing success is at your fingertips – literally.