Social Networks: You Snooze, You Lose
For Boomers, the song goes: the times, they are a-changin'
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Once you’ve identified objectives and are familiar with the different social media tools, it’s important to form a strategy. That, according to Zelikman, should be left to experts. “At Starrtech, we can set up their accounts and we educate clients on what the possibilities are and how to use these different media,” he says. “Then, we sit down and brainstorm to see how we can use social media to get their message out.”
Experts can also help businesses track progress and measure the return on their investment. “One of the most important elements of social media is analytics,” Zelikman says. For example, StarrTech can measure brand lift, or how many times a specific brand, such as Big City Diner, is mentioned online during a specific time. “We can tell you how effective your marketing campaign is and then strategize how to improve it,” he says. “Being able to analyze the data means faster results.”
The results might not always be increased revenue. Building a strong network, developing brand power and increasing communication with your target audience are just as important to the long-term success of your business. “Social media relies on an extensive network, fresh content, interactivity and timely two-way communication,” Tamaye says. “All of that takes time, so be patient.”
Hawaii Pacific Entertainment’s Salas says it might do more harm than good if your Web site or Facebook page contain outdated information. “That could cause confusion and make your clients feel like they’re not important, and you never want that,” she says.
Aarma says once a strategy is in place, small businesses should manage their social media plans – after all, they know their businesses best. However, while the marketing is free, paying a warm body to manage it isn’t. Zelikman says companies need to make sure they have the people and tools to continue the activity before they begin.
Jacobe says seven of his 12 employees are dedicated to HPE’s Emerging New Media division. “The price of their salaries is 10 times lower than bearing the cost of doing a promotion or campaign without the technology that is available today,” he says. “There’s a huge cost savings when it comes to time and money, and every business struggles with those things. With social media, we are able to keep our overheard low.”
However, social media is not for everyone, Zelikman says. Many Baby Boomers will never stray from traditional media, no matter how easy social networking is. “There are people out there who don’t want to be that open and connected, and that’s fine,” Zelikman says. You have to retain traditional marketing and traditional media to reach them. But so many other people are on social networks and companies must reach them, he says. “If you’re in business, it’s a no-brainer.”
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