ODM recently made the decision to update the company branding to coincide with the redesign of our website. This process also posed the question: should we join the social media revolution? If so, what are the benefits, and which platforms should we use?
Whilst most of us have all dabbled in facebook or twitter for personal use, we soon realised that the social media world can be very different for a business - it was not just going to be a case of uploading a few photos once in a while. We made the move to consult an expert, and we were right to do so. To get the most out of our pages and profiles we were going to need help.
The first step was to think about how ODM could benefit from this. Our rebranding and website redesign were well under way, and we wanted a platform to let people know about this. We looked at several areas that we needed to consider:
Branding. Social media marketing can create a recognisable identity for your product or service. This is extremely important for all businesses. Social media tools can get the word out about your brand in a way that promotes online conversation and creates buzz.
Word of mouth marketing. Exposure is a key to growing your business. Word of mouth may not generate business but with social media, you can create buzz around your business and brand. More than 80% of online marketing firms agree social media engagement is based upon social interaction between the customer and the business.
Reputation management. Social media tools let you keep an eye on what other people and sites are saying about your name, company, or brand online. You can then use the insights to fix any problems, if need be. You could use forums and message boards to answer questions professionally, honestly, and correctly, which will earn you respect as an expert in your niche. People will look to you for answers.
Find out what works and what doesn't. Your business does not move forward unless you understand your prior faults. Social media gives you a chance to look at your prior engagement year over year, to find out what worked and what did not work. By doing so, you can review your social media metric tools and engagement score.
Helps with search engine rankings. Social media also helps you move up in the search engine rankings because of links. Many social news sites and social networking sites have “follow” links in their profile pages. These “follow” links can provide your online properties with a higher ranking on search engines such as Google.
Cost-effective marketing and advertising alternative. Social media marketing shouldn’t cost a business nearly as much as traditional advertising. And, if you do it yourself, it might not cost a dime. However, it will cost you time. Depending how much your time is worth, it might be worthwhile to hire someone to help with the social media marketing. But, all in all, social media marketing is just a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing and advertising.
Once we had established the objectives, we had to decide which of the many platforms were suitable for ODM. Facebook and twitter are the ones that we all know, but could others offer us something a bit different? After some research and advice from our consultant, we decided to set up our company profile on several sites in order to reach a greater audience.
We hoped that the variety of social media sites would give us additional lines of communication to our staff, potential recruits and other businesses that were looking to find out more about our services. As our online reach grows, the ability to communicate with a larger audience becomes ever more effective. It also provides additional channels for others to communicate with us instantly, in a way that was not possible previously. As effective as traditional methods are (advertising, email, letter), social media provides a forum for discussion, ideas, feedback and a way of getting our news "out there" at the click of a button.