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Six Reasons to Embrace Social Media Today

The real risk is in waiting too long and being left in the dust

Social Media on Ulitzer

Social media marketing is a trend, not a fad. But,  most small to medium-sized businesses have yet to participate fully and enthusiastically.

We have just written about a powerful new research study that paints a picture of how thousands of smart companies are already benefiting from the inclusion of social media.  What’s clear from that research is that when we evaluate social media, we are not talking about the marketing longevity equivalent of the hula hoop or the Lambada.

Social media marketing is here to stay.  Because you want your organization to be here for the long haul as well, you need to move now.  Not next week. Not next month. But now.

social media people pyramid

Here are the six reasons that dictate your need to begin social media marketing now:

  1. Your customers are using it to make buying decisions. Millions of web users, both in the business to consumer and business-to-business markets, are reading blogs and listening to podcasts daily. They are relying increasingly on social media for buying information in both the b2b and b2c worlds.

  2. Smart news organizations are with the social media program. The New York Times and Wall Street Journal and almost certainly your local newspaper have made social media fundamental to how they learn and how they report.  If it’s good enough for their information gathering and sharing where it really counts, it’s certainly good enough for the rest of us.
  3. Most small and medium-sized companies are still not using it. You won’t always have the chance to get the jump on your competition.  Imagine yourself back in the early days of TV and you were the first car dealer, furniture store or air conditioning company to run local advertising opposite I Love Lucy or the Lone Ranger. You would have demolished the competition. You still have a small window of time to be early enough to create competitive advantage.   Hi Ho, Silver and away!
  4. Your smartest competitors are using it. You’re almost certainly paying attention to your smartest competition.  I’d be surprised if a high percentage of them are not at least putting a toe into the social media waters.  Organizations as diverse as law firms, interior designers, real estate agents, and roofing companies are using blogs, podcasts, videos, and user communities such as Facebook to demonstrate their expertise and thought leadership. Don’t let those tough competitors outmarket you via social media.
  5. It can be your most cost effective marketing strategy. The required financial investment in creating a blog, for example, can be close to zero.  The real investment will be in time and thought required to craft a content marketing strategy which provides valuable information to your customers and prospects.  You may need to a hire specific content creation resources either internally or externally.  But this will probably be less expensive than a many traditional advertising outlets.
  6. Your old-style marketing is less and less effective. Because buyer behavior has changed, you cannot expect traditional advertising alone to drive buyers to your business as it did a decade ago.  You may certainly want to use it to drive them to your online home. That’s where you can prove to prospective customers that you are a reliable supplier who can be trusted, based on your knowledge and understanding of your their problems.  A regular blog or a series of informative podcasts may be just the ticket to prove that you are the best choice to provide essential solutions.

Summing up

You may still think it’s risky or unproductive to make an investment in core social media components such as blogs, videos,podcasts–or communities such as Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.  I suggest that the real risk is in waiting too long and being left in the dust. After all, some very smart marketers have already proven the power of these online tools.


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More Stories By Newt Barrett

Newt is a leading thinker on the new discipline of content marketing. He urges marketers to think like publishers by delivering essential, relevant, and timely information that makes customers smarter and wiser–and much more likely to become buyers. Newt is a successful publishing executive with more than 25 years of experience as both a manager and business owner. He has launched profitable publications in the high tech arena for both CMP and Ziff-Davis. He was an early player on the web in 1996 as Publishing Director of an early Yahoo competitor, NetGuideLive. As an entrepreneur, he launched Southwest Florida Business and BusinessNewsNow.com in the late nineties, later selling them to Gulfshore Media. His publication still thrives under its new name, Gulfshore Business. In addition to his sales and marketing skills, Newt is a published writer for Business Currents and Gulfshore Business magazines. He writes on topics as diverse as healthcare, education, public policy, growth, business best practices, and technology. He knows how to build great brands that serve client marketing needs. He is comfortable driving dramatic market-driven changes. Newt is recognized as a leader with the ability to move teams in new, unexplored directions. He is effective in high level sales and marketing conversations with senior executives in client organizations of all sizes. He delivers successful consulting engagements to improve products, people, and processes.

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John Drachman 11/13/09 07:38:00 AM EST

Great story. I thought that point #3 especially hit the nail on the head. As a marketing writer/blogger, we helped a financial advisor run a social media campaign that generating revenue during the summer dog days. In a recent interview he said that the reason other advisors weren't using social media was the reason he wanted to use it. And it worked! You might want to look at the story here. I'll keep looking for your articles. Best, John

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