How Long Is This Social Media Thing Going To Take?

Otherwise entitled, “Where Are My Sales Already?  Yeesh.”

We have the amazing opportunity to work with so many incredible clients.  It’s part of what we love most about this kind of work.  Many of our clients are new to social media, and so we’re often asked some variation of the same question:  “Just how long is this social media thing going to take?”

As you already know from reading our blog regularly (wink), 2010 was the first year business as a whole completely embraced social media, spending more on digital advertising than print advertising for the first time in history.  So, there’s a lot of hype about social media right now.  The rumor is spreading like wildfire that social media is the be all and end all, easy and free marketing technique that will not only save your business in this questionable economy — it will bring you lots of customers and big bucks while you just sit back and watch it all roll in.

While we are obviously the first in line to tout the benefits of social media marketing, those are not them.  It’s just not true that the simple act of creating a Facebook page or Twitter account is like a giant “ON” switch in the Cloud, opening the flood gates of effortless financial and entrepreneurial success.  Here’s what is true:

1) Social media and online marketing are just like any other form of marketing. Would you put a bare-bones advertisement in the newspaper, then proceed to sit by your phone waiting for it to work?  Absolutely not.  This is no different.  Social media and online marketing must be an integrated part of your overall marketing strategy, and they must be engaging.

2)  Social media is only successful if you act like you’re creating a real relationship with your consumers. Because, in fact, that’s exactly what you’re doing.  There’s a reason it’s called “social” media.  In real life, would you think it reasonable to meet someone in a public place for the first time, then expect them to immediately give you all their contact information, follow you around and be loyal to you at all costs?  No way!  It’s no different on social media, but if you’re expecting immediate results with minimal effort, that’s what you’re asking from your consumers.  Connecting with your consumers on social media is just like being in a real life relationship.  There must be a reason for you to connect to begin with, then you must prove that you’re an engaging, trustworthy and worthwhile friend.  That takes both time and effort.

3)  Trial and error are the only way to find your sweet spot. Every business is different, every market is different and every consumer is different.  So, the social marketing techniques that work for one business will not necessarily work for another.  It takes time to find the perfect online marketing recipe for your business, because you are unique.  You have to try one approach, give it time, measure results, then adjust your efforts…and then rinse and repeat until you’ve achieved perfection.

So, just how long will this social media marketing thing take, anyway? As a general guideline, expect your initial social media marketing efforts to take at least 6 months before you see any kind of response from your consumers.  Obviously, this number can vary greatly, and the more you promote your social media in real life to your current and prospective customers, the better.

Have you found these things true in your business’s social media efforts?  Let us know in the comments!

What Cloud Computing Means For Your Online Marketing Campaign

Last week, Google unveiled a revolutionary new way to use the computer – cloud computing.  In case you missed the awesome video we posted on Facebook and Twitter last week where a precocious group of 10 year olds explained the cloud, the cloud is basically the most expansive idea of the internet. It’s not only websites and email, it is also internet-based file storage, applications and much more. 

Google’s revolutionary idea is a new operating system that makes computing entirely cloud-based. That means all your files are stored online and all your programs are web applications (“apps”) used within your browser. Google has released their new cloud-based operating system on a notebook known as the Cr-48 in a pilot program, allowing users to test functionality and report back to Google.  Similar notebooks are expected to be released for sale to the general public in about 6 months, and they are projected to be more affordable than desktop-based computers.

So what does this mean for your online marketing campaign?  A move toward cloud-based computing means more people will be online all the time. It means even more people will join social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. It also means the general public will gain a better understanding of the idea of social networks and other things happening online. And that all boils down to more exposure for you and better results from your online marketing campaigns!

What do you think? Sound off in the comments!

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