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Social Media Marketing for Dummies (And Anyone Else Wanting to Get Started)

So you’ve decided to get involved in social media marketing! Congratulations. There’s no time like the present to jump on board. Many companies just like yourself are getting linked, booked and pinned and you’re about to join the great, buzzing conversation.

But social media is a wild beast that is difficult to predict and quantify. Before jumping headfirst, ask yourself a few pivotal questions:

Where’s Your Audience?
Social media is like all media–it exists to connect people and ideas. And since you’re in the business of trying to connect to customers, it’s worth taking a moment to ask if your customers are on social media at all.

Does your target demographic engage online–and if so, which social media platforms resonate with them? Are they tuned into social media companies? Are they already talking about you? If your audience isn’t active on social media, it’s not a good idea to invest time, money and energy in trying to reach them there.

What’s the ROI?
The thing marketers (and marketers’ bosses) complain most about when it comes to social media is measuring the return on investment. How can you tell if your social media strategy is effective? How do you know if it’s worth the effort? Likes, tweets and pins demonstrate engagement, but they don’t necessarily mean anything if you’re trying to produce revenue.

While there are many intangible products of a vibrant social presence, take time to research ways to measure your social media’s impact on your bottom line, not just track the vanity data.

Who’s Going to Do It?
Many like the idea of social media because it’s free. Who doesn’t like free marketing? But it’s not that simple. Someone has to manage your social media accounts, and usually that person will want to be paid. If you pass it onto an existing employee, they’ll have to spend their time on it–instead of another valuable project. Plus, you might not have a social-media-skilled employee, so you might even have to hire someone new.

What we’re trying to say is this: consider the costs and the benefits thoroughly before committing to social media marketing, because you’re better off not doing social media than doing it poorly.
Social media is a powerful tool for connecting your company with those who love what it’s doing. And if you have a good game plan you can influence your loyal followers to do business with you.