Effective social media marketing is becoming increasingly critical for every business and organization. The problem is that few organizations do it well. Many, if not most, business owners and executives are entrenched in yesterday’s marketing models. Few executives or leaders truly understand the social media phenomenon and how to use it effectively for marketing.
Social media marketing, if it is to be effective, requires a significant and continuing investment of time. Effective social media marketing requires maintaining a consistent presence with a consistent voice in multiple social media venues. Effective social media marketing also requires constantly monitoring the social Web for feedback about the organization or business, their competitors, and the industry as a whole. Further, social media is continually evolving with services emerging and disappearing each year. In other words, effective social media marketing is a lot of work.
This situation creates an ideal opportunity for those who do understand social media to offer social media marketing services to these organizations and businesses. Social media marketing can be an ideal home-based business. This business can also be started on a shoestring budget.
The United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) compiles occupational projections data on many occupations. Unfortunately, BLS does not differentiate between “marketing managers” and those who primarily work in social media marketing. Social media marketing is becoming an increasingly important component of marketing, and those who do social media marketing well tend to specialize in this social media.
BLS does compile occupational data for marketing managers though. According to the data there were 175,600 marketing manager jobs in the USA during 2008. This number is expected to increase by 21,900 over the decade from 2008 – 2018. This would represent and increase of 12.5 percent. BLS reports that 4.1 percent of marketing managers are self-employed. Nearly 60,000 marketing manager jobs are expected to be available over the next decade due to growth and the need for replacement workers. BLS reports that marketing managers typically earn “very high” median annual wages of $108,580.
It should go without saying that you need to have a strong social media presence yourself before you begin offering social media marketing services to others. This is true for several reasons. First, it will be difficult to convince potential customers that you can handle their social media marketing needs if you do not have a social media presence yourself. Second, you will need this platform of an existing social media presence to build your business.
Social media marketing is an ideal home-based business because it requires nothing more than a computer and Internet connection. I used to provide contract social media services to a London-based Internet service company prior to the recession. All of the work was performed online from my home in New York. Since social media marketing is performed online the work can be done from any location with a computer and Internet connection.
Marketing a home-based social media marketing business may take a direct approach or an indirect approach. Both approaches have their place and both are probably essential. Focusing on a particular niche or area of business may be beneficial.
Direct marketing for your social media marketing business may involve “cold calling” potential customers, explaining how your services can help them, and asking for their business. Preliminary research before making cold calls would reveal whether the business or organization had an active social media presence. If the business or organization did not already have a discoverable presence, the conversation could focus on helping them to establish and effective, discoverable presence. If the business or organization already has a social media presence, the conversation could focus on how their presence could be expanded and improved.
Indirect marketing could involve maintaining a blog about social media marketing and the industries that you serve, contributing essays or guest posts to other sites, and participating in forums on social media marketing or the industries that you serve. These types of activities serve to increase awareness of your business and can increase the value of your brand. Over time, being recognized as an authority in your area of expertise can bring customers to you simply because you are recognized as an expert or an authority.
A business website is also an obvious and crucial part of any social media marketing business. A business website allows you to present information about your qualifications and references, services your business offers, industry news, and details about how your business can help a potential customer to maximize their social media presence.
Social media marketing is a rapidly evolving business. Social media changes rapidly and it can be challenging to stay abreast of the latest technologies and services. The service that was the latest and greatest last year may well be eclipsed by a new media service this year, and forgotten altogether by next year.
Mistakes and failures in a social media world can go viral in an instant. A poorly written blog post, status update or tweet may continue to haunt a social media marketer for a very long time.
Many companies and organizations still do not understand how rapidly and dramatically the world of communication is changing. Social media marketers understand that successful marketing is now about building relationships with customers rather than selling to customers. Sales still need to happen, but sales happen because of a successful relationship. Social media marketing is an essential part of this relationship between businesses and customers. This lack of understanding by executives and business leaders may require the social media marketer to also be an educator.
Social media marketing is a new industry, but this business is ideal for a home-based business. Since this business can be started with only a computer with Internet access, this business can truly be started on a shoestring budget.
United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics. Site accessed on 07 October 2010.
Ross Kimbarovsky. 10 Small Business Social Media Marketing Tips. Mashable. Site accessed on 02 November 2010.
Laura Lake. Social Media Marketing: Put It to Work for You. About.com. Site accessed on 02 November 2010.
Lidija Davis. Social Media for Business – Who’s Doing it Well & How. Read Write Web. Site accessed on 02 November 2010.