25 Mar Including Social Media Marketing in Your Business Plan
I was skeptical about social media from the start. This may be, at least in part, due to the fact that I’ve never fully adopted some of the most well-known social portals for posting and sharing information. Frankly, I’ve been too busy doing other things. However, no one can fully ignore the impact social media channels have had on the business community in the last 10 years. Linkedin in particular has changed the way we educate ourselves on various markets & businesses, find employers and employees and generally interact with the business world. In addition, real-time business updates via Twitter and other social feeds have been vital for staying on-top of the latest buzz in the industries in which I have been connected. When it comes to putting together your start-up business plan, there are a few reasons social marketing shouldn’t become an afterthought.
Investors are beginning to expect social media as part of the general marketing portion of your business plan. When such plans fail to include social marketing as an avenue for expanding your products’ reach, you may be considered “out of the loop.” For consumer-based technology-driven companies, discussing the advantages of Google (paid and organic), Facebook, Twitter, etc. etc. will help to increase your relevancy and will ultimately be an expectation, but don’t go overboard. Remember, business plans should be like a miniskirt: long enough to cover the essentials, but short enough to keep things interesting.
Investor Returns & Premium Targeting
When including social marketing in your premium business plan, it is important to include “how” your social media campaign and inclusion will increase the bottom-line returns for investors. It’s not enough to use social as a buzzword just to attract investor attention. It must add value or the investors will see it for what it is: unnecessary filler to make you look like you gave it some thought.
For example, we’ve had some very good targeting success in the B2B and B2C services sector by running advertisements on both Facebook and Linkedin. That said, we have also had some massive flops attempting to push products and services on to customer. Before you start “talking” about it, do your homework, know your costs and know if it’s a good fit for your audience. Otherwise, it may serve as more of an embarrassment than a help.
When Not to Include
For many industries, social media makes no sense in a business plan. This could be true for many B2B companies where long-term relationships, the products themselves and an existing reputation will do much more than a simple tweet. In that case, picking up the phone can have some of the greatest impact on your bottom-line. Forget about social media if it’s not relevant. Similar to the previous point, if it doesn’t add value, don’t think about including it as it may detract from your the overall goal of your plan.
Social’s buzz as a hot-button has topic as “the next big thing” has been significantly diminished since both the Facebook and Linkedin IPOs. However, when it comes to planning for your business start-up, it’s a safe bet to at least acknowledge social’s existence as at least one method for targeting customers and potential customers.