Start Social Media Marketing Early

When opening a business or launching a new product or service, many business owners wait until it is almost ready before they start marketing. After all, how can you market something if it is not yet ready to consume?

This is a valid point, and for traditional media it makes sense. Traditional media—print advertising, billboards or television commercials—are based on campaigns that have both a starting point and a fixed end point. They are also based on definite results: sales, discounts, etc.

Social media marketing, on the other hand, has no real beginning or end, and figuring out real results can become difficult.

However, if I was giving advice to one of those same business owners, I would tell them to lead with social media as soon as the idea for the business, product or service crossed their mind.

Here’s why.

Developing real relationships on social media takes time. It cannot be done over night. However, because of the tendency of social media users to patronize the brands they follow or like (over 50% of followers on twitter and users on Facebook who Like a brand say they buy from them) creating as many of these relationships as possible is extremely important.

Notice I said “create relationships.” This is dramatically different from simply acquiring Likes or follows. Someone that has a relationship with your brand will buy from you, someone who simply follows or likes you will “unfollow” or “unlike” you just as easily.

And so creating relationships well in advance of your grand opening or product release is key if you want to use social media to help your marketing efforts.

How long in advance? There are no studies available, but major brands will begin leading with their social media efforts at times as much as a year in advance. Then, by the time the actual product or business launches—if relationships were built—there is a pool of eager customers waiting to buy or try whatever it is the brand is marketing.

Speaking from personal experience I began a Twitter and Facebook presence for a product in April of 2011. The product itself will not be released until May, 2013.

However, because of our tireless pursuit of engaging content and relationship building we currently have a pool of over 2200 Twitter followers and 1200 Facebook Likes. We expect these to grow much more by the time the product is released.

Our strategy is to then offer these Twitter followers and Facebook users the opportunity to get something exclusive in exchange for a pre-sale.

Though it has taken two years to build up this audience we’re confident our efforts will be rewarded when the time comes due to sell them our products.

So try this yourself. If you are considering opening a store or creating a service or product, begin using social media immediately to build relationships with future customers. Trust me, the payoff is worth the time!

Word One Consulting
575-496-6807
clint @ wordoneconsulting.com
2263 S. Main
Las Cruces, NM 88005