By Susan E. Campbell
The digital industry has done more than
change the way companies and clients communicate
with one another. Marketing professionals
say that the business that fails to
use social media, or use it incorrectly, loses a
The extent to which a company uses social
media depends on overall communications
goals, according to Deborah Miles Czech,
founder of Miles Ahead Communications.
Miles Ahead helps companies transform their
communications through both traditional and
“Social media increases engagement and
furthers a company’s ability to listen to their
customers,” said Czech. “It is a wonderful
Every year businesses shed their reluctance to try social media. But social media is constantly evolving and the venues for staying in front of consumers and the nuances of using them can change quickly.
“Companies know they need more clients and they know social media is cost-effective,” said Sara Mannix, founder of Mannix Marketing. “But they need assistance to choose which venues will give the best return on their advertising dollars.”
Mannix Marketing helps clients understand their online opportunities to garner more business and higher profits through well planned, well executed, digital marketing.
The firm started as a search engine optimization company. Mannix knows that getting clients hits on the web leads to a personal connection that can lead to customer acquisition, service and retention.
So much Internet traffic has been directed to Facebook that a Facebook page is often the first hit on a search engine, say the professionals. Today a company can present its entire business on Facebook, according to Cory Patterson, founder of Cuore Communications. Cuore Communications helps clients harness the benefits of social marketing.
“A business page on a social networking site can be even more important for some companies than a website,” said Patterson.
That is not to say a company should overemphasize social networking. Czech indicated that just as a company’s marketing and brand are unique, so is its marketing mix.
One client of Miles Ahead Communications, Saratoga Farmers’ Market, exemplifies how a business gains two-way communications with customers through a social marketing page. “The site is a popular way to see what vendors are offering and to post questions,” said Czech. “The site is getting ‘Likes’ all the time,” which is one way to measure effectiveness of the page.
“Many businesses that learn about the opportunities of social marketing want to do it all at once,” said Mannix. “But it’s best to conduct a marketing program in phases.”
The first stage is getting attention on the web through organic means, and secondly through paid searches, Mannix said.
Patterson said the beauty of paid searches through news feeds, columns or sponsored feeds is that the client company can set any budget it wants and simply stop the advertisements upon reaching a quota of responses.
By analyzing what was happening with one client’s SEO efforts, Mannix was able to identify other digital marketing opportunities. For another, her firm turned a successful direct mail business into an even more successful online business.
How businesses utilize the services of a social marketing firm differ. Many want to outsource 100 percent of the responsibility to the professional.
Patterson said that as a small business owner learns to understand the nuances of social marketing, valuable time is taken away from making money. Mannix said business owners have to be involved to keep the social contact genuine.
“The best thing to retain in-house is the daily social media posting, as authenticity matters,” she said. “However, we help most of our clients set up their accounts properly and assist them with a plan.”
“Businesses can learn to maximize social marketing,” Mannix said. “But if the owner has literally no time, social marketing may not be the best venue for them.”
A top trend today is optimizing web sites and social network sites for use by cellular phones, tablets and anything new and mobile.
Mannix said that since the beginning of the year, her firm has been converting client sites for mobile use. She said hits on a site that come from mobile devices is now up to 25 percent and growing.
“There have been more changes in the digital marketing industry in the past three months than in the past ten years,” she said.