Even the smallest small businesses need a way to market their product to potential customers to generate sales. Whether that's word of mouth starting with friends or an all out online ad blitz, it's going to have an impact on profit and loss accounts, and you're going to have to track its effect in small business accounting software. Having an online sales business tends to push many owners to think social media is the way to go. This could be true, but it's not a given. And a poorly designed social media campaign can leave a big red mark in expense tracking. So you do you know is social media and its various forms are right for your business?
The problem is that social media is wrapped up in too much myth and hype for the new business owner to analyze its value critically and free of biases. Stories of viral videos crated and released on a few hundred dollars and internet memes driving millions of page views to a relatively new company's site leave us hungering for Cortez's City of Gold, yet lacking the concrete tools to analyze social media as a role player not too different from any other marketing strategy. So the first step to deciding if you should use social media is dissociating it from these supernatural, unrealistic expectations. Starting a Facebook group and tweeting your new Youtube video isn't going to get it done without all the other pieces of a marketing framework.
The second step is to think about your product and what it implies about target markets. Once you know that, for example, your business is based on selling quirky, homemade fashion accessories using an eCommerce site like Etsy, you can draw conclusions about the impact of various social media on your product's appeal to urban hipsters. In this case, Pinterest and making Facebook friends with a few important fashion bloggers would almost certainly be worth the investment. But if you sell knitted sweaters that mainly make sense for older buyers with a different valuation of quality and cost, you need an entirely different and probably not-social-media approach to reach them.
The next thing to do is consider all the social media options out there, their various costs, and what you would do with potential customers' time using your new social media campaign. These types of marketing efforts tend to have a more swingy effect on the numbers in small business accounting software than we expect because social media has to entertain, and that is expensive. It either works and makes a lot of money or it fails and is just a huge sunk cost. So you have to weigh the cost of the various options against all the other variables you've identified to decide if you should divert money that could go to other things - like improving the checkout feature on your website - and make sure the impact of your social media plan is worth it.
In many cases, social media marketing is not the right cost to be logging in your small business accounting software every month. But the same can be said for countless other tools that businesses have available to them. It's just a matter of approaching it like any other investment, logically and based on numbers.
Should Social Media Costs Show up in Your Small Business Accounting Software? Perhaps, But Only If the Tool Makes Practical Sense. Learn More at http://www.outright.com
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