Social media is everywhere. You’ll be hard pressed to come across anyone who is not on some form of social network. It has grown so fast the last decade that it seems to have caught entrepreneurs off- guard. Yes they know it is important but how many can truly grasp its value? Social media marketing has become a very powerful engine of growth that can drive inbound traffic with minimal time, effort and resources.
Social media marketing is the process of building website traffic by actively engaging in various social media networks. It is a process because it takes time to build inbound traffic to your website. Social media marketing focuses on creating unique, engaging and relevant content that compels the reader to take some form of action.
Ask yourself how many times a share, a post or a tweet compelled you to try out the restaurant that opened a month ago? Or how overwhelmingly positive reviews on Facebook made you fork out hard earned money to watch the latest Hollywood blockbuster in 3D?
What forces are at work behind social media marketing? Perhaps the most powerful but misunderstood of all; human relationships.
When someone likes his or her experience in a restaurant, it is simply human nature to share it with the rest of the world. At a day and age where smart phones have the capacity of a DSLR camera, sharing becomes easier, more convenient and effective with the use of images.
What is social media marketing then? It is virtual “Word of Mouth”; the most sincere, organic and natural form of advertising.
In the same context, social media can be used to express displeasure and regret. Do you remember what happened to fast- food giant Subway when a customer from Australia posted a photo of its popular foot-long beside a ruler in Facebook which showed it fell an inch short of 12 inches?
Subway was besieged with class action lawsuits from angry customers which the restaurant chain eventually settled for US$500,000.
Thus, in a sense, social media marketing has tilted the balance of power slightly in favor of the consumer. Before social media exploded into the mainstream consciousness, companies could sell sub- standard products and services and get away with bloody murder.
Not anymore! If the Internet has given consumers the ability to access information, social media has given them the “soapbox” to stand up and be heard. Or seen.
But entrepreneurs can leverage the advantages of social media to take their businesses to the next level. As Ben Parker said to Peter before he became Spider Man, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Before you harness the power of social media, you should first understand its value.
Why is Social Media Important for Business?
There are 3.5 Billion people online every day; searching for information, looking for solutions or building networks. How massive is 3.5 Billion people? That’s almost 50% of the world’s population of 7.4 Billion people!
And what do these 3.5 Billion people do online most of the time? Well, 2.34 Billion or 69% of them are on social media.
If your business does not have social media presence, you are losing untold opportunities to be discovered, to make connections and to build your market base.
How does social media marketing build business? Let us count the ways:
- Drive traffic to your website – 77% of marketers surveyed in 2015 planned to create content in 2016. You know why? Because people love reading great content online.
In 2015, people spent 300 minutes or 6 hours of their time online. 23% or 1 hour and 15 minutes is spent reading content. Social media is one of the most effective and popular distribution channels.
If you regularly write and syndicate great, compelling content you will establish yourself as an excellent resource and drive people to your website.
- Boost your website up the search rankings – Blogging is the cornerstone of the content marketing process. Businesses that blog regularly have 434% more indexed pages and generate 67% more leads.
Posting or distributing your blogs through networks such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are a great way to get you noticed.
Keep in mind that the search engines keep track of the web pages which are getting more traffic, views and visits.
Greater page activity will surely move your site up the search rankings.
- Humanize your business by building real relationships – How do relationships start? It all starts with a simple engagement. When you post content that elicits a response, that’s the beginning of a relationship.
And even if the response is unfavorable, you can still build a real, honest- to- goodness relationship.
A good example would be dealing with complaints. Social media is not just a medium to say “sorry”. It is a venue where you can provide actionable solutions and immediate compromise.
Thus, a negative situation can be spun around and become an opportunity to highlight your customer service. How you deal with engagement helps humanize your business.
Consumers will not just look at your business as a “take our money and run” operation but as an establishment that cares about its customers. In time, people will see and align themselves with your values.
A values- based approach is the key to building strong, long term and sustainable customer relationships. As proven by a study conducted by Texas Tech University, strong interaction builds brand loyalty.
- Helps You Understand Your Market – Do you want to know what your market is into? Check out their Instagram and Twitter feeds.
You can see what activities, products and services interest them. You can follow what current issues have their attention. Social media is a wonderful resource for gaining insights on their lifestyles and consumption behavior.
It is an effective way to stay on top of changes in demand patterns and preferences.
- Builds Your Network – Social media sites such as Twitter and LinkedIn are valuable in building your network. You can easily connect with influencers and thought leaders by simply re-tweeting their messages.
LinkedIn is the choice of professionals for networking. In fact, Human Resource Managers, CEOs and high level management use LinkedIn to conduct due diligence.
LinkedIn has a blogging feature which allows you to share content with the entire community. A major mover and shaker might come across your content and open doors of opportunity for you.
- Allows You to Qualify Your Market – Facebook has features that allow you to target a specific market for your ads. You can set the parameters according to education, location, industry and by their purchase history.
If you want to fine-tune your connections, LinkedIn likewise allows you to set the parameters of your networking industry. You can connect with people based on industry, designation and location.
- Increase Your Sales – With 69% of the Internet’s population on social media every day, it isn’t any wonder that:
- 61% of consumers have been influenced by a blog or a post.
- 46% of consumers use social media to make a purchase.
- 84% of CEO’s use social media to make purchase decisions.
- 67% of Twitter users purchase from brands they follow on Twitter.
All of these advantages should be enough to convince you to use social media marketing for your business.
The next question is “how”?
How does Social Media Marketing Work?
The first thing you have to understand is that not all social media networks are alike. Each network has its own culture and functions as its own community.
You won’t find anyone in LinkedIn posting a picture of today’s lunch or cat videos. Informal content would be more appropriate for Facebook, Google Plus or Instagram.
Of course, you could sign up in as many social networking sites as you want. But how you behave and function would be entirely different.
If you’re starting a social media campaign for the first time, choose 2 to 3 networks at most. This will make it easier for you to monitor your posts and feedback.
A good starting point would be to use the following networks:
- Twitter – Market Acquisition, Content Distribution
- Facebook – Content Distribution
- LinkedIn – Professional Networking, Content Distribution
Next would be to come up with a social media marketing schedule. This schedule should identify:
- Type of Content
- Length of Content
- Frequency of Posting
Each social media community responds differently to content distribution and length.
Here’s a general guideline:
- Twitter – 3 tweets a day, 100 characters
- Facebook – 2 posts a day, 40 characters
- LinkedIn – 1 post a day, 25 words
However, if you want to blog from LinkedIn go for 1,600 words.
Finally, come up with a team who can do it for you.
As an entrepreneur, your time is best spent attending to the core functions of your business. If you want to improve your productivity, why not outsource social media marketing?
For your social media marketing team, you would need the following skills:
- Digital Marketer/ Social Media Marketer
- SEO Professional
- Content Writer
The SEO Professional does not have to be full-time. You could have the SEO Professional audit your website for better optimization and to conduct keyword research.
The Digital Marketer will design and implement the social media campaign while the Content Writer will be responsible for creating all blogs, posts, articles and other materials needed to support the strategy.
Again, social media marketing is a process which means it will take time to see quantifiable results. But the stats are on your side. There is irrefutable proof and empirical evidence that show social media marketing can build your business.
Keep in mind what the word “social” means; an organization or a collective of people.
Be accessible. Be human. Interact with your market and let them see your business as they see you; a person they can readily connect with.
If you want to learn more on how social media marketing can weave its magic for your business, feel free to reach out to us at www.trvcreative.com. Drop us an e-mail or better yet, let’s have a chat over coffee or Bubble Tea. Tell us what you need and we’ll give you a quotation for free.
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