Whether you like it not, or use it or not, it’s a fact that social media is here to stay, and it’s not just about reconnecting with high school BFFs, pictures of your dinner plate and cute animal videos; it’s about marketing and generating a stream of quality leads for your business. Social media marketing for business brings an important piece of the lead generation puzzle to the table, the ability to be a thought-leader and build a source of loyal, passionate customers and clients who literally hang on your every word. Social media marketing is simple, fast, measurable, and most importantly, it’s effective, especially when compared to outbound or traditional marketing. In 2017 social media marketing has become a crucial part of any digital marketing strategy.
The beauty of social media is its ability to increase sales and revenue, and do so at a much lower cost than other forms of marketing. Statistics show that businesses can increase revenue by over 24% when using social media to generate leads. As an added benefit, it also increases your website traffic and gives a considerable boost to online brand awareness and exposure. It's pretty safe to say, that companies who haven’t jumped on the social media bandwagon are losing potential business to their competitors that are.
The key to success is to figure out what role social media will play in your company’s digital marketing strategy. Even though your primary objective is to find new clients and customers, social media isn’t a selling platform. Its main goal in your company’s marketing strategy is to engage, build brand awareness, and educate. It’s also not a short term, one and done solution. To see real results, you need to develop a long-term, active strategy, and you need to stick with it. So what do you need to know and what do you need to do to build a strong social media marketing strategy that works for your business and brand?
Know your audience and create buyer personas
First and foremost, as with any marketing strategy, you need to know and understand your target audience and build out your buyer personas. I’ve said it before and I’ll probably say it again and again… great marketing begins when you understand who you are trying to attract. Do your research to find out:
- What are the demographics of your target audience?
- What are they interested in learning about and why?
- Where do they do their research, online, and find information?
- How active is your ideal customer on social media?
- Which online channels do they like and use to find relevant information?
It’s crucial that you understand the habits, likes, and dislikes of your ideal customers before you begin creating a social media strategy. The Internet is filled with people researching and looking for answers to questions, and millions of pages of helpful content that address these concerns. It you don’t know who you’re speaking to and how they want to hear it, you can post content until the end of time and accomplish very little.
It’s time to start a conversation
As I said earlier, social media is not about selling, so don’t use it to overtly pitch your business and your products and services. Take a good look at the content posted on different social platforms and research what’s being said out there about your company, products, services and your competition. This is a great first step that will give insight into your target audience and what they want and need to know. Your goal is to start or join a conversation with like-minded individuals and potential customers, and start to build a community by posting relevant, helpful, and interesting content. You may think or hope that “if you post it, they will come,” but you'll soon realize that social media really doesn't work that way. No matter how creative you are, or how valuable and timely your social posts, if you don’t work hard to actively engage your target audience, it’s unlikely that they’ll engage with your business.
So, what do you need to do to get noticed, followed, liked, and shared?
- Get out there and build strong business pages on the appropriate platforms.
- Use multiple channels to reach your audience.
- Ask open-ended questions.
- Search for connections.
- Join groups and participate in discussions.
- Check out who’s viewed your profiles and connect with them.
- Comment on other’s posts.
- Share, like, follow, and retweet interesting and relevant posts.
- Be helpful and insightful.
- Try paid ads on social media; they’re inexpensive, targeted, and give you more reach.
- Have a clear focus and show you’re an authority and expert.
Remember, if you want to become a thought-leader and elevate your brand, jump in with both feet; nothing happens if you stand on the sidelines and watch.
Social media doesn't stand alone
Social media and content marketing go hand in hand. Your company needs to create strong, relevant content that’s interesting and engaging, and follow it up with social posts that bring value to you target audience and captures their imagination. Remember you’re opening conversations and building community. It's time to put together a social media plan of attack. Your mantra should be “consistency.” Create an editorial calendar. Detail what types of content you’re going to write each month and when you’re going to write it and post it. Decide which tactics and activities will be strongest when engaging your target audience. Are you blogging? Creating premium content, like an eBook, video, or infographic? Answering questions and concerns with a checklist or Q&A format?
Know which social media channels you’re going to use to reach each segment of your target audience. Great content, backed up by relevant social media posts will give your brand the very best exposure and help your company, products, and services stand out from the competition. You want to become an authority and thought-leader… the go-to website when people need help or information.
Optimize for mobile! Companies need to prioritize their mobile viewability and optimize their social platforms based on the mobile format. Almost 80% of social media time is now spent on mobile devices. Cell phones and tablets will continue to overtake desktops on the digital landscape. No company can ignore mobile when it comes to their social media marketing campaigns.
So get out of your comfort zone and start connecting. Think about your target audience and find where they are most likely to follow your brand. Build new relationships and reinforce old ones. Start a dialogue. Build a community. Reach out and engage and you’ll build a great company presence online that will bring new clients in the door.
The facts don’t lie!
Here are a few statistics that affirm the power of a social media marketing strategy:
- Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing, but generates about 3 times as many new leads.
- Almost 25% of Internet users spend most of their time on social networks and blogs.
- Over 95% of online adults aged 18-34 are most likely to follow a brand via social media.
- Adults between the ages of 30-50, are the fastest growing Facebook demographic.
- 71% of consumers who have had a good social media service experience with a brand, will recommend it to others.
- Marketing costs decrease 45% for companies using social media as part of their digital marketing strategy.
- LinkedIn boasts more than 450 million profiles and 73% of CEOs have a profile on LinkedIn.
- Facebook is the top choice for social media marketing because of its huge number of active daily users.
- 74% of businesses use Twitter to distribute content.
- Video marketing can increase a company’s organic search traffic by 157%.
- Over 77% of companies use YouTube for marketing purposes.
- Facebook videos get more than 8 billion views each day.
- 73% of businesses say they use Facebook for professional purposes.
- Infographics are liked and shared 3 times more often than any other visual piece of content.
- Visual content is more than 40 times more likely to get shared on social media than other type of content.
- More than 50% of YouTube views come from mobile devices.
A strong social media marketing campaign is a cost effective way to reach your target audience and can improve your company’s online visibility, broaden your name recognition, establish your reputation, and enhance SEO. Popular social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Youtube, and Google+ also allow your business to connect with potential customers and increase their word-of-mouth referrals. If you are not using the many benefits that come from an effective social media strategy, then you are leaving a void that a competing company or business will fill.
Located in McLean, Virginia, just minutes from Washington, DC, Bethesda, MD, and all of Northern Virginia (NoVA) we have been helping businesses locally, and across the U.S., leverage digital marketing since 2003. Our mission is to help our clients grow their revenue and brand awareness with strategies that integrate outstanding websites, valuable content, a strong social media presence, and state of the art advertising and promotion.
With industry veterans possessing over 30 years of experience in translating technology into business tools, we have the background to guide you through the process of building traffic, sites and sales through all your web properties.