Contrary to its name, social media is no longer just for posting pics of your dinner to friends and family. Today, it’s about businesses sharing valuable content — including marketing content — to build communities. But not all businesses are taking advantage of the major marketing opportunity that social media provides. According to InTouch Marketing, business owners and industry leaders tend to avoid a social media presence for a number of reasons:
- They think social media is a waste of time
- They don’t think their customers are using social media
- They assume their industry doesn’t have a place on social media
But did you know that a Digital 2020 report by Hootsuite showed that nearly half the world’s population and most businesses are now on social media? And it’s not just millennials — in fact, Emarketer reported that 90.4% of millennials, 77.5% of Generation X, and 48.2% of Baby Boomers are active on social networks today. Even more significant is that Globalwebindex reported 54% of social media users are browsing these sites with the intent of finding new products. Your customers — and your competitors — are on social platforms every day looking for recommendations, and they will be very receptive to marketing through this channel.
It’s time to change your mindset about social media marketing. Here, we will discuss why social media and business have become permanently intertwined and how social media affects marketing across industries.
Social Media Stretches Your Marketing Dollars Further
Approximately 97% of today’s marketers are running social media campaigns because they’re so affordable and require little time. A report by HubSpot revealed that 52% of marketers were able to achieve traffic increases by spending just six hours of work per week on social media strategy. What’s perhaps even more impressive is that marketers reports that digital marketing can be up to three times more affordable than traditional methods of advertising with costs per thousand impressions ringing in at as little as $2.50.
Social Media Heightens Brand Awareness and Loyalty
With billions of people worldwide using platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, and LinkedIn daily, these are the perfect places to find new target customers that don’t know about your brand and gain greater visibility online. Roughly 60% of Instagram users have discovered new products on this platform, and Texas Tech University even reported in May 2017 that brands who actively engage their audiences experience higher brand awareness and loyalty than brands who don’t.
As you post relevant content to your social media that adds value for your audience and makes users familiar with your brand personality and voice, you open yourself up to new leads and repeat customers.
Another unique way social media can heighten your brand exposure is through influencers. These are people who have a significant following on one or more social platforms and may be willing to mention your products in their posts or stories, helping you draw attention to your brand and earn word-of-mouth referrals, which drive between 20% and 50% of purchasing decisions, according to McKinsey Company. Based on research released on thinkwithgoogle.com, influencer partnerships can multiply your brand awareness up to four times more than celebrity collaborations, so it’s worth the effort to reach out to influencers within your industry and find out if any are willing to feature your products on their pages!
Social Media Marketing Drives Traffic to Your Website
Social media efforts, in conjunction with an effective SEO strategy, can help you increase your website traffic exponentially. Every single piece of content you publish on your social media accounts is another conversion opportunity, so it’s important that you regularly post new, engaging content across platforms to bring new leads back to your site. The higher the quality of the content you post on social platforms, the better the chance that it leads to engagement or conversion. As you hone in on quality content, make sure that it either links to your company website directly or that your website URL is easily discoverable in your social profiles so people can click to learn more.
As a word of caution, SEO expert and co-founder of NP Digital and Subscribers, Neil Patel, warns companies not to become spammers in these efforts by:
- Providing consistent value in your posts;
- Considering your followers and your own habits; and
- Avoiding tactics you wouldn’t like to see as a consumer.
Social Media Humanizes Your Company
Human connection is one of the most important ways that a business can benefit from social media. ReachSolutions, a UK-based marketing company, found that real-world customers tend not to trust brands that aren’t connecting with people or keeping promises to customers. Your social accounts are an appropriate place to showcase the humanity of your company and gain the trust of your followers and customers.
These efforts don’t have to be too formal. In fact, social media is a safe place to be a little more casual and have fun engaging with your customer base, and customers appreciate brands that aren’t afraid to step out of their professional boxes and build relationships with them.
Not sure where to start? Here are some tips:
- Post product demos that show your product working
- Put names and faces to your brand by using social media stories to introduce your employees and what a day in their shoes looks like
- Highlight the efforts you’re making to give back to society through blog post sharing
- Post customer testimonials on your feed to prove how your products/services have affected real-life people
- Host Facebook Live Q&As so your customers can ask you their burning questions
- Use polls to find out what customers want to see more of from your brand
Social Networks Yield Invaluable Consumer Insights
As a business, you know that you can’t effectively sell to your target audience without knowing their needs and interests; social media gives you a deeper look into what those are. As you interact with your current customer base and acquire new leads over social networks, you gather in-depth insights about what captures the attention of your audience and drives them to buy, further allowing you to fine-tune your marketing strategy accordingly. You’ll also gain a clearer understanding of online buying behaviors and see which of your content is most popular with your audience using tools like Facebook analytics. The majority of social platforms are equipped to measure conversions to help you see which of your campaigns are the most effective.
The best way to capture social media insights is through social listening. HubSpot defines social listening as “the monitoring of your brand’s social media channels for any customer feedback and direct mentions of your brand or discussions regarding specific keywords, topics, competitors, or industries, followed by an analysis to gain insights and act on those opportunities.”
Essentially, acting on social listening means creating focused content based on what you’ve learned about your customers’ needs to improve their satisfaction. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Instagram are excellent places to find customer insights in company reviews, trending tweets, discussion threads, and more, though you may need the help of a marketing professional or professional software to see maximum effectiveness from your efforts.
Let’s Talk About Social Media Marketing
Here, we’ve just outlined a few of the most common ways in which social media affects marketing, but these are just the tip of the iceberg. If you’d like to learn more about the matter or strategize your social media marketing, our friendly and exuberant marketing experts are here for you. Give us a call today to find out how your business fits into the world of social media and the results you could see from effective marketing through any of these platforms.