Why Social Media Marketing Is Integral For Your Business
Social media marketing is a marketing tactic that is often maligned for being too time consuming. Many businesses use social media marketing as an after thought rather than their main strategy. This may have been acceptable in 2008, but in 2015, social media is the main way people, that is, potential customers communicate and connect with each other. The biggest social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat and Instagram have hundreds of millions of users log in every month and this is the way people communicate to one another about great products, services, events, news and celebrity gossip.
Consumers in 2015 are no longer influenced by blatant advertisements telling them to buy a product or service. They would rather trust recommendations from their friends and family members. The power of the consumers as product advocates cannot be underestimated. The effectiveness of social media marketing where businesses reach out to potential customers is reliant on trust and great communication.
If you don’t believe the power of social media marketing, look at the most powerful brands and celebrities in 2015. They are all expert marketers on social media and use their social media presence in an effective and far reaching way.
With social media marketing you can connect with and maintain a relationship with your existing and future customers like never before.
Always be closing (ABC) is a phrase most people in business are familiar with. The ultimate goal of marketing should be about closing (or making a sale) and this is something that social media can help you do.
Misconceptions about social media marketing
There are many misconceptions about social media marketing but the following are the most common:
1. You have to post a lot and all the time
This is not true at all. You need to post regularly, but not post a lot. Once a day on your main social media platforms such as Twitter or Facebook will be enough to keep your customers updated and in the loop about your business. You must post something relevant that is targeted to your audience. Do not be afraid to let your business persona show and engage with your followers with retweets, messages or tags.
2. Social Media marketing is too slow.
All forms of marketing takes time and effort. Social media marketing is worth the effort and time because you can reach a wider audience and nurture leads. Nurturing leads means maintaining your relationship with potential customers so they become buyers further down the sales funnel. Social media marketing is never too slow when you consider the long term effects of being able to engage with a wider customer base.
3. You cannot target customers like you do in email marketing
Email marketing should be used alongside social media marketing! Both are effective ways to target customers but social media marketing have a wider reach. You can cast a net wider with social media and engage with a community of customers rather than one-to-one as in email marketing. The beauty of social media is that you can engage with celebrities, authority figures in your industry and influential bloggers that will be able to help your business grow.
4. You cannot advertise on social media
This is simply not true. Social media advertising can be just as effective, if not more than Google Adwords. Facebook advertising allows you to target your specific demographic of customers and be more cost effective with your advertising budget. Google Adwords, on the other hand, only helps you target customers by customer intent (they will search when they need answers to their query). With Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin, you can place adverts, or promoted pages that could get you more click-throughs and potentially conversions.
5. Social Media marketing is unpredictable
Many business owners get the wrong impression about social media marketing. They think that their audience on social media are difficult to engage with, or, that their behaviours on social media are unpredictable. The truth is, successful social media marketing requires some trial and error to find the right tone, right persona, right target audience and even the right message. If you look back at the social media interactions of successful brands you will see that their first interactions are clumsy or not as refined. Keep to the goal of reaching more consumers and social media marketing will get results.
Social media marketing can increase your sales
Social media is starting to incorporate ecommerce elements that will make it easier for businesses to sell products or services. Twitter is aiming to launch a buy button for retailers, Facebook has been testing out an impulse purchase button and Instagram is making their photo display format better for ecommerce sites. The integration of ecommerce and social message is a sign of things to come. Businesses would not only generate more leads through social media, they would also be able to convert those leads into buyers!
Invesp claims that social commerce will represent 5% of online retail revenue by the end of 2015. This percentage may seem small but that accounts for $14 billion of sales. Where the larger businesses go, others will follow. Brands such as Burberry are already starting to invest millions in a more seamless and personal retail experience. Smaller ecommerce businesses can also leverage social media to drive revenue.
Here are our best tips for driving sales on social media:
- Don’t be afraid to let your personality show. Your customers like to relate to you and mixing sale messages with personal content might be an effective tactic. Anything that evokes emotions on social media will lead to more engagement and sharing of content.
- Let your sales message take a back seat. Display your brand and business mission statement clearly, but do not overwhelm your audience with advertising content. Content that is helpful, relevant and fresh about your industry would fare better. Your audience might like to learn about insights and your analysis on your particular industry.
- Customers come first. If your customer have queries or any complaints, make sure that you respond quickly and with respect. Complaints will be seen by the public on social media but the way you handle complaints will speak volumes about your customer service and business ethics. Provide a resolution to any complaints, or if the customer is set on destroying your reputation, hire the help of reputation management professionals to quickly remove the content. When customer give you great feedback, be sure to share this.
- Use the hashtag. Using hashtags on Instagram and Twitter will help potential customers find your product and make a purchase. On Twitter you can use hashtags with a tweet that directs people to your ecommerce store. On Instagram, you can use hashtags under your photograph to inspire people to buy your product.
- Do use Twitter scheduling tools. You can schedule tweets and make your tweets more regular by using Hootsuite or Tweetdeck. Your followers will see that you tweet regularly and will feel as if they are being updated around the clock.
- Do use social media mobile apps. Installing the Facebook, Twitter and other apps on your smartphone will make life easier for engaging with your customers on the go. Nowadays, posting on Facebook or Twitter is as convenient as sending a text.
- Integrate a shopping cart to social media pages. The aim is to convert leads into buyers as conveniently as possible. You can integrate a shopping cart for your Facebook page to allow users to start buying immediately. Do not underestimate the power of impulse buying!
Effective Social Media Marketing Tactics to get more exposure
The whole purpose of marketing is to get you more attention and sales. Social media marketing is effective in getting your brand more attention if you do it right. Here are some ways to rise above the noise!
Unleash your creativity
Social media platforms such as Tumblr, Google+, Instagram, Facebook and even LinkedIn allows for longer form content where you can express yourself in creative ways. By creative, we mean through videos, photographs, infographics, gifs and long form blogs (blogs longer than 500 words). You need to have a unique voice, or brand persona in social media marketing and some of the platforms mentioned above allows you to engage with your audience in deeper ways.
Action, more action!
Call to action buttons such as ‘subscribe!’ ‘read more,’ and ‘buy now,’ create a sense of urgency and can direct your audience to do something. Using dynamic tone of voice will get you more attention in social media as opposed to a more passive voice.
Polish your marketing efforts
Create a profile that looks professional, well thought out and interesting. Do not copy and paste the same links and content across all your social media accounts. The beauty of social media marketing is that you can communicate differently on every platform and you should exploit this fully. Creating different high quality content on every platform and doing this on a regular basis will signal to your customers that you are just as meticulous in your product or service.
Having a strong brand persona and being consistent about this will help to cultivate loyal followers. Audiences on social media prefer a consistent and cohesive message that does not confuse them. They like to follow accounts that stay true to their persona. This does not mean that you are being boring; it just means that you stick to what your audience likes and expects of you.
Use imagery more than words
People will remember images and videos longer than words. This is even more effective if the image evokes some emotions. Attaching images, videos or infographics to your content is not an option but a necessity in the busy and noisy world of social media.
Get conversations going
Dive into conversations, respond to questions. take part in discussions, make polls and make yourself known as the expert or voice of authority in your industry. If you cannot become an expert then at least become someone that people can trust and listen to on social media.
Network like a pro
Linkedin is the ideal social platform for professionals. Use advanced search to target profiles you would be interested to employ or form connections with. You introduce yourself through alumni networks, or any other connections you have in common. Who knows, you might find your next VC, hire, customer or mentor on there.
Some people claim to know a formula for viral content. In reality, viral content is not common and can be due to many different factors. Viral content or viral sharing on social media is a very quick way for you to get noticed, but it may not be the best choice for advertising your product or services. You can attempt to create viral content in order to get views for your social media accounts but viewers may not interested in what you are selling.
Run Contests, polls and surveys
People like to take part in contest, polls and surveys where they can win something. This is an effectively tactic on Twitter and Instagram where participants can get prizes and acknowledgement.
Sharing and Caring
Social media is an excellent platform for sharing and helping other users. You should make a habit of retweeting, reposting or sharing your audience’s content on your account. When other users say something nice about your brand, share this with your audience.
Alvomedia is a digital marketing firm providing social media management services for companies. For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org