You may hate it or you may love it. But certainly you cannot ignore Social Media anymore. It has become such an important and powerful tool for digital marketing, and offers such great benefits, that no business can afford to ignore Social Media Marketing any longer.
Social media networks are growing at a healthy pace, and an increasing number of people are getting hooked on to it every day. This translates into a great opportunity for businesses. Being on these networks will allow them to cater to a wider audience than with a website alone. If users find the social media page of a business to be useful, they may visit its website and end up purchasing a product or service from it.
The following are some of the great benefits that you can get from Social Media Marketing:
Having a social media account has become a norm nowadays. The steady growth of the networks reflect this fact.
Consider the following statistics: as per We Are Social Singapore, as of August 2015, there are 2.206 billion users of social media. This translates to a penetration of 30% of the global population, and 70 % of the 3.175 billion Internet users in the world today. 1.925 billion users access their accounts through a mobile device. The number of active users has grown at a healthy pace of 8.7 % over the last 12 month period as compared to a 7.6% growth in the overall number of Internet users.
The following are the number of active users on each of the popular platforms:
Considering the kind of growth that social media has seen in the last five years in particular, one thing is for sure: it is not going to fade away in a hurry. It provides some very robust benefits the users and the businesses alike. Many users find these networks addictive, and find it hard to stay away from these. As per KISSmetrics, 50% of the active users of Facebook log on to it any given day and on an average they spend 700 minutes on Facebook per month. They share more than 30 billion pieces of content on Facebook every month.
Creating a company page is your best bet to do brand building on social media. Choose a social media network that best supports your brand image. Feature your logo prominently on your page and post interesting and engaging content and media of both promotional and non-promotional type. This will enable you to increase the visibility of your brand and attract followers. It will allow you to communicate the vision and values of your company and the benefits that your company offers to the customers very effectively.
A social media platform gives you a great opportunity of connecting with your target audience, including the potential customers. Brand pages show up as recommended pages on the timelines of the users. If the social network sees that you can cater to the interests or needs of certain users, it will show your page to them. In this way, people who have never heard about your company will also get to know about your page and follow the page if they like the content that you post. Hence, you can get access to the huge user base that the social network enjoys, and enhance the visibility and popularity of your brand.
Social media fosters conversations among its users. In your company page, you can post interesting content which the users can view, like and share. They can also comment on those posts, pictures, videos, etc. and ask questions which can be answered by you or any of the other followers of the page. Every social media platform allows you to interact with your followers and some industry influencers in various ways which can help you to enhance your business interests.
Social media allows you to increase customer stickiness. If your customers know that you take your social media efforts seriously, they would look forward to seeing more content from you. They will also regularly participate in the polls, events and hangouts that you might conduct. Once they get attracted to the content that you post, they would look forward to visiting your pages more frequently. Eventually they may move up the sales funnel, and purchase your products.
Need ideas to launch a new product or business, or need suggestions to improve an existing one? Social media can be your best friend. You can ask questions, take feedback for improvement and continue to develop the products. Most of your followers will be more than happy to give you genuine suggestions if they feel that you really value their opinion.
The website is no longer the only way to engage with your customers. Your social media accounts can complement your website in a great way, and even allow you to adopt a completely different communication style for it. For example, while you adopt a formal tone on your website, and an informal or humorous tone on social media. Thus, a combination of your website and social media accounts will allow you to make your marketing communication complete and more effective.
Search engines like Google have started showing results from the social media pages of companies in their search results. So if you have posted content on your social media page featuring a certain keyword, and any user searches for the same keyword on Google, there is a chance that the content might show up in the Search Engine Result Pages. Not only this, when you search for a particular company, along with its website, the social media accounts also feature in the search results. This shows how search and social are getting tightly integrated over time. Hence, optimizing your social media accounts can now help you to feature higher in search results.
In a report released earlier this year by Shareaholic, social networks have overtaken search engines as the major source of traffic to a website in 2014. In fact as high as 31.24% of the traffic to websites were generated by social networks, as compared to 22.71% in the year before. In another survey, it was found that companies with spend a considerable time on social media marketing have seen up to a 74% growth in traffic to their websites. This is a startling statistic and just goes on to prove how important social media is for every company out there.
Most networks allow you to advertise through them. This is an extremely powerful tool for brand building and product promotion. You can customize the delivery of ads by choosing your target audience, delivery frequency and schedule, keywords, etc. The target audience can again be chosen based on their demographics, geographical location, interests, etc. such customization will ensure that your ads are not shown to the wrong audience, and save your marketing dollars from getting wasted.
Social interactions are very personal and often evoke strong emotions in the users. The greatest emotion that every business should try to evoke in them is that of trust. If you interact with your followers with the genuine intention of fulfilling their need or solving their problem, then you will win their trust in no time. And who doesn’t know that we love to do business with people we trust? If your product can fulfill their needs, they might not even think of going to the competitors. In this way you can significantly increase your conversions from your social media marketing efforts.
Over a period of time, you can actively gain deeper insights about your customers from your interactions with them. You can know what they are seeing, liking or disliking, and the type of content that is able to get them to engage with you. Over a period of time these insights will enable you to optimize your content to maximise the response that you get from them. Most social media networks have inbuilt analytics tools that you can use. You may also use an external tool like Google Analytics or the Buffer App to power your social marketing efforts.
The starting point in social media marketing is to understand which networks would suit your business. While there are many networks that are available, not all of them might suit you. Build your presence in a few networks initially, and consider expanding to the other networks at a later stage. You can either manage these efforts in-house or outsource it to a digital marketing agency to manage your Social Media Marketing activities your behalf.
Anirban is the CEO of Inovaticus Marketing Solutions. He is a passionate Digital Marketer with a keen interest in technology, finance, and movies. He is an MBA in Finance and is certified in Digital Marketing from Digital Marketing Institute, Ireland. He is also a certified in Inbound Marketing by Hubspot, Google AdWords and Bing Ads by Microsoft.