11 June 2019
11 June 2019
Your business needs social media! Did you know, HubSpot Reported that 90% of all Marketers say that social media marketing has increased their business exposure?
Or that 66% of marketers that spend at least 6 hours on social networking sites per week have seen more leads? No matter what you sell and who you sell it to, using social media as a marketing tool can help you grow your brand and pad your wallet.
“At this point, not having an active social media presence is like pulling out Motorola V3 at a business meeting full of millenials and not understanding why Elliot keeps getting all the leads.”
To be fair, some people do still own flip phones; my Grandma has my mums old Samsung! My Grandma also thinks that Facebook is the kid’s way of saying ‘book cover’. She isn’t going to be the target audience for social media marketing, but before you start asking, “well do I really need it?” the answer is yes, yes you do.
And here are some of the most compelling reasons why…
Whatever industry you’re in, whoever your audience is, the likelihood is, is a substantial portion of your customers and leads are on social media. According to Hootsuite, there are more than 3.48 billion people using social media – 9% up from 2018. That means 45% of the total world population are using social media.
Having access to all those customers helps you boost traffic, particularly for new site content. When you post a new blog or update your homepage, it can take a while to get traction with Google. That means very few customers will know the new content is there until the next time they’re searching for your product or service.
“Social media posts provide an opportunity for the public to find your new new web content and click through to your site.”
Because of the way that most social media platforms algorithms work, if people have shown an interest in your product or even your competitor’s products, social media ads, for example, can help your product show up in the feeds of followers and potentials too. It won’t just boost your traffic numbers, it’ll attract the right kind of people too.
Social media marketing can be an insanely good way of driving users to your website and create brand awareness. It’s not just the small brands that know this is a quick and easy way to get customers to buy their products; take a look at this Instagram post of Selena Gomez drinking from a bottle of coke.
This was the MOST LIKED picture on Instagram for over 204 days… with over 7 million likes – which remember, is just a vanity metric – the engagement would have been through the roof! They used Selena as a social media influencer and built an influencer marketing campaign around her already huge fan base. Coke realised that Selena’s followers were their social networking target audience and used that knowledge to create a remarkable campaign.
Who wouldn’t want to capitalise on that?
Little search engine crawlers (some people call them spiders) know which pages are consistently earning you traffic. They also know which are just floating out in the internet, forgotten and ignored like old toys. Although your killer content strategy is the most important factor in your search rankings, driving traffic to your optimised pages will help them climb quicker.
You can easily re-share evergreen content in addition to sharing new content too. We recommend that each post be re-shared once a month – a task that doesn’t need to be time-consuming either! We use HubSpot’s social media scheduling tool – you can set anywhere from a day to an entire month all at once. And that’s it done!
Part of what makes social channels like Twitter and Instagram effective marketing tools is the interaction you have with your client base. You have access to pretty much every aspect of their lives; how they feel about who won the football, if they have children, what age they are, what are their pain points etc.
These insights have obvious marketing benefits – when you understand your customers, you can write more personalised content and more compelling posts. This will quickly lead to more traffic. But the benefits sometimes don’t just stop there! By identifying customer pain points, you can improve your sales conversions and redefine your product strategy.
Luckily for you, consumers see social media almost like a friend, not a marketing machine. Which at the start of your social media strategy, can be quite challenging. A lot of companies instinctively take the hard sell approach, inundating their followers with discount code offers, new product announcements and customer reviews. Then, when the account only brings in modest traffic gains, they assume social just isn’t a good fit for their brand.
It’s not because they don’t like the brand, they just don’t want to be pitched to. They want authentic engagement. When you stop seeing social as a way to sell your brand and start seeing it as a way to connect to your customers, you’ll transform your brand. You can start by treating your social media as a way to interact with customers, answer their questions, entertain and inform them with relevant content and even form bonds over shared interests. Don’t be put off offering them discount codes and showcasing your product or services too, it’s about finding the right balance.
You’ll build connections with industry leaders and influencers, providing great stories for reporters, top-notch products for promoters and interesting topics for experts to share with their followers. Over time, you’ll become more than a brand — you’ll become a part of a community.
And that comes with serious ROI. If you’re following social media marketing best practices, you’ll get a ton of exposure. That exposure brings in new leads. Over time, those leads become followers, followers become customers and customers become dedicated brand promoters, continuing the cycle.
It seems a little bit strange to advertise on social media. Almost frowned up. But actually, you’ll be surprised by how many brands do it. Social media platforms offer highly targeted ads, which can be customised around your customers’ needs. Facebook ads, for example, can target customers by factors such as age, location, education level, jobs, hobbies, industry and even behaviour.
Whatever metric you use to measure the success of an event, it will always demand effective promotion. And that promotion always benefits from an active social media presence.
There’s being quick and then there’s being social media quick. Getting back to your customers “when you can” isn’t good enough anymore. If there’s a problem with your product or service, your customers expect you to solve it right away.
A Sprout Social study found that customers want responses to social media companies within four hours, yet the average response time is 10 hours.
It’s not just your customers that lose out either, it directly affects your profits first. A Twitter study showed that customers are willing to pay more for future tickets when airlines respond to their tweets within 6 minutes.
And by proven, I mean proven. Study after study has shown that people reward companies that respond to customer requests and complaints quickly. A strong and engaged social media marketing presence will help you keep customers happy, and keep your public image positive.
It’s a well-known fact that brands with active social media profiles have more loyal customers and it’s easy to understand why: when you’re engaging with the public on social media, you’re building a connection and rapport. You as the company, are taking time to provide your followers with credible and useful information, help and entertainment without really asking for anything in return.
Well, they know that ultimately you want to make the sale BUT you give them something for free even without purchasing anything. This giving and not receiving attitude shows customers that you value them, not just as a source of revenue, but as people. Customers will begin to see that you appreciate them, that you care for them, that your company has values and a personality, and vision. In a competitive market, that can make a huge difference.
Yes, that’s a lame attempt at a play on words (read: George slew the dragon, in this case, George is your strategy and the dragon is your competition… it’s not clever if I have to explain it). The crowded world of social media branding can feel very intimidating, as most brands do have at least a token amount of social presence. At least 91% of retail brands are using at least two social media platforms, so what hope do you have of getting noticed?
Don’t worry, it’s easier than you think.
“Bigger brands may have a sophisticated social media presence, but SMEs rarely do.”
They start a few social media channels because it’s cheap, if not free. Plus, everyone else is going it. BUT they do so without investing in a social media strategy, so rarely make a big impact. They post irregularly, rarely engage with followers and don’t develop a brand voice. Social media remains essentially just a way for them to throw ads at customers now and then. And when that strategy doesn’t yield results, they put even less effort into it.
The truth is, just posting willy nilly and doing it because you think you’re supposed to won’t get you anywhere.
You’re better off with one really solid social media channel than your competitor is with four ones that are randomly posted on. If you take time to develop your voice and your strategy, post regularly and respond to messages and comments promptly, you can build a following your lazy competitors can’t. Create a strong social media campaign and you will reap the rewards.
Everyone who has access to the internet and is over the age of 16 can start a social media account for free. Most SMEs can dedicate time to maintaining it or outsource it to inbound marketers (like me!).
And obviously big brands already have an advantage, their names are better recognised, their budgets are huge and they generally have more influences who already want to engage with the brand.
SMEs have one big advantage that most big brands don’t: Authenticity.
If your company started in a bedroom with just a piece of paper and a pen, tell your followers about it, it’s inspiring. If your company helps your community or you have something new and innovative for early adopters, shout about it. Your followers can resonate with your brand, they understand it, they like it. You don’t need a massive ad budget to be authentic.
Ultimately, you don’t need to beat all your competitors at their own game, but having a bit of ambition and a touch of contentiousness. Find a way to connect with your own market in a way that builds your brand. If you’ve got a great team, a strong brand voice and a solid product or service, you’re already most of the way to success. You just need to utilise social media to make sure your followers choose you over your competitors.
In our media-saturated culture, it’s hard to tell when fate will throw a great opportunity at your brand. Sometimes your brand gets mentioned on a TV show or tweeted about by an influencer. Other times, there’s a news story, meme, or pop-culture phenomenon that fits perfectly with your branding.
If you can jump in and engage with the story while everyone is paying attention, it can lead to viral posts, traffic boosts, press coverage and greater visibility for your brand. This strategy, known as newsjacking, works best if you get your voice out there while it’s still breaking news. If you join in too late, you’ll just look like another company trying to ride the trend.
To be one of the first voices out there, you need an active social media team (or someone that’s reaaaally on it). Not only will that enable you to track and react quickly to current events, but it will also ensure your message gets out, so that reporters, influencers and followers see your take while the story is still hot.
OK so firstly, if done right, social marketing WILL get your more sales.
Did you know that 78% of (American) consumers have discovered retail products to buy on Facebook?
That’s A LOT. But it’s not surprising when you stay in front of your customer base. Through social media, you can always be there and even if they don’t initially buy from you, they might remember you for when they need your product or service. It also gives you the ability to influence their buying decisions at multiple points along the sales funnel, from amplifying the reach of white papers and blogs targeting top of the funnel, to answering customer questions and addressing pain points, to incentivising buyers with discount codes.
You can use social media to search out for customers who are looking for information related to your product – even if they’ve never heard of your company before.
For example, on HubSpot, you can look set up streams, following specific keywords related to your industry or products. When you spot people mentioning those products, you can direct them to your site or explain to them how your product or service can address their needs.
This can be really useful for customers who don’t even know you exist. By reaching out to them with new information, you can not only influence their sales decision, but you can also show customers how your brand is growing to better meet their needs.
Not like a policeman or your mum, more like a knowledgable and reliable Prime Minster (if only that were possible). From joining Facebook groups to answering Quora questions, social media provides ample opportunities to demonstrate your expertise. By answering questions, giving advice and sharing relevant information, you can show your leadership.
If you use this strategy regularly, it can greatly increase your brand’s reach. Your answers to common questions will come up in Google search, as well as in particular social channels. Other users will start to retweet or share your posts or refer to friends and colleagues to your social team when they have questions. And new leads, impressed with your helpful information, will be more likely to visit your site and purchase your products.
All without asking them to ever spend a penny!
The UK average cost-per-click of Google AdWords, on the Search Network, is between £0.66 and £1.32. Depending on the keyword targeted, you can end up paying a lot more for a single click. Cost per acquisition – the amount of money businesses spend on ads to acquire a single customer – varies even more.
With social ads, however, you have a lot more control over when your message gets amplified, which means you can spend your advertising budget more strategically by focusing on posts that matter most to your audience.
That’s not to say that Google Ads aren’t amazing – they are – but through targeted boosted posts, you can hone in on customers and do it in an effective and economically viable manner.
I might be a little biased, admittedly, but no marketing tool or technique plays a bigger or more fun role in influencing your brand perception than social media. Regularly interacting with followers, thought leaders etc. can increase your profile, improve your public image and give your brands the sales it deserves.
You can learn more about how Social Media fits into the wider picture of Inbound Marketing here!
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