The changes in Google’s search algorithms have put paid ads on top of the search results right in the middle of the page. No matter how hard you try at ranking higher in organic searches for your business and popular keywords, the top spots will be taken by those with big bucks to advertise. Whilst this brings more revenue for Google, it also drives businesses away to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms. Naturally, businesses have started including social media in their strategy as it drives traffic to their website and boosts sales without paying the piper at Google.
Social media platforms now have an unprecedented number of users. Marketers have seen their potential for growing business and they have started using it to get more customers and make more sales. Here is how social media works for you:
Social media drives targeted traffic to your website whilst boosting your website’s SEO at the same time.
It is the most convenient tool to build a relationship with clients and business contacts. Building a relationship with customers has never been easier.
It allows you to react promptly to any problem.
Improves brand loyalty.
It is easy to stay up to date with what your competitors are doing.
Find customers you were unaware existed and grow your audience.
Having a profile or brand page is free. You only need to pay for well targeted ads and improved visibility.
Social equals mobile. In a day and age when everyone frequently browses the internet on their smartphones, being present there means your brand reaches all those mobile users.
Bigger reach of any campaign or product promotion.
Representing your brand on available social channels will guarantee your audience is aware of your existence. Interact with your audience, create catchy campaigns and enjoy the benefits of improved sales.
The most obvious platforms to use are Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, but Google+, Pinterest and Snapchat should not be neglected.
Facebook is by far the biggest and most popular social media platform; it currently has over 2 billion users. Not only does it have a growing network but people also use it to engage with the community. A personal account is required to create a brand page, but it is a great place to start with your business promotion on social media. Facebook allowed the creation of brand pages in 2007. This was when brands started experimenting with social media as part of their marketing plan. Facebook pages enable you to:
Share information with your followers;
Interact with customers;
Create marketing campaigns
Twitter is easy to use once you get past the challenge of limiting your tweets to 140 characters. Businesses have found a good deal of success on this platform, especially since they started incorporating animated images and short videos in their messages. It can be a powerful marketing tool.
Pinterest is great for visualizing your ideas and campaigns, which is then easily linked to your Facebook page. DIY and craft companies should not neglect it. However, keep in mind that the majority of users are female. If that is your demographic, go full speed at it.
Google Plus is slightly less popular than the ones previously mentioned but as this is part of Google any interaction with Google+ will help your SEO rankings.
Linkedin: Why? Look at the following statistics:
- LinkedIn operates the world’s largest professional network on the Internet with more than 313 million members in over 200 countries.
- Professionals are signing up to join LinkedIn at a rate of more than two new members per second.
- There are over 39 million students and recent college graduates on LinkedIn. They are LinkedIn’s fastest-growing demographic.
- LinkedIn counts executives from all 2013 Fortune 500 companies as members
- Its corporate talent solutions are used by 94 of the Fortune 100 companies.
- There are more than 1.5 million unique publishers actively using the LinkedIn Share button on their sites to send content into the LinkedIn platform.
Convinced? Better start using linkedin. Build pages, start groups, participate in groups. You will be impressed.
YouTube: Possibly the most diverse platforms as it allows you to post content in video format. Done the right way, this can take your business to a whole new level. Proof are YouTube influencers. Simply take a look at all the big brands using YouTube personalities as the face of their brand.
Let us give you a more specific example of social media’s importance for marketing. We will discuss The Blonde Salad, a blog started by the Italian fashionista, Chiara Ferragni. Chiara started her blog back in 2009 as a place to share photos of her outfits and style. Things kicked off with the help of social media. Now, she is a blogger fashion influencer like no other, attends all relevant fashion events, has her own company with 11 employees, her own shoe line, ecommerce store, book, has been on the front cover of all major fashion and lifestyle publications and her business success story has been used as a case study at the Harvard Business School for two years in a row. She has a huge following on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, Bloglovin. If there is a pro at creating a strong media presence by interacting with customers online, that is definitely Chiara. Today, the TBS Crew, now comprising Ferragni and ten others, command fees ranging from €10,000 to €50,000 for “Special Projects” which can also include “consulting for brands on social media” comprise about 60 percent of TBS overall revenues. We encourage you to find inspiration from this great team.
What we have noticed, in Chiara’s example and others, is that the key is not to repeat the same strategy over and over. Fresh and original ideas are required for success. Companies that fail in adopting this approach will fall behind.
In order to gain a better understanding of what is going on professionally with social media marketing, we are going to introduce some statistics that will also prove how important social media is for marketers at the moment. Most marketers are using social media to develop loyal fans (72%) and gain marketplace intelligence (71%). – A significant 64% of marketers are using social media for 6 hours or more and 37% for 11 or more hours weekly – Of those who have been using social media for at least 1 year, 69% found it useful for building a loyal fan base. – More than half of marketers who’ve been using social media for at least three years report it has helped them improve sales – 74% of marketers who spend 40+ hours using social media per week earn new business through their efforts. The previous statistics are from the Social Media Industry report (Stelzner, 2014).
To sum up, social media can be used to place targeted ads, create a rich customer experience, enable you to share content in a fast and easy manner and make running campaigns super easy as content can be targeted to the location you need. In other words, your business will benefit from social media on multiple fronts.
What do you think of social media as a marketing tool? Let us know in the comments below.