Social media is not a fad. It is here to stay. And it will only get bigger and more influential over the next few years. If your business is not on social media, you are tremendously undercutting its growth potential by not having an active online presence.
The growth of social media coincided with the emergence of mobile technology as the dominant source of Internet traffic. Consumers literally have access to information in the palm of their hands.
Social media has also given consumers a voice on the Internet. Advances in smartphone technology have made it easier to share, post comments, opinions and images on various platforms.
Thus, social media has become the bridge for business and the consumer to reach out and interact with one another.
How fast is social media growing?
- There are more than 3.7 Billion on the Internet on a daily basis; 2 Billion are on social media.
- Mobile technology accounts for 65% of online traffic.
- It is estimated that there will be 6.1 Billion smartphones by the year 2020.
- The average Internet user has 7 social media accounts.
- 97% of Internet users from the ages of 16 to 64 have logged on to at least one social media platform in a month.
- 1 Million new active mobile social users are added everyday to the current total of 1.65 Billion active social account users.
67% of Internet users are on social media every day. That is almost 30% of the world’s population. And every day the number of social media users increases by 1 Million.
If you want your business to be competitive, you must improve its visibility by building an online presence. Social media marketing is one of the best ways to do it.
Don’t think that you are too late in the game to start a social media campaign for your business. With social media, the popular saying “Better late than never” rings loud and clear.
6 Benefits of Social Media for Your Business
In its early days, social media was primarily used as a medium for connecting and sharing with friends and family. It was dismissed as a fad; a pastime or hobby for kids who were fascinated by this technology that allowed them to build communities and interact with them in real time regardless of location.
If the old adage was “sharing is caring”, with social media, “sharing is empowering”. Social media has shifted the balance of power to the consumer.
Hollywood movies like “The Hunger Games”, “Twilight”, “Monsters vs Aliens”, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” and “Toy Story 3” became blockbusters through smart and savvy social media marketing.
If you can harness the power and influence of social media, you can open up your business to a multitude of benefits:
1. Increase Brand Awareness
Your brand is how you want your market to perceive you. Social media is a great vehicle for delivering your message to your target audience. The more active you are in distributing content, the higher the probability of gaining more followers.
2. Learn More About Your Customers
Social media gives consumers a platform to engage with business in real time. You can gain valuable insights on how your customer thinks; the issues that matter to them the most and their immediate concerns.
You can do this simply by taking into account the content that generates the most likes and shares. Another way is to engage with them in comment threads.
3. Laser-Focused Target Advertising
Social media advertising is a highly efficient way to promote your products and services. They are quite inexpensive and your content is delivered directly to your target audience.
For example, if you want to post ads in LinkedIn, you can set the distribution parameters according to location, industry, job title and gender. At Facebook, you can choose the demographic qualities and specific online behaviors that may patronize your ad.
4. Improve Conversion Rates
We all know the value of “hands-on management”. Social media allows you to do just that by regularly engaging with your audience. By establishing a high touch approach, you build a level of trust and transparency with your customers. 75% of businesses that used social media increased sales within 12 months.
5. Humanize Your Brand
Relationship- building is a powerful force in business especially in this day and age of social media. Your relationship with the customer should not end once money has been exchanged for a product or service. On the contrary, you should take steps to nurture the relationship over the next few years.
Happy and satisfied customers can be a steady source of recurring income. And the cost of generating new revenue from old customers are lower in comparison to new customers. They can also be great ambassadors for your brand. Another way to view social media is “virtual word-of-mouth”.
6. Take Your Customer Service to the Next Level
Businesses tend to focus most of their efforts on new market creation that they have overlooked the value of current market retention. You’ve already sold them to your brand. Your attention should now shift to the overall experience.
But take note of the following social media statistics on customer service:
- 89% of social media messages to brands are ignored.
- The average response time for a brand to reply to a user query is 10 hours. A user will only wait an average of 4 hours for a reply to his or her query.
- 71% of end-users who had a great social media customer service experience with a brand will recommend it to others.
Customer service gives your end-user the means to establish a personal connection with your brand. This is where you build trust and reputation.
Take good care of your customers via social media and they will take care of you in the same way.
6 of the Most Popular Social Media Networks
Social media platforms have mushroomed in the World Wide Web. Some have come and gone. Others have been acquired. Through it all, these six social media networks have remained the most popular because of their ability to consistently bring in results for your marketing and promotional campaigns:
- Facebook – Need we say more? Of the 2 Billion people on social media everyday, nearly 1.8 Billion are on Facebook. Easy to navigate with a host of options, Facebook is a wonderful starting point for your social media campaign.
- Twitter – With only 140 characters per tweet, Twitter is a great way to send multiple but short updates. It currently has 328 Million active users and is frequently ranked among the top 10 websites in the United States.
- LinkedIn – If you want to connect with key figures or influencers in your industry, LinkedIn is the way to go. You can customize your search parameters and qualify your connections by age, position, gender, location and industry. 467 Million people have signed up with LinkedIn.
- Instagram – This social media platform is owned by Facebook and currently has 700 Million subscribers. It is a purely visual network but provides you with amazing photo and video editing features.
- Pinterest – Similar to Instagram, Pinterest emphasizes visual content. With Pinterest you can save, display and categorize content on a virtual bulletin board with the use of digital “pins”. There are 175 Million active users of Pinterest.
- YouTube – With over a billion monthly users, YouTube is a fantastic social media network to upload video content. It is now owned by Google which means you can use Google AdSense to make money on the number of views generated by your video.
There are other popular social media networks to consider such as Reddit, Google+ and Tumblr.
The big question is, “Which one is for you?”
Which Social Media Network is for Your Business?
You don’t have to open an account in every social media network. In fact when starting out a social media campaign, you should pick out only 2 to 3 platforms to begin with. There are two reasons for limiting the number of platforms:
- You won’t spread out your campaign too thin; you can execute all activities with more focus and according to schedule.
- Social media networks have their own advantages and disadvantages; not all platforms will generate the results you want.
So how do you know which social media network is right for your business?
Facebook is unquestionably the largest social community on the Internet. But does popularity alone merit its consideration in your social media campaign?
As we mentioned earlier, if you’re starting out a campaign, Facebook is a great way to get your feet wet. You can set up a company page and customize your Facebook ads according to preferred demographics. The site is very user friendly and with its acquisition of Instagram, Facebook gives you another conduit for video content.
If you are targeting an older demographic; ages 25 to 54, Facebook will be an effective medium to deliver your marketing content. This age bracket composes 61% of Facebook’s users and 44% of them check their page frequently throughout the day.
If Facebook appears to be losing its grip on younger users; only 9% still frequent the site, not so with Twitter. This is a great social platform to use if your business caters to a younger market, both men and women.
Its short messaging format appeals to those who frequently search for topic- based news or quick but timely insights.
The best way to optimize the power of Twitter is to engage frequently with your audience. Thus, Twitter is a valuable tool at the early stages of your social media campaign when you are trying to acquire followers.
LinkedIn offers a completely different vibe compared to other social media networks. You might say everyone who is on LinkedIn at any particular time is still on work mode.
This is a fantastic network for you to focus your campaign on if you are in the B2B industry. LinkedIn account users have their own blogging platform which allows you the medium to share your expertise and provide valuable insights to those in your community.
LinkedIn is particularly effective in helping you find clients or end users for your business. Stay active with your blogging, frequently engage your targeted audience and you will soon have professionals reaching out to you.
4. Instagram and Pinterest
We paired these two social networks because both Instagram and Pinterest are valuable for businesses with image or visual driven products. Visual content is a powerful vehicle for delivering your message.
According to a study, 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual and those images are processed 60,000 times faster than text. Using Instagram or Pinterest is important for building your brand.
But if you had to choose between the two?
Choose Pinterest if your business caters to women. 42% of the female online shopping segment use Pinterest. Women aged 18 to 49 account for 62% of Pinterest’s users.
If you have the resources to produce great and compelling videos, sign up for your own YouTube channel. With videos, you can deliver your message within 3 minutes and viewers get the entire experience: sight, sound and feel. It has a more profound impact on your audience than text content.
You can also run your PPC ads in YouTube and be assured of a large and targeted audience. If you want to learn more about PPC ads, please refer to our article “SEO vs PPC: Which One is Better for Your Business?”
Social media marketing is a proven way of building your business and establishing your brand. But it is not an exercise that you should go in blindly. In the same way that it could help your business grow, it could also damage your reputation if the campaign is improperly handled.
Here are a few examples of botched social media marketing:
- United Airlines – After security personnel forcibly dragged a passenger off his seat, CEO Oscar Muniz issued a statement in social media blaming the victim while simultaneously praising security. United Airlines lost billions in revenues over the next few weeks.
- McDonald’s – The company Twitter page sent out a tweet calling President Donald J. Trump “a disgusting excuse of a President”. It turned out their account was hacked but the backlash showed how an ill-advised tweet can affect your brand.
- Adidas – The company tweeted “Congratulations! You Survived the Boston Marathon” for those who completed the iconic race. It was an innocent but poor choice of words which triggered memories of the 2013 bombing that killed and injured several participants and bystanders.
If you want to avoid these mistakes, it would be best to outsource your social media marketing to an experienced third party.
We’ve managed a number of social media campaigns for clients and make it a point to review, research, test and double-check all content before distributing them online.
Are you thinking about running a social media marketing campaign? Give us a call or drop us an email. We can go into detail on how we can design, implement and track your social media campaign for the best results.