Let’s face it. If you’re running an online business and you don’t have social media you’re doing something very wrong. The statistics speak for themselves.
As you can see, social media has become king having even surpassed television in terms of ad spend. If you haven’t jumped on the social media train yet, you, my friend, are in the stone ages. Even if your business is thriving without the aid of social media, imagine what would happen to your sales if you put together a Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter page. Heck, if your audience is on the younger side you’re going to want to create a Snapchat as well.
What is Social Media Marketing
First, it’s important to understand that social media spans across multiple platforms. I’m talking mobile, email, tablets, computers, etc. Keep in mind that a campaign directed towards mobile users may not be as effective for desktop users and vice versa. So, what is social media marketing anyways?
Social media marketing is the action or business of executing, promoting, researching, planning and selling products or services through social media. We already know of the most popular social media platforms out there: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. But you can’t forget about Linkedin, YouTube, WhatsApp, and Snapchat. Yeah, practically any site or app that allows you to interact and promote to a group of online users is considered social media. At its core, social media is a medium of communication that allows its users to share and create content and participate in social networking.
Strong social media strategies are a lot like onions – they have layers. You can’t expect to Tweet twice a day and expect customers to come flocking to your business. A complete strategy will involve multiple steps:
- Monitoring and reacting to your audience
- Leveraging the marketing tools out there to make a bigger impact
- Preserving the reputation of your brand
- Publishing content that will provide a lot of value to your audience
- Utilizing a strategy that will drive results
Results are a significant keyword here because no matter what you do, if you don’t end up with results, you’ve essentially wasted your time. Keep in mind; results don’t necessarily have to mean you’ve made a sale. No, results come in many different forms: making more people aware of your brand, building your authority, and prompting people to trust that you’ll do right by them. In most cases, businesses rarely achieve sales without directly promoting a product anyways. Social media is used largely as a word of mouth platform that can be used to connect people to businesses, and that’s the true power of social media.
Explode your business with social media
Now we get to the good part. Social media is likely one of the best things that could have ever happened to online businesses and you’d be really missing out on a tremendous opportunity if you don’t use these powerful online platforms to supercharge your business. Let’s take a look at 7 actionable ways that social media can explode your business.
Build your brand
Brand building. It’s not the easiest thing in the world to build up, but once your brand is established, you’ll become unstoppable. The thing about social media is that it’s largely driven by word of mouth. Let’s look at an example:
Notice the amount of interest this post was able to generate from word of mouth alone. Also, notice how many people tagged their friends. Let’s say that your cousin also expressed an interest in this particular style of hoody. After coming across this post, you would likely be prompted to tag your cousin right away. Now imagine thousands of people tagging their friends and family. As you can see, the effect is exponential and eventually word of your product, and subsequently, your brand will spread like wildfire.
Pro tip: it’s useful to encourage your audience to tag a friend or two during a product promotion
Word of mouth is hands down the most effective form of advertising. Who would you rather believe; you (the business) telling someone to buy your products or services or a trusted friend or family member who tried the product or service themselves, gave it their seal of approval and passed it along to you. The answer is obvious.
Save on advertising costs
This is a big one. Gone are the days where businesses have to spend thousands of dollars on newspaper ads or radio spots to get exposure. The world now revolves around advertising on social media platforms. Ask any social media consultant; the vast majority of your budget should go directly into Facebook advertising (though that’s changing). And boy, do you save money. Once you’ve zeroed in your ads, you can spend as little as pennies per click during a Facebook ad campaign. In fact, you may even pay a “percentage” of a penny per click. That’s insane, right?
Why Facebook and not the other big platforms? Sure, you could always advertise on Twitter, but it doesn’t allow you the same in-depth targeting as Facebook advertising does. Instagram is actually becoming a more viable advertising platform, so that’s yet another platform where you can invest your advertising dollars. Check out these guides on how to set up Facebook and Instagram ads with ease.
Customer service platform
If your customers have a problem and they call in to resolve the issue the conversation is typically one-on-one. This is how it typically works: You fix their issues, the customer is either satisfied or dissatisfied, you part ways and that’s it. As I’ve previously stated the entire interaction is one-on-one. However, were you aware that your social media can double as a customer service platform? Why this is so important? First off, it’s free. I’m not saying to fire your customer service reps or to interact solely with your clients on social media, but it’s fantastic to know that you can interact with your customers in more than one way. Two, and most importantly, communicating with your customers on social media allows others to see how you publicly treat your customers. Of course, that’s for better and for worse, so keep that in mind.
Honestly, Twitter operates perfectly as a customer service platform. With Twitter, you can tweet as much as you want all day long without issues. I’ve seen some people Tweet over forty times in under an hour! Crazy, right? Imagine posting forty times to Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube. That’s called spam ladies and gentlemen. However, posting in volume on Twitter is considered acceptable behavior. With your ability to post in such a large volume you’ll be able to deal with a large number of customer service issues in a satisfactory manner.
Build a following
Imagine that everything you do is being monitored by a loyal group of people who can’t wait to engage with you. Sounds kind of creepy in a real-life application, but in Social Media land the bigger your following, the more authority you’ll command. The best way to do that is to provide content that’s full of value (such as tips and tricks or exciting news). Over time, your community will begin to trust you. Trust and authority are two important factors when it comes to making a purchase decision. If you command both from your audience, don’t be surprised if your sales start shooting through the roof.
Now, different platforms require different strategies for fast growth. Expeditious growth on Facebook is going to require a bit of a financial investment. Sure, there are free ways to go about growing your Facebook page, but if you’re focusing on growing quickly, a budget of $5 a day will grow your page quickly and effectively. Thankfully, Instagram and Twitter can grow for free. The fastest method that I’ve found is to find an account that’s similar to yours and to follow their followers. This growth concept works because following someone typically means that they’ll follow you back. However, if they don’t follow you back within a few days simply unfollow that individual. From there you rinse and repeat the process and watch your page explode with growth! With this method, I’ve grown pages from 0 to 6,000 plus followers in only a few short months.
*Notice the Following vs Followers ratio
Boost traffic and SEO
It’s getting harder and harder to rank well on Google. Without a quality search engine ranking, don’t expect much in terms of free traffic. However, posting a link to a Facebook page (alongside with your SEO efforts) that commands 10k followers will give you quite the significant traffic boost. Imagine if even a quarter of 10k followers actually followed your link. That’s a massive boost! Check out this link to learn more about implementing a social media strategy that will drive excellent search engine results.
We’ve briefly touched on this subject already, but social media can boost your sales in a major way. Whether you use advertising, giveaways, or simply post links on your social media page having a captive audience that’s interested in your product or service will inevitably have a positive effect on your bottom line. One thing you should keep in mind is the personnel you employ to convince your audience to make a purchase.
It’s one thing to have your marketing department grow and expand your brand on social media, but how effective are they at making sales? This study proves that salespeople who incorporate social media into their sales strategy typically perform better than those who don’t. Furthermore, your sales team knows how to handle certain situations (such as managing negative feedback), because they deal with people on a regular basis. Your marketing department may not be equipped for such situations and may not respond in a proper manner. Training your sales department on how to use social media will definitely take your business to the next level.
Expand your digital exposure
You can’t expect to open up your doors for business and expect people to come flocking to you in droves. It won’t happen. First off, no one will know that you exist. Second, you’re going to have to capture the right “type” of people. Managing a community on social media will help you to gain the digital exposure that you need for your business to thrive online.
Think of your community as brand advocates. As long as you provide value to your community, they will continue to spread the word to their friends and family about your business. Hopefully, those people will continue to spread the word and so on and so forth until thousands of people are raving about your business.
Use social media for your business today
Know that social media can take your business to the next level. However, it’s going to take a lot of work and discipline before you ever see a payoff. Work hard, implement the right strategy, and there should be no reason why social media can’t revolutionize your business.