Leveraging social media marketing can increase your customer base significantly. According to the Social Media Examiner's most recent report on social media marketing, in 2016, 90 percent of marketers stated that they found social media marketing to be important to their business. The same report stated that 80 percent claimed their social media efforts increased website traffic.
However, it can be a challenge to start a social media campaign without any insight or experience. Ninety-seven percent of entrepreneurs currently participate in social media; however only 85 percent were not sure how to benefit from it, according to Social Media Examiner.
Using social media marketing optimally includes understanding its power, setting goals, planning social media marketing campaigns, and strategically and consistently utilizing these platforms.
What Is Social Media Marketing?
Marketing on social media platforms consists of creating a presence on numerous social networks to achieve branding and marketing communications goals. It is a form of online marketing that primarily includes activities like sharing videos, content, and images for the purpose of marketing.
Planning and Goal Setting
Before you create your first social media marketing campaign, set business goals and devise a plan to achieve them. If you do not already have set goals for your business, it is important for you to create them.
Consider what you are trying to achieve when marketing on social media sites, who your target audience is, where they spend their time, and how they are using social media. Additionally, determine what message you want to get across to your target audience.
You can use social media marketing to achieve key business goals, including:
- Boosting website traffic
- Creating engagement and communication opportunities with key audiences
- Converting site visitors
- Establishing a positive brand identity and association
- Building brand recognition
You can only measure your social media ROI once you have established your goals.
Other Helpful Tips
Some other tips that will be helpful in building a foundation that will serve your brand, customers, and bottom line include:
- Provide Quality. Your social media efforts can pay off better by by having 100 followers who read, talk, about and share your content, rather than 1000 who disappear after your initial contact.
- Have Patience. Success in social media marketing takes consistency and time. Although it is possible to make some quick sales or get some business partnerships on your first attempt, it is far better to make the commitment to the long haul.
- Hang With Influencers. Find out who the online influencers are in your industry and hang out with them virtually. Respond to their tweets and Facebook posts, and eventually they might do the same for you. These will be the people with quality audiences who might just be interested in what you are offering. Make a connection with these people and begin building relationships with them.
- Provide Value. If you are using social media exclusively for promoting your products or business opportunity, people will begin to ignore you. You have to add value to the mix. Keep your focus more on creating valuable content and less on conversions.
Create a business Facebook page. By adding a business page, you can further your conversations with your audience by posting images, articles and videos that is industry related. You should also pay careful attention to the layout when using Facebook since the visual component is an important part of the overall Facebook experience.
One of Facebook's newest competitors is Google+. This platform provides the same casual, fun atmosphere and allows you to share videos, photos, links and content. You can use Google+ circles to segment your following into smaller target groups. This will enable you to share content with specific followers instead of all your followers. Another great feature is the ability to host Hangouts and video conferences.
The Twitter platform lets you broadcast updates (tweets) in 140 characters or less. You can begin by following other tweeters that are in your related industry, which will hopefully garner you followers in return. When making tweets, it's best to mix them up a bit between official-related tweets (discounts, specials, etc.), news tweets and, value tweets. Throw in a little bit of fun and humorous tweets as well. If a customer says something nice about you, be sure to retweet it and always answer any questions that people ask you.
If your business lends itself to product demonstrations or service explanations, take advantage of the popularity of video. YouTube is a fabulous platform for many types of businesses to embrace and proper from.
Would your business benefit from posting and sharing images? Many small and large businesses alike would, including hair salons, web designers, jewelry stores, restaurants, event planners, and many, many more can find that Pinterest helps them draw in and engage with existing and prospective customers.
While many businesses can benefit from LinkedIn, it is especially beneficial for B2B marketing. It is a great platform for small businesses to reach out to other businesses who may be seeking their services. It’s also a great tool for recruiting employees.
Social media marketing will do much more than increase your website traffic and sales. It will also allow you to get a better understanding and learn from your target audience. However, when done right, social marketing can lead to increased traffic, better conversions, and more customers.