Image Credit: Social Media Examiner
Social Media offers a number of exciting opportunities for companies to connect with customers in a more personal and meaningful way than ever before. Social Media in marketing is a communications tool that makes a company accessible to those interested in their products and brand. It also makes them visible to those who have no knowledge of their products. These companies use social media to create a buzz of interest around their company and target customers. It's the only form of marketing that can finger consumers at each stage of the consumer decision journey.
Marketing through social media has other benefits as well. Of the top 10 factors that correlate with a strong Google organic search, seven are social media dependent. Seven out of 10! This means that if brands are less or non active on social media, they tend to show up less on Google searches (International Business Times: "Social Media Marketing: How Do Top Brands Use Social Platforms?").
Social media marketing programs usually center on efforts to create content that attracts attention and encourages readers to share it across their social networks. When your message spreads from user to user it appears to come from a trusted, third-party source, as opposed to your brand or company. This trust is often then extended to your brand. You are part of the circle.
Unlike traditional media that can be cost-prohibitive to many companies, a social media strategy does not require astronomical budgeting. To this end, companies make use of platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram in order to reach audiences much wider than through the use of traditional print/TV/radio advertisements alone at a fraction of the cost.
Don’t just rely on knowing or anticipating what the customer wants. Trust breeds loyalty. The greater the trust you can build between your customer and your brand, the greater the chance of marketing success. What are some of these trust building activities? Clear communication, being on time, delivering on promises, and fulfilling contractual obligations are good ways to create a climate of trust when things are unfamiliar.
Every opportunity you have to syndicate your content and increase your brand visibility is valuable. Social media networks are strong channels for your brand’s voice and content. This is important because it simultaneously makes you easier and more accessible for new customers, and makes you more familiar and recognizable for existing customers.
Brands that engage on social media channels enjoy higher loyalty from their customers (Texas Tech University: "Establishing Brand Loyalty"). The report concludes “Companies should take advantage of the tools social media gives them when it comes to connecting with their audience. A strategic and open social media plan could prove influential in morphing consumers into being brand loyal.” Another study found that 53% of Americans who follow brands in social media are more loyal to those brands (Convince&Convert: "Americans Who Follow Brands in Social Are More Loyal").
When you build a social following, you’ll simultaneously have access to new customers, recent customers, and old customers, and you’ll be able to interact with all of them. Not every interaction with your brand results in a conversion, but every positive interaction increases the likelihood of an eventual conversion. Even if your click-through rates are low, the sheer number of opportunities you have on social media is significant.
Social media marketing results in higher conversion rates in a few distinct ways. Perhaps the most significant is its humanization element; the fact that brands become more humanized by interacting in social media channels. Social media is a place where brands can act like people do, and this is important because people like doing business with other people; not with companies.
84% of marketers found as little as six hours of effort per week was enough to generate increased traffic (Hubspot: Stats That Prove Social Media Isn't Just a Fad"). Six hours is not a significant investment for a channel as large as social media. If you can lend just one hour a day to developing your content and syndication strategy, you could start seeing the results of your efforts very quickly.
More and more, search engines seem to be calculating their PageRanking using social media presence as a significant factor. Perhaps because strong brands are almost always using social media. As such, being active on social media may act as a “brand signal” to search engines that your brand is legitimate, credible, and trustworthy.
The longer you wait, the more you may have to lose. Social media marketing, when done right, leads to more customers, more traffic, and more conversions. Effective social media marketing takes consistent effort and attention to detail. Businesses that use social media outlets to build relationships of trust, combined with an off-line presence, and diligent consumer data gathering, will drive awareness and profitability for the long term.
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