Social media marketing is a great tool for businesses. Companies large and small can use social channels to publish valuable content to their audiences, and just by publishing high-quality content, new customers should flock in to purchase – right? Well, maybe that was the idea 10 years ago.
Businesses may have started using social media as a place to share content without much strategy behind it, but that mindset has shifted. The most successful companies are using social inbound marketing to grow their reach, generate and nurture leads, increase brand awareness and trust.
Why Use Social for Your Business?
First and foremost, given our digital world, every business should be on social media in some way. Now, I’m not saying that you should be posting dancing TikTok videos every week, but they also shouldn’t avoid social altogether. Most of us spend a good amount of time each day scrolling through our social feeds, commenting on posts and even RSVPing to events. So if your target audience is on and active on social (and they probably are), your business should be making an effort to connect with them where they are.
With any digital marketing, it’s important to strategize, and social media marketing is no different. With a successful strategy, social offers a lot of valuable benefits:
- Grow your marketing reach without adding staff: My father would often say, “If it’s free, it’s not good.” But in the case of social media marketing, that’s not accurate. When you’re using social media to organize, promote and sell your business, it’s like you’re indirectly hiring an entire marketing department to work for you. When a user interacts, engages or converses with your brand online, it’s because they are interested in the content you’re sharing and you didn’t have to pay for that engagement: free marketing.
- Create and nurture relationships: This is a benefit that goes hand-in-hand with the last point. The more frequently a user interacts with your brand online, the more engaged your relationship becomes with that user. You can design a digital funnel, where an unknown user can become an influencer for your brand by nurturing relationships, and this can happen entirely through social media. So next time a user comments on your post, be sure to comment back; you never know where it can take you!
- Enhance your brand identity: Social media platforms allow you to create a voice for your company. Why stop at just your website? You can use social media to differentiate your company’s brand in a crowded marketplace. Whether that’s through humor, inspiration or beauty, you have the ability to choose specific platforms that magnify your ability, quality and, most importantly, your brand identity!
- Increase your leads: I said it before, but I’ll say it again: social media is free. There’s no harm in creating an account and testing different content types. Once you get the hang of it, and your audience starts to grow, you may choose to invest some dollars here and there to further increase your reach. But other than that, you’ll be using a free platform to provide valuable content to users to capture their attention, turn that attention into leads and grow your revenue. With thoughtful consideration and some neat tricks, you’ll be a social media master in no time.
There’s Always Some Disadvantages
As with anything, there are some negative aspects that you need to be aware of when using social media in your marketing strategy. Despite being an amazing tool that connects people to people, businesses to people and even businesses to businesses, there are some downsides to consider when strategizing your social media plan:
- You can’t control everyone: Social media platforms are open forums, and this means the bad can come with the good. You can’t control other people or what they may say about your brand; you can only control what you post and how you choose to respond to others. Many users use reviews in the final decision phase of the buyer’s journey, so make sure to respond to all comments where applicable, positive or negative.
- It takes time: You can’t rush through strategizing, planning and executing your social tactics. It’s important to take your time to make sure that your social strategy is cohesive, which can be evaluated through a social audit. Identify the type of content you have to offer, your desired social brand and your target audience. If you plan thoroughly and correctly, it’ll be worth it in the end.
- Ads boost reach but require spend: I know, I said social media was a “free” marketing tool, and that’s true. But once you have everything set up and you’re posting high-quality content at a good frequency, you may want to increase your overall reach through paid ads on a platform like Facebook. Buying ad space from social platforms will ultimately translate to more users being exposed to your content, and potentially increasing your \followers – which should translate to more leads.
Social is More Than Just Marketing
Most businesses are using social media as a go-to for brand development, customer care and inbound marketing. These brands see social platforms as an easy way to stay in touch with their audience and nurture leads through the sales funnel. Social media fits into any marketing strategy, but it’s so much more than just marketing.
- Customer service: Remember the old days where you would have to speak with a representative to solve your problem? “Traditional” support channels have evolved and are no longer hidden behind a phone number. Now, your customers can access support through social channels 24/7, and you can also receive valuable feedback from reviews left by happy or not-so-happy customers.
- Human resources: Gone are the days where businesses only find new talent via referrals, recruiters or word-of-mouth. LinkedIn alone brings thousands of applicants to job openings and can allow a business to pick from the top talent available. Glassdoor allows applicants to review a company’s culture and values. Social media can “feed” a company’s HR department with potential applicants, so it’s important to make sure your social presence is reputable.
- Networking: Social media allows for networking opportunities that were unimaginable a decade ago. LinkedIn is the ultimate platform for allowing users to engage with each other to discuss topics of business interest. Twitter is also a powerful tool for networking and promoting conversations. Online may not seem like the “traditional” networking approach, but social networking has a lot of power – and can withstand unexpected events like global pandemics.
- Customer engagement: This is probably the most important benefit of social media for businesses. It allows businesses to engage with users on an array of topics or content, and directly connects businesses to potential consumers. If you’re engaging with users via social media, and they are continuously engaging back, you’ll probably gain a new follower. Continue doing this over time and you’ll gain more and more based on your thoughtful interactions with users. By posting thoughtful topics and comments, you become relevant in your industry and build positive associations with your brand, so you’ll be seen as a thought leader by your followers.
No matter which platforms you decide to use, there are clear benefits to using social media for more than just marketing your business. Remember to identify your brand’s presence online, define your social strategy, create a content calendar and continuously engage with your audience to build followers. Social media is a two-way street for businesses and consumers; it’s not just a place for businesses to share self-serving content. Most importantly, remember these tips as you redefine your social presence:
- Be yourself. Reflect the personality that you want your brand to have.
- Be consistent or don’t do it at all.
- Have fun. Try new things and get outside your comfort zone.
If you’re still concerned about your social media marketing, contact our team and we’d happily perform a social audit to define what your strengths are and where you have opportunities to grow!