Today, we are going to discuss what social media marketing is and how it can benefit your business. We will also look at some important points that you need to know before starting a campaign on any social network. Finally, I’ll share my top tips for getting started with this exciting new form of marketing.
What Is Social Media?
Before jumping into the nitty-gritty of how exactly social media works, let me take just a second to explain what it actually means. If you have ever been involved in any sort of communication online then you may already be aware of social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.
These types of services allow individuals to create an account which they use to interact with other people who have accounts too. This interaction can include sending messages back and forth, sharing photos, videos and links with each other.
The more popular these networks become the more users there tend to be. So basically when someone talks about social media it refers to all those different websites where people gather together to communicate and connect.
Why Use Social Media Marketing For Businesses?
You might think “Well why should I bother using social media for businesses?”. After all, everyone else seems to be doing it so why shouldn’t I?! Well, here is why:
You Get Free Advertising!
With every individual user having their own page, it becomes very easy for companies to advertise directly to them.
They don’t even have to pay to do this either since its done automatically through paid advertisements on the pages themselves. In addition to this, many free platforms like YouTube offer automatic advertising within their video content.
As well as this, many social networking sites now provide tools that enable small companies to set up AdSense style boxes on their site without paying anything extra. All of this adds up to huge amounts of free exposure. Not bad eh?! However, not everything is perfect…
People Talk About YOU
This point applies mainly to smaller companies but still has merit. Most social networking websites require people to give out personal information and if enough people join a company’s group then the chances of being contacted by potential customers increase dramatically.
Of course, you could always make sure that no personal details are given out but again this isn’t practical for large numbers of people. What’s more, once you leave behind a few comments or posts on a website then others start following you.
Once they see that you’re active on another website they often follow suit. Then suddenly you’ve got thousands upon thousands of followers looking over your shoulder! Now, obviously, not everybody will want to buy from you or indeed hear what you have to say.
But the fact remains that people DO comment on you because they feel compelled to. And who knows maybe they will find something useful on your profile or post.. Either way, it’s better than nothing right?!
Get Real Time Feedback
This is probably the biggest advantage of social media for businesses.
Instead of waiting weeks and months until a customer buys from you, you can ask questions straight away. How does that sound? Its like instant gratification!! There is no doubt that this makes things much easier for both parties.
Customers won’t have to wait around wondering whether or not they should purchase from you while at the same time you know instantly how effective your campaign was.
Build Relationships with Potential Clients/Customers
One thing that really sets apart some companies from others is the level of effort put into building relationships with clients. When trying to sell yourself to new prospects online, usually all you need to do is create an attractive sales pitch and upload it somewhere. That’s it!
If however, you take the time to build strong relationships with existing customers, they will naturally come across your message and hopefully buy form you. This means that you’ll never lose any business from previous purchases simply due to lack of visibility.
Become Influential WIth Social Media Marketing
I’m sure we’ve all experienced this before. Someone comes along and tells us about a product that sounds amazing and just goes ahead and buys it anyway.
We assume that it must be good quality but sometimes we get lucky and end up buying something genuinely fantastic.
Likewise, if you keep posting great products and services on Facebook and Twitter, eventually lots of people will begin to visit your page and check out what you’re offering. Eventually, word gets round and lots of people start visiting you regularly.
It doesn’t matter where these people came from originally as long as they now become regular visitors. You may even get them to tell their friends too! So, by becoming influential through social networks, there is every chance that you might convince someone else to try your products or service.
Create Content Marketing Campaigns
Content marketing has been growing massively recently.
By creating high-quality content you earn trust among users. People will begin to view you as credible therefore potentially turning into paying customers. Of course, there is also the risk that nobody ever reads anything you write so its important to ensure that your content is relevant and informative.
Top Tips for Getting Started With Social Media Marketing
1. Get Educated About Social Media Marketing
Before you jump in head first make sure you understand exactly why you are using social media, who your target audience is etc. If you don’t have a good idea of what you want to achieve from the beginning then you will never succeed with this type of advertising campaign.
2. Start Small – Build Your Audience First
Once you feel more comfortable with how everything works; get started by creating an account on Facebook or Twitter. Once you do that try posting something like “I love ___! Buy them today while they last.
This way people can follow you and see when new products come into stock. They might not buy anything but at least you got their attention!
3. Create Quality Content
To start using social media to boost sales for your company, you need to create quality content that will convert.
People won’t look past spelling mistakes, grammar errors, and broken images. Even though it may seem obvious, most companies still neglect these little details which turn visitors away. Always proofread before uploading your content onto any social media platform.
4. Use Hashtags Effectively
Hashtags work for all types of posts no matter if it’s pictures, videos, links or text. You should use hashtags strategically so that other users see your post. This helps other businesses find out what you are doing as well. The more active you become on Twitter the better chance there is of getting found.
5. Don’t Forget To Follow Back on Social Media Marketing
Follow back means making sure others know who you are following too. By default everyone wants to be followed by lots of people however, many users forget to unfollow after they stop receiving updates from someone. Make sure you always keep up-to-date with the latest.
6. Use Video To Your Advantage
Videos are very popular right now because its relatively cheap and quick to produce compared to other types of content. They don’t require fancy equipment and most importantly, people love watching video clips.
What’s more, many websites are beginning to offer dedicated ‘video’ sections making viewing videos much quicker than scrolling down endless pages of text.
7. Promote Yourself Online
Be careful though; I wouldn’t recommend promoting yourself too aggressively. It takes time to establish trust amongst people and you don’t want to scare them off. Instead, opt for subtle approaches such as adding links back to your own site within posts or tweets. Also, don’t forget to add hashtags to your messages.
These keywords appear next to comments made on photos uploaded onto various pictures sharing websites.
8. Be Sociable
This tip is self-explanatory. Simply connect with other businesses via social networks and show your support for fellow members. Don’t go overboard though. Just being friendly and supportive is enough to gain followers who appreciate your company ethos.
9. Connect With Industry Leaders
If you’re a small business owner without any experience then why not ask an industry leader to take part in a Q&A session? This could be via email or over Skype if you wish. The best thing about asking leaders like this is that they usually have lots of contacts which means that you’ll probably end up finding some new clients too.
This is also a good way to become an authority in your industry.
10. Have Fun
Social media isn’t all work and no play. Make sure you keep a balance between the two otherwise you won’t reap any rewards. Try spending time chatting with other members while keeping track of how often you receive visits to your profile page.
11. Network Offline Too
You should always strive to build relationships both online and offline because ultimately you need to meet face-to-face before you know whether you can do business together. However, remember that the Internet and traditional methods are still complementary rather than mutually exclusive.
12. Keep Updating
Remember that you shouldn’t stop updating once you’ve reached the point of saturation. Continue posting quality material until you reach the point where no further growth is possible.
Closing With Social Media Marketing
As we have seen above, it is easy to get carried away when using social networking sites but if used correctly then these tools could really make an impact in your business. Remember to focus on building strong connections and providing high-value content.
In closing, now you know why and how social media can be a powerful weapon for your company. Using our tips, you can start today and improve your marketing strategies immediately.