We all know that to be in business you have to be on social media. You create a business account on a few social media platforms and there you go, you’ve got the obligatory social thing sorted.
But what is social media marketing? And how do you use it to benefit your business instead of just taking up your time?
Here’s a break down of the power of social media and how you can leverage it properly for your business.
Social Media in the Modern Era of Marketing
Last year, there are more than 60 million active Facebook business pages, and 4 million of them actively advertise. It’s reached the point where businesses are asking themselves if they even need a website or if they can just get away with using Facebook.
It’s a tempting idea. Everybody is already on social media, you can put all your important information in your about section, why not just make it your official webpage?
While this isn’t best practice, it does show how important social media marketing has become for businesses to reach their audiences.
So what does social media marketing have to offer your business?
If for no other reason, your business should have a social media presence because your customers expect you to.
At the least, having a social presence shows that your business is active. But people also expect that your business will offer customer service through your social media accounts and that they can find reviews on your site to validate you as a trustworthy service. In fact, 54% of social users use social media for product research.
Not showing up on social media looks at best like you’re behind in the times, and at worst like you’ve got something to hide.
Funnel Leads to Your Website
One of the most powerful advantages of social media today is content marketing.
Content marketing is one of the best ways to find and engage your audience. Create useful content on your site and get eyeballs on it by posting it to social media.
The more useful it is the more people will click through to your site. Once they are there, you can offer them more in exchange for opting in to your mailing list or taking up a discount offer on your services.
The nature of social media is to engage with content, this could be your content. When you post something to your site chances are, unless you’re SEO is off the charts, it’s not going to get seen. Social media means that your content can organically reach any of the 3.8 billion people using social media today.
Brand Community and Social Listening
One of the trendiest things in customer experience today is building a community around your brand. Brand community has become an important part of gaining customer loyalty and engagement.
It also creates a way for customers to ask and answer each other’s questions about your products.
Social media is a type of community in itself, but brands are taking it further by creating private Facebook and Linkedin groups for their customers.
Creating an online environment where your customers can talk freely about your brand provides unique insight into the real customer experience. This is called social listening.
There’s nothing more valuable to a business than truly knowing who your customers are and what they need. Social listening is when you tune in to what people are saying about your brand online (the good and the bad) and use it to improve.
The Power of Social Media for Targeted Advertising
Social media platforms make their money two ways:
1. Collecting and selling user data
2. Using that data to sell highly targeted advertising
What this means for business is that you can set up an advertising campaign to get your message in front of your ideal customers.
While the digital revolution has infinitely complicated marketing, it has also created targeted advertising that simply wasn’t possible until it was data-driven.
While advertising isn’t anybody’s favorite thing to watch, I’d rather see ads that interest me over yet another Coca-cola ad, just saying.
Leverage Social Search to Grow Your Audience
Social media has become such a fundamental part of the way we use the internet that social platforms are now doubling as search engines. While social media indicators don’t improve your ranking in search engines, people are starting to use them alongside search engines.
Can you guess what the largest search engine is on the internet apart from Google? Did you guess YouTube? Because that’s the answer. And yes, YouTube is owned by Google as well.
But YouTube isn’t the only social platform doubling as a search engine. Facebook and Twitter have their own search algorithms to match the type of search conducted on their platforms. If it’s a place people are using to search, it’s a place worth being.
So people use social media platforms as search engines, but that’s not where it stops. Social media profiles and content also show up in Google’s search results which means that Google is indexing social platforms, it just doesn’t directly affect your website’s ranking.
Final Thoughts on the Power of Social Media
Everybody is doing social media for business, sometimes just because it’s what everybody else is doing without really understanding why. The power of social media has made it one of the fundamental marketing channels available today. Knowing how to leverage it properly for your business is key to seeing results.
Our blog is dedicated to DIY hacks for bootstrapped businesses. Check us out for more tips on how to get the most out of your social media marketing budget. Visit the Social Media and Influencer Marketing sections of the Bootstrap Business Blog for more tips on the power of social media marketing.