Marketing: should your business bother with social media?
It doesn’t take a genius to realise that social media marketing is becoming almost as important as, if not more important than, the traditional marketing tactics that most businesses are accustomed to. In today’s world, competition is fierce, so how do you get your voice heard and your brand noticed?
Yes, your business needs social media marketing!
It simply isn’t enough these days to have some physical collateral and a website for your business – your storefront must also extend to social media sites like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Pinterest. Why? Because that is where your potential clients are spending their time! In fact, over a quarter of the time spent online is passed on social media sites. If you’re not there too, there’s much less chance that people will find you.
If your business still doesn’t have a Facebook fan page, or a Twitter or Instagram account, it’s time to do something about it or risk being overtaken by the competition!
No, you don’t have to pay for it!
There is a common misconception among business owners that in order to get real results from social media marketing, they’ll have to spend big bucks. This simply isn’t true and I can personally vouch for this, with proof! I have grown the various social network profiles for the New Frontiers programme extensively over my twelve months working at Enterprise Ireland, using exclusively organic methods. In June 2015, our Twitter account following stood at around 350 followers. As of May 2016, our account has close to 1,900 followers. Similarly, our LinkedIn following has grown from over 500 to just over 1,200 in the same period of time. How did I do this, you ask? Two words – content and interaction.
In order to drive traffic to your page, your content needs to be appealing to a wide audience, different from the other content being shared from similar accounts, and consistent (but bear in mind we do not want to spam people’s timelines). If you’re going to take social media marketing seriously, you need to devote some time to planning and targeting your audience. It won’t work if you only go online once in a blue moon, throw out some tweets and then leave. You ideally want to post something at least once a day, but preferably a few times a day.
Some things to consider when planning your organic traffic strategy
What’s your target audience?
Browse the different social media platforms out there. Discover which ones suit your business – not all will be relevant. For example, we generally think of Facebook as a platform that suits B2C and LinkedIn for B2B. The right audience plus the right message equals maximum engagement and reach.
Don’t have any? Well, make some! I cannot recommend enough setting aside some time every morning to find and create fresh, tasty content that will cause a bit of a stir with your followers and fans.
Any social media marketing expert will tell you that this is crucial. There are various tools out there now to help you with this, such as Hootsuite, Buffer and TweetDeck. Using these automatic scheduling tools means you’re using your time most effectively, allowing you to focus on other parts of your business. Spread your tweets out through the day, so as not to swamp your followers’ timelines.
What will make people interact?
The content you create and find on third party sites needs to be suited to your audience and of interest to them. The material that drives most interaction is usually controversial to your specific sector. Posting regular updates (without spamming) will increase your followers and fans without having to spend a penny.
It’s important to keep an eye on what they’re doing. I don’t mean you should stalk their accounts and copy what they do, but often you can pick up some tips from them. What works for them? What doesn’t? Use these insights to improve your own social media marketing. You have to stay on top of your game and be competitive all the time! Sometimes you can look at what works in other sectors and try similar tactics yourself. Don’t be afraid to be bold and innovate!
Social media marketing doesn’t just increase follower count. The most important thing to come from it is increased brand awareness and recognition. Every opportunity you have to promote your content and increase your visibility is valuable. Using platforms like Google+, Facebook and Periscope is in fact a great way to attract new audiences that you would never have had if you had not taken part in the phenomenon of social media marketing. Your social networks are just new channels for your brand voice. It makes your business easier to identify and more accessible for new customers. At the same time, it makes you more familiar and recognisable for existing customers.
Sure, paid advertising is a fantastic resource and it is proven that it works. Often, businesses (especially B2C) will use both organic and pay-per-click advertising. However, if you’re not in a position to pay for advertising just yet, don’t panic. You can and will build an audience through creating outstanding content and making it interactive.
So, in summary: Yes, your business should absolutely be using social media marketing to increase brand awareness, build relationships and improve customer service – it’s inexpensive and anyone can learn to use social networks! Of all the marketing tactics out there, social media provides the best possible ROI. Give it a try and let us know how you get on!