Since the launch of Facebook in 2004, social media has evolved tremendously. In fact, it continues to grow as more and more social media platforms are being created every year.
While social media was initially considered a fad, its rapid popularity has proved many wrongs. It is reshaping the world in every sense of the word. From consumer engagement behaviour and customer interaction to brand communication and marketing, social media plays a pivotal role in all aspects of life. Therefore, all types of businesses must incorporate social media into their marketing strategies to gain substantial market share.
1- Social Media—What is it?
Social media predominantly refers to sites and applications where people from around the world can connect, communicate, interact and share content with each other in real-time. Using social media platforms is a great way to share opinions, photos, reviews, feedback and other information in seconds.
The massive outreach of social media has led many business owners to revise their marketing plans with a great emphasis using various social media sites to leverage their full potential. No matter the type or size of your business, it’s absolutely crucial to establish the presence of your business on social media. Continue reading to learn why:
2- The Growing Importance of Social Media Platforms—Stats Don’t Lie
By spreading the word about your brand on social media, you can generate sales leads and increase your revenue. Social media allows you to connect with your prospects and serve them better. It won’t be wrong to say that it can strengthen your brand identity and simultaneously simplify your digital marketing efforts.
Here are some statistics that we have collected to show you how important and impactful social media presence is today:
- 71 percent of your customers are likely to recommend your business to people they know if they have a positive interaction and experience with your brand on social media platforms.
- 70 percent of those who have been helped through social media customer service, such as Facebook Messenger, return as customers to businesses.
- 42 percent of the people who use Twitter expect a company to answer their queries within 1 hour.
- In 2019, the GSPR (Global Social Penetration Rate)reached approximately 45% with North America and East Asia having 70% penetration rate, followed by Northern Europe at 67%.
- Not only do people buy from companies with a social media presence but they also spend nearly 20 to 40 percent more money on companies that use social media.
From these statistics, it is clearly evident that social media is here to stay. If you still haven’t jumped on this bandwagon, then now is the right time to do so. If you overlook the use of social media, then you’ll never be able to tap the amazing benefits it has to offer.
3- Establishing a Social Media Presence for Your Brand
The following are some of the main advantages of using social media for businesses:
3.1- Builds / Enhances Brand Awareness
When it comes to creating or enhancing brand awareness, the power of social media is unmatched. Nearly half of the world’s population is on social media; thus, making it an effective place to find and reach out to new customers. Studies show that approximately 60% of the users on Instagram say that they discover new products and brands on the platform.
For example, Spark bottle – a limited edition of Absolut Vodka – got a 5-point lift in its brand awareness when the company chose to promote it on Instagram. In order to improve your brand awareness on social media platforms, here’s what you need to do:
- Conduct thorough research on the best social media platforms to find out if your target audience uses it. You can do this by searching for relevant conversations about your industry or product on the platform.
- Once you have done the legwork and get a good understanding of the platforms where your target audience is, you need to grab their attention by posting creative visuals and quality content, such as blogs, case studies, videos and more, on your chosen platform. Remember that videos and images play a crucial role in establishing brand awareness. Videos not only increase user engagement, but they also help get more social shares.
- The next step is to spark conversations with your prospects. You can do this by responding to their queries promptly, starting a discussion on any subject related to your business, etc.
3.2- Lowers Advertising Costs
In comparison to conventional advertising methods like radio ads, TV and print media, advertising on social media marketing is affordable. Furthermore, you can promote your business on different channels for free. This is primarily the reason two million businesses today across industries use Facebook Advertising for promoting their services and products.
3.3- Ensures Targeted Reach
Another great benefit of using social media is that it gives you the chance to connect with your target audience. This translates into a higher conversion ratio, lower bounce rate and ultimately high ROIs for your business.
Targeted reach is most certainly a big advantage for marketers. Traditional modes of advertising do not give marketers the luxury to reach out to their target audiences the way social media advertising does.
3.4- Boosts Inbound Traffic
You can create a new channel on social media, which is great for drawing laser-targeted inbound traffic and getting more inbound links. For example, you have an active blog where you post fresh content. But if you have a Facebook page or a Twitter account, you can increase your market outreach by 10 times; thus, accessing a bigger audience that may like and even share your content online. More traffic means more customers for your business.
3.5- Improves SEO Ranking
Since Google takes certain social signals into account when ranking sites, your social media presence can also contribute to your search engine optimization ranking. Also, as social media dominates the front of the SERPs, it increases your chances of getting found by your audience via web search. This shows that social media pages work as doorways to your business site.
3.6- Increases Conversion Ratio
Since social media allows you to reach out to your target audience, you can expect a greater lead generation. Lead generation is an important benefit of social media use for businesses.
By generating targeted leads, you can easily boost your business conversion rate because you’ll be drawing more potential customers looking for products that you sell. Thus, this makes it easier for you to convert leads into sales.
Here are some of the many ways you can increase your conversion rate through social media:
- Create Social Proof
Social media platforms can be used for creating social proof for your business. Social proof can be described as informational social influence. This is a psychological phenomenon where people believe that the actions of others reflect the right behaviour for any given situation. Put simply, people act the way others behave in a given setting or a situation. Social proof gives prospects a sense of assurance and lets them collect information on the benefits that the other customers got from using your product or service. Thus, social proof helps offer information to prospects and influence their minds.
Needless to say, social media platforms are brimming with activities that can be used for social proof. For example, your company can use positive comments on your Facebook post, tweets and Instagram pictures of customers enjoying your services or products to influence prospects’ buying decisions.
- Use it for User-Generated Content
It is crucial to use quality content for social media. But it’s even better if the content is created by your loyal fans. Customers that follow your brand on social media may sometimes mention your business in a positive note, which you can feature on your social media profile. Such content is known as user-generated content and it can act as social proof; thus, indirectly increasing your conversion rate.
- Partner with Influencers
Regardless of what you sell, having a strong social media presence can boost your sales. Your social media accounts are a vital part of your sales funnel (the process through which new contacts become customers). Statistics show that word of mouth actually has the power to drive 20 to 50% of customers’ purchase decisions. So, if you can get people talking about your business on social media channels, imagine the difference it will make to your brand image, performance and sales?
To increase word of mouth through social media, we suggest you partner with influencers. By this, we mean to collaborate with people who have a large social media following so that they can help draw attention to your brand. Researches from Carat and Nielsen show that if you collaborate with an influencer on social media, it can give your business at least four times more lift in building brand awareness and familiarity as compared to collaborating with a celebrity.
3.7- Delivers Customer Satisfaction
Studies on consumer behaviour have revealed that gaining a new customer is harder than retaining an existing customer. Therefore, as a business, you need to focus on your customer retention ratio too. And this is exactly why customer satisfaction should be among your top business priorities.
To increase customer satisfaction, you must include social media as part of your business strategy. Social media allows brands to offer more effective, spontaneous and personalised customer service. Customers feel that using social media channels is more friendly and approachable than speaking with call centre executives. By using social media, you can connect with your customers. These platforms give you the power and opportunity to get to know your customers better, such as:
- Learn about what they want,
- Problems that they are facing,
- Their product and service experiences,
- How can you serve them better?
Through different social media channels, you can monitor customer conversations to see what people are saying about your brand and in what context. Moreover, you can broadcast important brand messages, sales, discount offers and make announcements to your customers via Twitter and Facebook. Also, make sure to offer prompt service to the customers facing problems or who need help with your product or service.
You can hold regular question and answer sessions with your customers to get real feedback, know their concerns and see how you can improve brand user experience.
3.8- Creates Brand Loyalty
If you stay connected to your customers through social media channels and personally interact with them, it can help you humanise your brand. This means that your customers will know that your brand doesn’t always work on an automation and they can get their queries answered and problems resolved simply by connecting to a human on your social media page. This can play a pivotal role in enhancing customer loyalty for your brand.
Your fans and brand followers will keep coming back for more. Remember that people need people, not just auto bots. Thus, you must connect with your customers on a more personal level by engaging in real conversations with them.
4- Which Social Media Platform Should You Use for Business Growth? —Questions to Answer
In order to choose the right platform that can contribute to your business growth, here are some key questions that you need to answer:
4.1- Are you B2C or a B2B Company?
The general rule of thumb is that those who use social media channels are at the top of the sales funnel. This means that you need to understand your typical buyer’s stage before you create your social media strategy and advertising campaign. So, unless your product is an impulse buy, the chances of them travelling all the way down the funnel instead of scrolling to the next post on their feed are very low.
Therefore, the social media strategies for a B2B company should aim at gathering leads and then generating customers’ interest in their products. This can be done by regularly posting new content like blogs that provide information, increase customer engagement and stir excitement in people to learn more. You can also create lead magnets like e-Books, and case studies. In this context, the best B2B platform to promote your business is LinkedIn.
4.2- Who’s Your Target Audience?
Advertising on social media requires time, effort and money, which is why you need to make sure that they are not wasted on the wrong audience. In other words, you need to be clear that your ads are reaching the right audience and are not blatantly ill-targeted.
Therefore, when narrowing down the best social media platform for marketing your business, you must answer the following questions about your target audience:
- Where is your brand’s target audience located?
- What is their average income?
- What are the gender and average age of your target buyer?
- Are they homeowners?
- Do they have children?
- What problems and challenges do they face and how can your brand solve them?
- Which of all the above are your top paying and loyal customers?
By doing so, you’ll be able to profile your average buyer. This will further help you in choosing the social media platforms that are most used by your average buyer.
4.3- What is Your Social Media Goal?
Another thing that you need to be clear about is your social media goal. After all, social media is a “see platform”. This means that people use it to see things not do things; thus, making it difficult for business owners with a long sales-cycle to close sales straight from the social media platform.
Sometimes, it can be extremely difficult and time-consuming to gather such information. However, in order to save your time and make sure that you’re using the right social media platforms to reach your audience, it’s best to work with a professional company like SEO Resellers Canada.
SEO Resellers Canada specializes in this domain and can help you to collect crucial information on your target audience and choose the right channels for your business.
5- Best Social Media for Marketing
Now that you are clear about what social media is, its importance and benefits, let us walk you through the top social media platforms to advertise on. You can select any platform, depending on your brand personality, target audience and demographic segmentation. However, before selecting a platform, you must have a complete understanding of different social media platforms to help you decide which platform may be the most effective for your brand to connect and communicate with your customers.
Boasting a profile of 2.41 billion active users on a daily basis, Facebook is the number 1 social media platform to date. It has a wide user base with people from practically all demographics. This makes it a great platform for business advertising. Using Facebook can, indeed, make a notable difference in helping you achieve a variety of your business goals, such as increasing brand awareness, generating and converting leads, improving web traffic, and more. It is safe to say that almost anyone can find their target audience on Facebook.
Once you are on Facebook, you can leverage the power of Facebook Advertising to get in front of your audience. It allows you to classify your audience by age, employment, interests, gender, relationship status, buying behaviours and more. This can be a major advantage as you can target your customers by placing your ads and content in their newsfeed where they are scrolling already.
Facebook is one of the best social media platforms for all businesses. The broad appeal of this platform gives you the perfect chance to convert your customer base into a community. On this platform, you can create your own business page and start posting interactive and informational content to keep your customers and followers informed about your business and direct them to your website.
However, there are only two instances when you might have to consider another platform over Facebook. These are when you don’t have a good social media advertising budget and if Facebook prohibits ads of your business (for example a tobacco or vaping company), based on its ad policies.
For those targeting young audiences under 30, Instagram is possibly your best bet, along with Facebook. It is the perfect social network for businesses that want to target hip and young demographics. Instagram has a majority of its users under 25 and over 1 billion monthly users. The demographics include both men and women.
You can use Instagram to share photos of your products and services and post short videos with a small amount of text. Besides this, it can also be integrated with your Facebook and Twitter accounts, thereby, allowing you to use the same photos across different platforms.
Also, Instagram is an ideal platform for companies operating in digital tech and fashion industries because it has a bigger following in urban areas. Young and trendy companies are more likely to be successful on Instagram and experience greater growth for their businesses.
Another good reason to be on Instagram is that unlike Facebook, you don’t need to have an advertising budget to promote your services on it. Instagram is a great option for growing companies with or without an advertising budget. On this platform, you can grow your followers organically.
Since Instagram is a visual platform, you need to publish quality videos and photos on this platform. This spares you from writing and posting lengthy content. Also, studies show that people remember 80 percent of what they see in comparison to what they hear or read. So, Instagram can work for your business success in every way.
Pinterest ranks among the top social media platforms with a monthly user base of over 300 million people. This platform is women-centric with the majority of its users between 18 and 64 years of age. However, it is also used by men. On Pinterest, people usually share or pin different types of visual content for other people to view. This can include practically anything from food to luxury items and infographics. This means that companies across various industries can find at least part of their niche on Pinterest.
You can easily attract your target audience and that too in minimal time on this platform. All you need to do is to use creative graphic designs or evergreen content to get pins and grow your brand over time.
Likewise, this platform is ideal for makeup companies, fashion brands and all other businesses that specifically target women. Since 85 percent of Pinterest users are females, you can quickly reach and grow your customer base. Also, studies reveal that 93 percent of active pinners use the social media platform to plan their purchases while 87 percent have actually purchased something because of Pinterest.
Some of the top searches that women make on Pinterest are:
- Food recipes
- How-to articles on lifestyle
- Wedding Inspiration
- Outfit ideas
So, if your business happens to fall under any of these categories, then make sure to utilize Pinterest to get the exposure you require and enjoy the business growth that you aspire to.
A great tip that we’d like to share with you is that just like Instagram, Pinterest has organic capabilities. In simple words, small businesses with low advertising budgets can compete equally with industry giants by tapping the organic capabilities of this social media platform without breaking the bank. That’s right; since the organic reach is determined by the number of keywords used in a post, you need to make sure that your keywords and content are aligned with what users search for. By planning your content strategically, you can attract targeted traffic and generate quality leads.
After Google, YouTube is known as the second largest search engine. Apart from music videos, YouTube is now also being used by business owners to promote their products and services. In fact, instructional videos, product reviews and similar kinds of content perform exceptionally well on this platform.
To get started on YouTube, all you have to do is make videos about your products and services. It will instantly start showing in Google and YouTube search results. You can also promote these videos on other social media accounts.
Just like Pinterest and Instagram, YouTube also has the benefit of visual content. So, if you’re thinking about what makes it different, then let’s just say that it is owned by Google. That’s its plus point and unique selling factor.
As Google owns YouTube, it has access to Google’s advertising platform. And this can be used as a huge advantage for business owners running YouTube ads and making videos on YouTube. Another factor that makes YouTube a must-use social media platform is the fact that it mimics Google.
YouTube copies its parent company; thus, you can easily optimize your business videos on YouTube with the right keywords. Also, without spending extra money, you can get a high search engine ranking for your videos by simply including the most searched keywords. Keywords should be mentioned in the title of your video, description and the list of keywords in the keyword tools.
Known for its real-time and concise updates and tweets, Twitter continues to be among the most popular social media platforms ever. People love this platform because it gives them a steady stream of new content and information all the time. Therefore, it is not surprising to see men and women of all ages on Twitter. The average number of monthly users on Twitter is 330 million.
So, what does this means for your business? Your business has the opportunity to reach millions of people across the world and grow your revenue. To get the most out of Twitter, your brand should be active on it.
Simply send out a tweet every now and then. Since Twitter limits a message to 280 characters, you don’t have to do much. Informative and interesting tweets will do the job.
This can get you re-tweets, thereby allowing you to reach a broader audience. Twitter is one of the best platforms to create awareness about your brand and increase customer engagement.
If you run a job portal, offer recruitment solutions or specialize in headhunting services, you must incorporate LinkedIn into your social media strategic plan. Used by nearly 303 million professionals on a monthly basis, this platform features a thriving community of professionals—employees, employers and entrepreneurs.
People on LinkedIn connect and share content with each other on a professional level. Unlike other social media channels, LinkedIn is more formal and is the best platform for companies looking for skilled and experienced people to join them.
Furthermore, businesses that seek companies as clients are more successful on this platform as compared to those companies that market themselves directly to consumers.
Although LinkedIn’s ad platform is not as sophisticated or has functions like Facebook Advertising, it does give you more job positions to target. This aspect can prove to be extremely effective and profit churning if your business’ bottom-line is dependent on targeting specific businesses and job titles.
Social media is a powerful tool, which must be utilized by business owners strategically to survive and thrive in their respective industries. How you use and tap the power of social media platforms can contribute to your business success. That’s why it is advisable to work with an experienced company who can provide you with a strategic social media plan that leads to business growth and delivers high returns. Remember that having a lasting social media presence on the right platforms can give your business the exposure, reach and profits that you want.