Social media can seem sometimes like it’s all fun and games, and visited mostly by the younger generations. Is it just a distraction for business owners trying to build their brands and increase their sales? As it turns out, this is not the case at all. Social media is a critical part of your overall digital marketing strategy – as long as you incorporate it thoughtfully into your plan.
In today’s blog post, we’ll discuss how to harness the power of social media marketing for your business.
Why Is Social Media Marketing so Important?
In this day and age, most of us have at least one personal social media account. Whether we use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, LinkedIn, or another site, it’s part of our daily lives in 2020. It might seem like it’s all about fun and connections, and business owners often struggle to use it effectively for marketing because of this.
But that’s exactly why using social media platforms for your business can be so valuable. Because it’s where your target audience is spending part of their day, every day. Hence, because they have a strong connection to the platform and to the content on it, you can easily move the needle on your business priorities.
And in today’s world, where consumers are constantly bombarded with ads, building a real connection with your audience can be the difference between success and failure.
Social media allows for real, two-way conversations and authentic engagement. You can speak directly to customers, ask them questions, listen to their concerns, and get real-time feedback. That kind of connection isn’t possible anywhere but social media – especially now, when face-to-face events are limited.
What is Social Media Marketing Used For?
Social media for businesses is used mainly in three ways. You can use it to bring your company to a wider audience, to sell them products, or to get leads into your sales funnel. The approach, or approaches, you take will depend on what’s right for your industry and your business.
1. Brand Awareness
In the crowded marketplace for most industries, it’s not enough to simply offer the best products and services. You also need to ensure your target audience is aware of your brand, at the least. And ideally you would begin to build a positive relationship with them as well.
That’s exactly what social media allows you to do. Either with organic or paid content, you can create content and an online persona that speaks to the desires and needs of your prospects.
For example, if your ideal customer for your boutique healthcare practice is women in their 30s and 40s who are interested in wellness and holistic medicine, then you can create social media content around those topics. You can use lots of beautiful images of before-and-after transformations on Instagram, or a combo of written and visual content on Facebook.
Seeing your content regularly on the social media sites where they’re already spending time means your audience becomes more aware of your brand. If your content is done thoughtfully and in a voice that’s true to who you are, they can start to build a connection to you before ever making a purchase.
And that connection and trust is paramount in a world where consumers have more options and less trust in marketing than ever. Social media can help you build a brand your prospects see as trustworthy and authentic.
2. Making Sales
Of course, turning that engaged audience into paying customers is the true goal of your marketing efforts. And you can also use your social media channels to make that happen.
In fact, more and more social media platforms are building in marketing and purchasing features for businesses to use.
Facebook and Instagram have visually appealing interfaces for marketers where you can showcase your products right in the platform and link to your e-commerce site. This means making a purchase is nearly seamless for your customers.
3. Generating Leads
If you sell a service or a complex product however, then social media e-commerce isn’t quite right for your business. But that doesn’t mean you can’t use it to bring in customers. You just have a slightly longer process.
Social media can be useful for generating leads, who you can nurture into customers. You can drive traffic to your website or email list via your social media channels and begin the process of getting those prospects through your sales funnel. (We’ll talk more about this below, so read on for details.)
Tying Social Media into Your Digital Marketing Plan
While it can be powerful, social media isn’t enough to grow your business on its own, with very few exceptions. It’s most effective when it’s tied into a larger digital marketing strategy. That’s because when you have several marketing elements working together in sync, each piece is more effective.
Let’s take the example of the boutique healthcare practice we talked about earlier, their social media might tie into their digital marketing campaign in several ways.
- Using their Instagram Stories to push signups to their weekly newsletter with wellness and beauty tips. These signups all go into their latest email marketing campaigns, bringing in new leads and customers.
- Using the blog posts they write as part of their content marketing strategy as new social media content too. That’s double the impact for content they only need to create once.
- Creating compelling landing pages on their website for promotions they run through social media.
Creating a Consistent Voice
Every piece of your digital marketing plan should work together seamlessly. It should have the same look, feel, and voice. After all, it would be a bit jarring to a new prospect to go from your light, friendly Twitter feed to a website with a totally different color palette and a stern professional tone.
Those disconnects aren’t just aesthetically displeasing – they reduce the trust your audience has in your brand. With many less-than-honest companies operating online right now, customers are wary of any signs that you might not be trustworthy.
Protect Yourself from Changing Platforms
This larger digital marketing strategy also protects your marketing efforts from being reliant on a platform you don’t own. Social media companies change their algorithm frequently – sometimes to the detriment of organic content, and sometimes to the detriment of ads. They can even disappear altogether (remember Vine?).
If all of your sales and leads are generated through a social media platform, then you’re out of luck when something happens. But if you’re using those platforms wisely, to build your own email or drive to your own blog, then you are in a position to make a quick pivot as things change.
How Can Social Media Marketing Companies Help?
Social media is an effective way to grow your business for most companies. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy.
For maximum ROI, you need to:
- Know which platforms to use, and what types of content perform best on each
- Consistently create fresh, compelling content
- Monitor your channels constantly for comments, questions, engagement, and reviews
- Look at analytics to see what’s working and what needs improvement
This is a lot for small businesses to handle alone.
It’s easy enough to set up Facebook ads on your own, but how can you be sure you’re using the right keywords, targeting the right groups, and setting the right daily spend? Without the right expertise, you might be missing out on big growth and wasting your marketing spend.
That’s where social media marketing companies come in. You can get a social media manager (or a whole team of them) helping to set up and manage your social media advertising and organic content in the most effective way possible. This comes with added costs, of course, but the added ROI can make the investment more than worth it.
Or you can hire a full-service digital marketing firm who will handle your social media strategy, posting, and management as part of your online marketing. This approach can be useful if you want every part to work together seamlessly, each part building on another for maximum effectiveness.
What works for your company and business size
If you’re a very small business with a very small budget and you’re just getting started in digital marketing, you may well be able to tackle the basics of social media yourself. After all, since most of us use social media regularly, we already have a base of knowledge about at least a few of the platforms. This approach can be very budget friendly as you build your business.
But if you’re looking to take your business to the next level and your social media efforts just aren’t getting you there, it might be time to call in outside experts. You can get the benefit of their experience on your budget, and watch your business grow and thrive.
Get Help with Social Media and Digital Marketing
Looking for an agency that gets you real, measurable results with attractive functional websites, great writing and a strong digital marketing strategy? We can help with social media and other types of content marketing.
Schedule a free business review here to find out how we help businesses grow. You can use these insights for inspiration, and let us do the marketing for you.