Social media needs to be an essential part of every marketing program, especially for startups and small businesses seeking to increase brand awareness, gain more traction online and increase sales.
More and more decision makers are using social media to support buying decisions — 84% of all CEOs and VPs, to be exact. The following explores the importance of social media as a business strategy and provides insight into how to approach social media marketing for small business.
Social Media Marketing as a Business Strategy
With a 100% higher lead-to-close rate than outbound marketing (State of Inbound Marketing, 2012), social media marketing has become an essential component of any company’s marketing and business strategy. According to Social Media Examiner 83% of marketers indicate that social media is important for their business. 62% of those surveyed suggest that social media became more important to their marketing campaigns in the last 6 months (State of Inbound Marketing, 2012).
The Takeaway: Social media needs to be part of your overall marketing strategy.
Why People Follow You
Once you decide to incorporate social media marketing into your business strategy, you need to understand how to develop a successful following online. There is, after all, a reason why some companies have no trouble building a social media presence, while others struggle and fight for every new follower. BuzzStream and Fractl conducted a survey to find out why people follow brands online. Here is what they found:
• 50% of those surveyed followed only one to four brands on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
• 16% said they will follow a brand because they like the brand
• 15% said they follow brands to be notified of special offers / promotions
• 12% said they follow brands to learn about new products and services
The Takeaway: People follow brands online for a variety of reasons. Understand why they follow your brand (and your competitors’) so you can cater your social media content to meet their needs.
How to Lose Followers
Social media users are savvy, and if you do not have a customer-first approach, you risk losing them. While there is room for some self-promotion, being too aggressive in pushing your business or product to followers could hurt your social media marketing efforts. Of those surveyed by BuzzStream and Fractl:
• 45% said they would unfollow a brand on social media because of too much self-promotion
• Over 20% said they would unfollow a brand on both Facebook and Twitter if they believed the content was boring or repetitive
• Over 15% said they would unfollow a brand on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter if it posted more than six times a day
The Takeaway: Focus on your customers’ needs and interests first and soft sell them on your products and services.
4 Tips to Create a Strong Social Media Marketing Campaign
Entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk, in his book Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, provides some great insight into how you should approach social media marketing:
“The key to great marketing is remembering that even though you’re all about your brand, your customer is not. As with any first date, getting a second date depends on you doing your best to learn more about what the other person is interested in, and directing the conversation in that direction.”
Keep the following in mind when developing your social media strategy:
1. You don’t need to be on all social channels: Less can be more. Focus your efforts on the social channels that have potential to connect with your prospects.
2. Make sure your content is compelling: Post a mix of content created in-house (blog posts and articles) and relevant curated content.
3. Consistency is key: Make sure you post new content every day. Dipping in and out will make it difficult to develop relationships with your social media followers.
4. Don’t set it and forget it: Posting content is only part of social media marketing. Make sure you respond and engage users. Respond to comments, reviews, and interactions in a timely manner.
The Takeaway: Creating a strong social media presence takes time. When you put in the time and do things the right way, you’ll be in a position to reap the benefits of a strong social media presence and use it to your advantage in other areas of your business.
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