It is not often we see something change society as a whole, and we never know it until after it has happened. It was my freshman year of college in 2006 when I ditched my MySpace to try a new social media fad targeting college students. Today, twelve years later, over 2.1 billion people are using Facebook - and not just college students. That’s more than one-fourth of the world’s population! This social media platform has changed the way people communicate, interact, share, and learn, both personally and professionally.
Not even Zuckerberg could have seen the success that Facebook has obtained. Social media has forever changed marketing and advertising. Digital media is no longer a fad that will pass us by, it has taken over. Some 75% of people that use the internet also use social media. There are 50 million small businesses using Facebook to connect with customers and if you are not one of them, you are well behind the curve.
Studies show that 26% of social media users follow between one and four brands on some form of social media, 50% follow five to nine, and 22% follow ten or more. There are only 3% of users not following any brand at all. Maintaining and engaging on your company’s social media will lead to more opportunities for discovery and conversion.
So, you know that you need social media, but why? Why has social media become a necessity to today’s marketing strategies? Well here are a few of the basics:
Boost brand awareness and recognition – get discovered on more platforms with different referral methods; a broad reach leads opportunity for cross marketing; consumers not only see brands they personally are following, but also see brands their friends are following
Increase inbound traffic – more outlets for people to get to your website
Improved customer insights – social media’s engagement possibilities allow you to hear what your customers are saying and what they are looking for; it gives you an improved understanding of your audience
Better search engine rankings – more opportunities for your name to show up; more quality traffic leads to better organic rankings
Creating a social media page is easy, but effectively running and maintaining takes strategy. The first step is knowing your audience. At this point in your marketing plan, you should know your target demographic. What are they looking for? What will they respond to? This will help each social media page attract, engage, and convert consumers. Here are some things to keep in mind:
Being responsive – a gaudy 84%(this references back to a source document, but I don’t know where “gaudy” comes from )of people expect companies to respond to their posts on social media; stay vigilant, don’t lose customers by ignoring them it also says FB within 24 hours and twitter within an hour
Promotions – it’s beneficial to promote on social media; leads to inbound website traffic and easy conversions; broadens the reach instead of promoting only on your website
Include educational content – if people discover your page, but can’t learn anything from it, it’s a waste of an impression; be informative and provide insightful and actionable content
Use interesting visuals – our brains process images much faster than words and visual content is 40 times more likely to get shared on social media than any other type of content; the facts speak for themselves here
Use humor – be funny; trash talk; (trash talk – really? How professional is that?) how about tell a story or joke this stimulates an emotional response that will help your audience connect with your brand – but do this in a way your audience will understand and appreciate
Exclusive content – ideas like “behind-the-scenes content” give a sense of exclusivity that will make consumers feel special and coming back for more
Another important aspect of maintaining your social media pages is measuring results. What is working? What isn’t? You can look at the analytics of each social platform within the business tools of each social medium. Measure the follows, likes, shares, tags, and mentions. Look at the traffic to your page and linked pages. Figure out what your audience is responding to. Not everything will succeed but learn from the failures. Use trial and error to your advantage. Tailor your pages to coincide with your audience’s needs. Sites like Sprout Social and Hootsuite are great examples of management tools to help.
With 85% of consumers in the US on social media, establishing your own presence online through social media is a must. In addition to falling behind the 65 million other businesses already on social media, you also can’t ignore that kind of opportunity for free publicity. Be consistent, be active, and adjust to your audience. Companies have the potential to spread digitally like wildfire, so who knows who the next Facebook will be.