Social media marketing is essentially using online social platforms to connect with new potential customers and engage and nurture your existing community.
The most recent statistics show that 2.6 billion people are currently active on Facebook, with 1.6 billion of those connected to at least one SME. If you look across the platforms, there are 3.03 billion social media users across the world. Whatever your industry, market share or location, this is a huge audience for you to be tapping into for both brand awareness and lead generation purposes.
The platforms you use should depend on both your offering and your target market, but the mainstream channels most commonly for business purposes are recommended are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, Youtube, Pinterest, and most recently, TikTok, who have recently released a host of tools for brands and advertisers to connect with a new, younger audience. Between this selection you have a mix of visual, video and text based content suitable for both B2B and B2C audiences.
Consumer behaviour has changed in the last 5-10 years to an extent that most buyers rely entirely on internet searches, reviews and social media channels to do their due diligence on potential purchases. This digital footprint tells most individuals and businesses everything they need to know about whether to enquire or purchase from a certain company, so unless you grow purely on word of mouth recommendations, every business benefits from social media marketing.
So what are the benefits to your business for using social media?
1. Brand awareness
Social media gives you fantastic reach and, depending on the algorithm of each specific channel, can help you gain visibility in front of an audience that doesn’t even know it needs your service or product yet. If you advertise on Google Adwords, you are assuming some level of buyer intent because they have searched for a relevant term to your business. With social, your content can be educating prospects who have never heard of you or your business, therefore helping with awareness and market penetration. It is important to note that every channel is different, so for example Facebook prioritises video content over generic posts, Linkedin has better organic reach than other platforms and so on… It is important to research thoroughly your chosen platforms when formulating your strategy and picking platforms that best suit your needs.
As previously mentioned, buyer behaviours are such that people will always check out your social content, checking for regularity, consistency, types of content and your messaging. There isn’t necessarily a right or wrong way to communicate socially (assuming professionalism and common sense is maintained), so if you’re just starting out, don’t be afraid to test the time of day you post and how often you send out. The important thing is to be present and be reliable.
One reason people check out your social platforms is to get a feel for your office and brand culture. Culture is so important, not only does it inform your internal performance but consumers are more likely to align with brands whose culture and values align with their own. Don’t be afraid about showing the softer/more personal side of your brand - it is so true that people buy from people. This can be a great platform to show off your uniqueness, your people and everything that sets you apart from the competition. Dogs in the office, happy birthday posts, work anniversaries and Friday drinks, all give a positive insight into a united, committed team.
4. Community management
As well as engaging new prospects, your existing community is a crucial demographic to engage and nurture. These are the people who will recommend and share your content and have already trusted you to support/deliver for them. Having an active social presence can be a great way to update them on company goings on as well as providing another touchpoint. If they have a question on a delivery/update, then platforms like Twitter can be great ways to show your efficient response time and dedication to customer service. If you don’t have time to man all your social channels all the time, outsourcing your platform management to a dedicated expert can be an excellent way to improve your customer care.
5. Thought leadership
Especially if you sit in a service provision space, it can be so important to demonstrate your expertise through thought leadership. Resources like webinars, whitepapers, surveys and speaking engagements are fantastic brand builders and provide a clear example to your community that you know exactly what you’re talking about and are therefore best placed to advise and support them. These are also great lead generators as, if you gate the resources with a contact form, you are able to capture the information of people who are clearly interested in what you have to say.
Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin offer fantastic targeting software to help you connect with a high performing demographic or make inroads with a new demographic or product. They offer reporting and metrics to help understand who is engaging with you socially and can help you really nail down your messaging and strategy. If you find that men are connecting with certain content and women with others, it will feed into your wider marketing strategy and ensure your efforts are maximised across all platforms and channels.
7. Paid advertising
If you are interested in doing some paid advertising, social media can be a great choice if you are running a lower budget or wanting to do some varied testing. Most platforms have free advice centres to help you set up effective campaigns and reach the right people, or you can turn to a third party expert to help maximise ROI and minimize risk.
Recruiting for new, in-house team members can be costly, complicated and time-consuming. While we, at SmartPA, would always recommend choosing one of our virtual assistants to fill your business needs, there are times when full-time employees are the preferred choice. Rather than using an expensive recruitment agency, you can use social media platforms to advertise for new recruits. Linkedin is perfect for this, with a special recruitment section where you can shortlist applicants and set screening questions prior to interviewing. The perfect choice if you need to find the right recruit without the big price tag.
We help clients of all shapes and sizes with social media. A national charity recently reached out to us to help use social media to increase donations and coordinate a nationwide volunteer programme. We were able to support with paid ads and outbound inmail campaigns to hit their fundraising targets and ensure they had plenty of volunteering individuals to support their efforts in local communities across the country.
We have also supported one of our clients to win a large contract during the early stages of Covid-19:
Whatever your industry or size, effective social media marketing has countless benefits for your business and your community. Click here to read more about our social media support and complete the form below to find out how we could help grow your online presence.