Since the advent of the internet, marketing strategy for business has been changing and evolving at a massive rate. In the past five plus years, social media use has skyrocketed, changing the way consumers buying behaviour forever. As a savvy business owner, it’s vital you tap into this and use social media marketing if you are to grow –it could be the difference between sinking and swimming. Social media is used prolifically by businesses to market products, promote brands, improve customer engagement and foster new relationships.
Whether you’re just starting out, or you’ve been successfully running a business offline for a while, getting started with social media can seem overwhelming and confusing. In this post, we outline why it’s so important that you use social media for your brand, and how you can successfully build it into your marketing strategy.
An Introduction to Social Media and New Media
New media essentially refers to content - whether it be written, visual or audio - which is easily accessible via digital media. When related to advertising, examples would include online adverts on social media platforms such as Facebook, banner adverts on websites and pop-ups promoting a brand. Adverts can also be streamed online via television and radio, giving businesses the capability to reach even more of their target market.
Social media relates to platforms online where people and communities come together to chat and share ideas. The key here is the word social, and this is something which entrepreneurs looking to increase their following and customer-base need to remember. To be most effective online, and to have a marketing strategy that works, you need to interact, engage, create conversations and focus on the social aspect of this new media, instead of simply broadcasting out adverts. Whilst the ROI on social media ads is unbeatable, a solid social media strategy also leads to increased brand awareness and brand recognition.
The Best Social Media Channels for Business
So, what channels are out there and which ones should you be using for business?
The internet marketing industry is developing rapidly, and there are countless social networking sites, all of which have their own unique characteristics and purpose. As a business owner, you don’t need to focus on them all. Find out which ones are most popular with your target audience, and focus your energies there to increase your customer engagement.
With 1.6 billion monthly users, Facebook is the largest and most powerful social media platform out there right now. Regardless if you are a startup or multi-million dollar company, you should use Facebook to start engaging with your audience. Facebook is especially powerful if you sell business to consumer, but it works equally well for b2b businesses too.
Twitter is the perfect online marketing tool for businesses who want to reach out to people quickly. There are over 255 million users worldwide, the platform is fast-moving so you need to have the time and resources to reply regularly to really reap the rewards.
Instagram is a visual platform allowing everyone to post beautiful pictures. It’s like a beautiful spread in a magazine – showcasing the very best of what you have to offer. With a heaving focus on lifestyle shots, Instagram works particularly well for fashion and creative businesses.
Linkedin is regarded as the social media site for professionals, and so is focussed more on b2b marketing and the service industry. If this is your field and target audience, then you’d do well to focus on this platform for higher brand authority.
As well as these four leaders, there are a whole host of other platforms out there, including Google+, YouTube, Foursquare, Pinterest and Snapchat to name but a few. Start by researching your audience and finding out where they hang out, then concentrate on building one or two profiles really well to start with.
How Can You Prepare to be Present on Social Media?
It can seem a bit daunting at first, so we’ve outlined below 6 top tips to help you launch your business on social media well.
Be prepared – It takes time to start seeing results. Social media marketing takes effort and resources, so it’s important you know this from the outset and ensure you have the resources in place to post regularly and maintain a consistent profile.
Set Goals – As with any marketing technique, it’s vital you set goals as part of your strategy. Start with the big goals and work backwards, figuring out the steps you need to take to reach your ultimate targets.
Know your target audience – This is a vital step to ensuring you spend your energies on the right platforms, and communicate to them in the right way. Don’t just use demographics, really niche in with psychographics too.
Focus on content – Social media is all about sharing great content and sparking discussions. Start by deciding which form of digital media you will use to connect with your audience. Whether you choose blogs, video or podcasts, consistency is the key.
Social Marketing Strategy – Don’t just post with a scatter-gun approach. Focus on a social network that adds value and tie this into your overriding marketing strategy. Just because a network has over a hundred million active users doesn’t mean it will directly contribute to your brand’s objectives.
Measurement and Testing – You need to constantly analyse your social media strategy to understand how effective it is. Ask yourself, what does success mean to you, and use this to measure and find out what works and what doesn’t.
The Benefits of Social Media
When done well, your social media presence will often be the first port of call for prospective new customers. It effectively acts as your digital shop window, and allows you to engage with your audience in an unprecedented way. When your social media marketing works, it will lead to increased inbound traffic and better search engine rankings.
Investing in a social media marketing service could well be the missing link connecting you with your customers. But to really be successful, it needs to be built into your overall business and marketing strategy. If you’re still considering whether it’s worth your while, simply look at the facts, they speak for themselves. Get it right, and social media marketing will offer more opportunities to convert and higher conversion rates, propelling your business into the stratosphere.
Social media requires constant effort. You don't have time for it? Or don’t know where to start? Here at Prototype we have the perfect social media solutions for all kind of businesses. Give us a call or request consultation. We will be more than happy to get in touch.