According to some companies and heads of marketing, social media is not necessary. They’re still playing the “yes but where’s the proof it generates sales?” game. So I’ve put together what I think is the case for social media as part of your marketing mix.
Penguin, Panda and Social Media SEO
Since Google updates Penguin and Panda, social media interactions count toward your Search Engine ranking. This social approval via a simple like or a retweet, a pin or comment on a blog is a way for Google to see that actual humans, not SEO copywriters, love your content. So including social approval via enabling it on your website and carrying it through to your company’s social media footprint does wonders for your SEO ranking- and we all know how being popular on Google helps sales, right?
Social media is word of Mouth
Your customers can and will ask each other on social media where they should buy their next car, phone or sandwich if they need extra advice. By placing yourself in a position where you make it easy for your loyal customers to link your info to their friend, you make this word of mouth journey much, much easier. And the more activity you have in this arena, the more validated you look, too. Having 12 friends on Facebook won’t make you look very trustworthy to a potential new customer so try and encourage some healthy, regular and genuine activity on your social media channels.
The advice here though is having social media not only makes it easy for your customer to recommend you to a friend, it may also influence their purchase decisions further by showing other customers like you too.
You don’t have to be a social media butterfly
If you’re running a small business or startup, time is super precious. But you don’t need to be on every social media! Different social media’s offer benefits and opportunities to reach paying clients without major financial investment. Knowing who your audience is, and knowing a little about what each social media does and what groups gravitate towards it is really helpful. For example, knowing mums love Facebook or that fashion loving twenty something’s are all over Instagram can help you work out which feed works best for your needs and focus accordingly.
Understanding the social media audience you have available to you via the different platforms is a lot like running a targeted marketing, branding and customer care programme all in one.
Social media gives you the power
Looking after your own marketing means you get to control what you offer to your customer base, trial various forms of interaction and really show your commitment to customer service by offering this via social media. You can also get to know your customers through inviting regular, daily conversation that you simply don’t get from a TVC, banner ad on a website or a paid focus group.
Social media gives you the ability to conduct research on the fly with your customer base, and handled correctly means you can manage your marketing budget better through spending money on activities and ideas you can run past your customers first.
Business Dinosaurs shun Social Media
When I reviewed the worst marketing book I’ve read in 3 years, I couldn’t take much of what the author had to say as soon as he said fliers or TV were more trusted than social media. Why? Because he was obviously unable to face the change in marketing that’s happened in the last couple of decades where customers want to actually have a conversation, not be talked at, by marketing and media.
It seemed especially out of date considering in Australia, over 11 million people use Facebook when a top rating TV show is lucky to get 1.8million viewers. And that unlike a TV commercial where you only get to choose between what hours it’s shown, channel and frequency, with Facebook advertising you can target right down to the town, gender, age group and even base it on what a potential customer has liked in terms of other fan pages. And unlike a TVC, if you set up a fan page, it doesn’t have a shelf life of a couple of days or weeks- you can have an unpaid presence indefinitely and amp it up with paid advertising when it’s needed.
If you aren’t on some kind of social media, you either look out of date in your marketing approach or like s super hip business. Are you either of these? Ok then, get with the social programme!
Social media is flexible, works to your budget and establishes a platform for both direct sales and ongoing brand awareness. It also promotes “monkey see, monkey do” peer validation to your potential customers, and can compliment your existing customer service strategies through giving you a means to get up close and personal with the customer.
Oh, and this is only part 1. There are several other reasons I’ll present in the next blog to hammer home that ‘Yes, you do benefit from social media’.