I’m biased as I am a community manager. I will tell you that marketing with social media is incredibly beneficial. 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.
Look, I can understand this. Marketing with social media isn’t exactly as easy as it looks. A lot of people claim they are amazing at it when they aren’t. Some people think the act of being social media is enough. It’s not. I will take about that in other blogs no doubt.
But if your company has been burnt by marketing with social media before, please don’t through the tool out completely. Reconsider your strategy.
I’ve put together what I think is the case for social media as part of your marketing mix. Take a look at it.
The SEO impact
Matt Cutts said in 2014 social media doesn’t impact your SEO rankings. In 2010, both Bing and Google said it did. Confused? Marketers were too.
Places like Hootsuite have been testing to see whether marketing with social media improves your rankings. Based on their 2018 SEO experiments, Hootsuite thinks it does as social media platforms are more prominent and their own testing showed a 22% increase. Neil Patel qualifies this as an indirect relationship. He also highlights Bing still agrees that 33% of traffic sees a link between social media and SEO.
The indirect is what we need to focus on. Because that’s where the answer lies. The indirect relationship is about coverage, relationship and the viral nature of content.
Hypothesis: Maybe the 17 people liking something because of the headline doesn’t work. But the click thru by the 7 people who read it will. How would you reach that 7 without the mass distribution via social media?
Hypothesis: Google is all about relevance. They refine everything to ensure quality content is given with each search. Why then wouldn’t some kind of social media approval be a part of this process? We already know that Google and Facebook have a data share relationship. Why wouldn’t it include social approval?
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.
Between audience reach and the previous history of 2010 and the chance it may be relevant, this has potential. Plus, it also helps Bing. Bing may be smaller than Google, but their audience still matters.
It’s 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 easier.
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.
Personality matters in 2019
Marketing with social media is useful for your brand, too. It helps you drop the stiffness and be more connected with your customers.
A lot of brands do well with playing with customers. They riff, they correct unwanted behaviour, share a joke and are fun. This humanises a company.
Also, it’s no big secret customers are becoming increasing demanding, vocal and impatient. It doesn’t matter what channels you choose to use, customers want accessibility. They want to be able to find you, discuss the finer points, rail against injustice and so on.
If you are marketing with social media, you have the ability to be there when your customers need it. You can also activate a contingency plan and work through the social media disasters or issues as they arise.
If you are not there, the story will be written without you.
You don’t have to be a social media butterfly
If you’re running a small business or startup, time is super precious. If you are a government department or large scale organisation or an NFP, perhaps time is the resource that is scarce.
You don’t need to be on every social media for marketing with social media to be effective. Different social media platforms 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 program all in one.
Again, it comes down to having the right social media plan.
Social media gives you the power
Looking after your own marketing means you get to experiment and work out what works for you.
You can also get to know your customers through inviting regular, daily conversation that you simply don’t get from a television commercial, display 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 the author seriously 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. Customers expect to have a conversation with businesses and brands. They don’t want to be talked at by marketing and media.
A a TV commercial where you only get to choose between what hours it’s shown, channel and frequency. That doesn’t prevent someone skipping the ads or putting them on mute. 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, community groups, political beliefs and more. Cambridge Analytica is proof of the power of micro-targeting, albeit not a positive one.
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 a super hip business (oh hey pre-2016 Apple).
Marketing with social media works
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.
Want help marketing with social media? Let me get you into a plan today! Get in touch.
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