Is social networking the ultimate marketing tool for businesses? Will using Facebook, Twitter and YouTube transform your ailing business and help you scale the heights of success? The answer to both of these questions is no, unfortunately. Social media marketing isn’t the be-all and end-all. It won’t suddenly help to make a struggling company profitable once again, nor will it instantly boost your search engine rankings. So, if that’s the case, you’re probably asking yourself why on earth bother with it? Well, that’s the $64,000 question, and hopefully you’ll get some answers over the course of the next couple of articles. For now let’s just say social media marketing will help to improve your business by giving you the ability to listen, react, build your brand and make your overall business strategy more effective. Sounds good, doesn’t it? Well, read on.
Reasons to use social media
By engaging in social media and blogging on a regular basis, a business can be constantly visible to its audience. If you join in conversations within your community and share your thoughts, ideas and expertise, you are effectively making your business and your brand an essential part of this community. Visibility is crucial for any business wanting to lever itself into a niche market.
Use your voice effectively and share your expertise
Why should you go to the bother of sharing information, and putting in hours of work when you can’t necessarily see any concrete results? Well, because you’ll be making yourself a resource. Information, particularly useful and germane information, is crucial on social media channels. If you develop a reputation as the go-to guy in your particular niche market, visitors will come back to you time and time again. They’ll return because you’re seen as an expert in your field, and they know that others trust what you have to say. Once you have this trust, you and your brand will be the one people turn to.
Build a community
By making yourself available to other users, and reaching out to customers and sharing information with them, you strengthen your community. What’s more, you strengthen your position within that community. You’ll also form new connections, and facilitate other community members meeting one another. This will create a deeper and more meaningful dialogue as the number of voices increases.
Speed up conversion rates
Statistics show that potential purchasers who come to a website through social media referrals tend to buy faster than those referred to websites through search engine referrals. The reason for this is that they already know you and are aware of your reputation. So, there’s no need for hand-holding or cajoling. They’ve no doubt already read your blog, or followed you on Twitter and Facebook, so they know exactly what you’re about. More importantly they already know they can trust you.
Highlighting your product
Social media gives businesses an additional channel to show off and talk about their products in a friendly and informal way. It gives them the opportunity to talk about their products normally, without resorting to the hard-sell or promotional approach. It also helps them interact with their visitors by answering any questions they might have, and allows them to demonstrate just what makes their product so special and different than everyone else’s.
Find new projects & clients
Businesses will receive new client referrals and leads as a result of a social media presence. People will contact them for services or to partner on something because they like what they’ve seen on Twitter or because they read one of the blog posts and it struck a chord with them. A business that makes itself part of the conversation, makes its brand part of the story too. People notice these things.
Hang with other influencers
The company you keep on social media can be beneficial because if you’re associated with other businesses that are seen as niche leaders and true authorities, customers will treat you with the same sort of respect. It’s kind of credit by association if you’d prefer: your authority becomes synonymous with their authority.
Tell your company’s story
People like to do business with companies they know, or at least think they know. They like being introduced to the voices behind the logo because it helps them to feel a part of the company and gives them an investment in its success. If you tell your company’s story and share that with users, you’re creating a personal experience and other users will want to join you on the journey.