Social media has become one of the most influential and important virtual spaces where people can use their voices and platforms to not only network but also to digitally sell themselves.
Digital marketing is about reaching audiences and educating people about your services via different traditional and digital media channels. Social media has quickly evolved into becoming an integral part of today’s society. It provides various benefits to help brands and businesses reach millions of consumers worldwide.
The Appeal of Social Media for Businesses
The power of social media is commendable as you can reach a large number of people within seconds of posting an advertisement or an image with a caption. This avenue helps businesses gain and maintain relationships with customers. There is also the benefit of increased ROI and conversion rates. There are a huge number of online users, which in 2020 was almost 60% of the world’s population.
Therefore, if you are not satisfied with your marketing strategy and need to improve your efforts, or you have not invested time in social media marketing, several opportunities are being missed. This type of digital forum can catapult your business to new heights, compared to other mediums, such as print or television media marketing.
Social media is omnipresent. Its evolution just in this last year alone has made its prevalence known. This type of marketing helps spread the word about your business, enables growth over time, garners a following/audience. Ultimately it will help result in a more well-rounded and successful long-term return-on-investment (ROI).
If you want to effectively market yourself, your business, and/or brand, this article is a guide to help:
- Understand what is social media,
- How it’s effective and beneficial,
- The major part it will play in developing a well-rounded marketing strategy
What is Social Media?
Social media is a collective term for applications that are based on communication, networking, interactions, content creation/sharing, and collaboration. Social networking, blogging, video, forums, etc., are among the common types of social media.
The question is, what is the first thing you think of when you hear the word social media?
For many, they think of popular social networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Linkedin. While Facebook alone attracts over 1.3 billion people daily, these sites only represent a couple of types of social media, while there are various others.
Marketers and business owners can use these other social avenues to reach a wider audience.
Social Networking Sites
Social networking sites are what everyone knows as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. These platforms help us connect with people on a person and/or business level, encourage the curation of content, spreading of knowledge, and personal human-to-human interaction
Social Review Sites
To learn more about a brand or business’s services, people turn to reviews, which allows them to create an impression, and decide if they want to work with that company. Review sites like Yelp and Google My Business display reviews from community members for all sorts of locations and experiences, which in return, helps form a reputation and perception.
In other words, reviews tell us about the customer experience from their point of view, as word of mouth and the power of words and experience are very influential. They can also help a business or brand identify its strengths and weaknesses. Good reviews equal returning customers and new ones as well.
Image Sharing Sites
Social media platforms such as Instagram are designed to showcase the power of image sharing and content creation, encourage user-generated content (UGC), and of course, creative inspiration. These sites are perfect for sharing visual content like images, infographics, and other illustrations. Users can create and share unique images that they made or licensed from other graphic designers or artists.
The saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” rings true, especially for brands and businesses on social media.
Video Hosting Sites
On social media, video can increase organic traffic on the search engine results page (SERP) of Google by 157%. Social media posts with video have 48% more views, while videos under two minutes long get the most engagement. Video hosting sites, such as YouTube and Vimeo, have revolutionized the way people watch, create, think, and share content.
It has also made the medium very accessible, interactive, and personable to creators. Engaging with others through curating and sharing content is easier than ever before!
There are personal blogging platforms or shared blogging platforms such as WordPress and Tumblr, which give people a space to express themselves, find their voice, and help connect them with followers. As well as reaching an audience who may want to learn more about the topics they are speaking about, or share the same interests.
Blogging is very personable content, which in the world of content marketing and social media, personalization is key. These community blog sites also provide an outlet for sharing, repurposing, and recycling older content, which in turn can expose your content organically to a newer audience along with current followers.
While most of us have seen many discussions on a Facebook Newsfeed, popular forums such as Reddit and Quora are designed to spark conversation on various topics and encourage discussion. People are free to ask questions and state their opinions, which attracts people who are curious and interested in similar things. Although, on these types of social sites, users tend to be more private and remain anonymous.
While many individuals utilize social media as a means to stay connected with friends and family, others do so, to feel a sense of belonging and community. Many businesses use social media to market and promote their services and/or products, and also, as a tool to aid in tracking the number of engagements, impressions, mentions, and most importantly, brand perception.
Why Social Media Marketing?
Social media will validate a brand’s online presence, and prove to consumers that not only are you informative and credible, but can provide the services they need. After all, evidence-based research has shown that 63% of people who search for businesses online are most likely to use one that has a good social media presence.
Research conducted by Social Media Today suggests that the main purpose of social media marketing is to build brand awareness and increase online visibility. This is done by building relationships and communicating with current and potential customers.
While this is true, the question you are probably wondering is, why should someone truly invest their time in social media?
More than three billion people utilize social media every month. This ever-changing and competitive space has resulted in both success and challenges for businesses as users and engagement on these major platforms keep increasing.
Those who have a strong social media presence and branding will likely increase their overall return on investment (ROI) and conversion rates. While those without active social media campaigns could lose potential customers. This is all the more reason why people should jump on the social media bandwagon.
When done correctly, a social media marketing strategy utilizing platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Linkedin helps people connect with their customers, increase brand awareness, and boost leads and sales.
A strategic marketing approach utilizing social media can help propel brands and businesses to the next level with a focus on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a target audience.
The benefits of social media marketing include:
- Garner attention and build brand/company awareness
- Communicate authority
- Show authenticity
- Encourage engagement
- Grow affordably
- Provides support
Did you know that social media is becoming one of the fastest-growing industries in the world?
Research has projected that over the next 5 years, the social media industry will see an annual growth of 25%. This is the time to start thinking about investing in this type of marketing for your business if you haven’t already!
How is Social Media So Effective?
While sometimes people may be skeptical about social media, the truth is, it makes the brands and businesses who are on board appear more well-rounded, knowledgeable, trendy, and not outdated.
There are so many ways social media can help promote your business:
- You Get To Tell Your Story
- You Can Grow An Audience With A Small Budget
- Learn About Your Competitors
- Can Build Custom Audiences
- Learn The Buying Patterns Of Your Ideal Customers
- Increase Your Overall ROI
- Build Relationships With Your Target Consumers
As the world of marketing is constantly evolving to keep up with the times, the prevalence and importance of social media is also. New platforms and strategies are constantly being introduced to the world, but that is what makes technology so special.
What is Social Media Optimization (SMO)?
This is defined as using various social media outlets to generate an increase in awareness of your brand, products, or services. While the practice of optimizing content through the use of keywords and reach via a search engine such as Google, has been a successful strategy for marketers for years, new approaches to digital marketing have emerged.
Similar to Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Social Media Optimization (SMO) has also proven to produce results, as social media has grown to be one of the top platforms used by businesses to maximize their reach online.
How Do I Execute Effective Social Media Optimization?
While SEO focuses more on content on search engines, SMO’s goal is optimizing content through the avenue of social media to maximize online reach, and bring new visitors to a company’s website.
This can strategically be done in two ways. One is by adding social media links within your content, such as your accounts in the form of sharing buttons or an RSS feed, and the other is done by sharing content through various social media channels via status updates/posts, blogs, articles, etc.
Where some think social media is just about setting up a profile on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter to be where their customers are, it is much more than that. Social Media Optimization is a catalyst for creating, building, and maximizing your social media strategy to help connect with your target audience, and also allow you to do the following:
- Strengthen overall brand message and awareness
- Help gain online growth
- Generate sales and turn leads into customers
- Increase online visibility
- Develop connections with your target audience and gain insight into their interests
The Role of Social Media in Digital Marketing
Without the use of social media, companies limit their options on ways to connect with their target audience in a more personable way and miss out on key opportunities to convert leads into potential customers.
A marketing strategy needs to be nurtured, and without being open to trying different avenues, it can make it more difficult to engage and develop relationships with people, generate brand awareness, leads, sales online growth, increase conversions, and revenue.
As mentioned above, social media plays a crucial role in today’s society for various reasons other than just creating awareness. The main roles of social media marketing are:
Improving Brand Loyalty and Manage Reputation
The presence of your business on social media does majorly influence and control your business’s reputation. It is what people view as a business card if you will. An audience’s loyalty to what you are selling helps you to gain brand recognition and loyalty.
Conversations and interactions with customers will make you seem more approachable and personable. These qualities will, in turn, allow people to trust and invest in your business, and enhance your brand’s image.
In addition to brand loyalty, social media goes a long way in terms of establishing a business’s reputation. Strategists can see firsthand what people are saying about your business versus your competitors. This feedback, generally in the form of reviews can make or break your image.
There is a saying, “Forget about your competitors, just focus on your customers.”
Well, if you are not active on social media, your competitors may target your potential customers first, and you will lose out on potential business. So, being up to date with the latest social media processes and trends can help you beat out the competition.
Build and Maintain Relationships
Social media is a very cost-effective way to build and maintain healthy relationships with your customers new and old. Valuable and accurate information is collected about your audience so you can better understand their interests.
Increase in Sales
If customers can find you on social media, it will help generate interest among users to get to know more about your business. Creatively using your voice will go to your profile as well as through the website present on the search engine which leads to increased sales as customers get detailed information.
The moral of the story is, the insight gained from implementing social media marketing into your digital strategy is invaluable. It will allow you and your colleagues to have a better understanding of what’s working and what isn’t.
Sharing and Engagement
Social media offers a cost-effective approach that can help companies dramatically increase both visibility and brand awareness, by reaping the benefits of integrating social media with traditional public relations (PR) services within their strategy.
If you are overwhelmed or don’t know where to start with your social media marketing strategy, you’re not alone. Social media is not as simple as it used to be, especially now in 2021.
Now more than ever, during these unprecedented times, it is essential to engage with your customers online and provide them with direct access to valuable content, information, and resources.
Social Media Evolution During COVID-19
In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic and the demand for stay-at-home orders has changed our lives dramatically. This includes the online digital landscape and our relationships with the Internet, including how often we use it, and how.
Over 3.6 billion people this past year were using social media worldwide, a number projected to increase to approximately 4.41 billion in 2025! As our screen time continues to be at an all-time high, researchers have closely examined how much people have been using social media during the pandemic, what they are using it for, and how their behavior on social media has changed throughout this unprecedented global pandemic. This year will be the global tipping point for this type of marketing, which is all the more reason to invest in it now.
The 8 Steps to Building An Effective Social Media Strategy
A concise social media strategy will help your brand and business not only be successful, but ac achieve your SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Reliable, and Time-specific) goals with a sense of purpose. Below is a step-by-step guide to developing a succinct social media marketing strategy, to optimize your results, and gain a return on your investment.
- Set SMART social marketing goals
- Research your target audience and what they are interested in
- Establish your most important metrics and channels
- Analyze your competition
- Create engaging content
- Make sure timeliness is a top priority
- Always assess your results and optimize along the way
- Communicate goals, challenges wins, and losses with your team to know what is working and what you can do better to produce optimal results
How The Digital Intellect Can Improve Your Social Media Strategy
As Digital Marketers and Social Media Strategists, here at The Digital Intellect, we like to say, having a social media presence without an appropriate strategy and plan can be just as damaging for your business as developing no plan at all.
BUILDING YOUR COMMUNITY
QUALITY AND CONSISTENT POSTING | CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT | IDENTIFYING TARGET AUDIENCE
One of the most critical parts of a social media program is growing a following. However, a strong community does not necessarily mean a large community. It means finding the people whose goals and interests align with your company.
OPTIMIZING YOUR PAID CONTENT
AMPLIFY COMPANY NEWS | SPONSORED POSTS | SOCIAL CAMPAIGNS
It is important to analyze the content that is shared weekly for optimization and engagement purposes. From there, we can determine what types of content resonate with your target audience and establish an engagement baseline.
MONITORING YOUR BRAND IDENTITY
SOCIAL MEDIA AUDIT | TRACKING TOOLS | PLATFORM MONITORING | COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT
Social media is not just about getting your message out into the world it is also about listening. As digital marketing specialists, we are multifaceted problem solvers. It is critical to keep tabs on what is being said in the community about your company and the services you provide, as well as, and what is going on in the industry, to always be one step ahead of the competition.
MEASURING YOUR RESULTS
MONTHLY ANALYTICS REPORTS | ESTABLISH BENCHMARKS | ANALYZE PLATFORM DATA
The wonderful thing about social media is that your audience/community tells you what works and what doesn’t. Therefore, analyzing the results of your hard work and efforts is essential to the ongoing success of your social media strategy.
The Digital Intellect Way
A large part of TDI’s social media marketing strategy development process involves identifying your target audience and outlining the right channels to utilize in achieving your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), such as increasing engagement. This will assist in positioning your team to build a strong online network, allowing your social media platforms to create a stage for information sharing, engagement, and influence.
At The Digital Intellect, we have developed our social media strategy to aid and bring success to your online marketing operations. To learn more about how we can help optimize your digital marketing strategy through social media efforts, contact us today by calling (855) 910-1503.