In today’s competitive marketplace, harnessing the power of social media is a must so long as you want to expand your business and your brand. It’s no surprise that engaging with your followers on social media is crucial to success. If you stay radio-silent, you may as well not be online, and that is a recipe for a quick end in 2017.
Yet what is it that experts identify as the key components to a successful social media campaign? And why is it so important? Here’s a look at the whys behind this important strategy and how to utilize it to your advantage.
Why Use Social Media?
From Facebook posts to Twitter announcements, there are few limits to a well-managed social media campaign. Not only is the medium vast and diverse in its capabilities, it draws more potential customers than any other tool out there. Check out these statistics.
- 97 percent of people age 16 to 64 say they have visited or used a social media site within the past month.
- While Facebook is the top membership site with 84 percent of social media connoisseurs using it, YouTube inches ahead for number of visits, with 87 percent.
- 91 percent of retail brands use two or more social media channels.
- Social networks earned an estimated $8.3 billion from advertising in 2015.
How to Make it Profitable
Even if you’re convinced to hop on the social media wagon, it’s easy to stumble once you’re there. After all, using Instagram, LinkedIn, or Snapchat to communicate with friends looks a whole lot different than using it for marketing. Fortunately, there are ways to make it more profitable.
Choose the right platform.
Image via Flickr by Book Worm Laser & Design
With all of the options out there, finding the right platform for your business can be overwhelming. If you try to juggle too many sites at once, you’ll spread yourself far too thin. Instead, focus one the one or two places your customers are most apt to be.
Unsure where they are? You can start by asking them. It is obvious, but underutilized. You can sign up for Google Alerts, which will notify you whenever someone is discussing your business or topics of interest online. That way, you can jump in when appropriate. You can also utilize the search function of various social media sites to gauge interest in your company or certain subjects.
If you’re like the rest of us, you have a much longer to-do list than there are hours in a day. Here’s a marketing solution: Use Buffer. This tool helps you manage your social media profiles so that you can schedule, publish, and analyze your posts from one place. Whether you want to send the same message to multiple sites at once or customize each one, Buffer helps you out.
Host a virtual party.
Forget the balloons and confetti. Host a Facebook party instead. Once a month or so, invite all of your fans to network and share links to their own pages via yours. You can also host a live webinar or interactive session with giveaways.
Another popular option is to invite your own connections to a “live” session or introduce yourself to a friend’s circle of acquaintances (where the host anticipates receiving a free prize in exchange). Using Facebook posts, there may be fun games to generate enthusiasm and give away prizes. People can place orders, book parties, and sponsor new members through email, private messaging, or Facebook posts.
With new Facebook guidelines in place, it’s important that vendors only host parties from their business page. You can pay a nominal fee to increase exposure or direct traffic from specific interest groups.
Participate in LinkedIns “Your Day” feature.
LinkedIn offers a “Your Day” feature that allows users to pull together all of their address books, calendars, and email contacts in one place. From there, the social media site aggregates the details of your previous communications, including meetings and conversations, and places the details in your contact’s profile.
Once your contacts have been culled together, receive alerts when someone shares good news or has a celebration. This allows you to stay in touch with a quick message, thereby staying on a contact’s mind.
Always include images.
Image via Flickr by Dancing Tuna
People naturally gravitate toward visuals. When weighing the pros and cons of any marketing approach, never underestimate the power of images. If you neglect this important component, you’ll be playing catch-up. To be sure, 74 percent of marketers who use social media include visual assets in their marketing campaigns. This compares to 68 percent who use blogs and 60 percent who use videos.
On average, people only retain 10 percent of the information that they hear three days later. In contrast, if that information is paired with a relevant image, viewers retained 65 percent of the information three days later. Eye tracking software underscores this point. Internet users spend more time looking at information-carrying images than they do on reading traditional content.
Know your competition via news feeds.
Track what your top competitors and their clients are saying by establishing content streams through various social media outlets. Programs such as Hootsuite allow you to stay updated on what’s occurring in your industry. It lets you track certain keywords, manage numerous social media sites, and keep an eye on what conversations your competitors are having.
By incorporating a social media strategy into your marketing plan, you’ll experience organic and valuable growth in the number of followers, lead generation, and website traffic. If the prospect of managing and maintaining an online presence seems overly daunting, consider hiring a social media pro to do it for you. Regardless, make sure you’re reaching out to customers and prospective customers via the valuable tools available.