Facebook is for killing time and catching up with old high school classmates; twitter is for posting what you had for breakfast and Instagram is for sharing pictures of you doing all of the above, right? Well, these channels are designed for fun and social networking, but they can also be used for business marketing. And when social media marketing is done well, it is highly effective. How effective is it? Let us explore the definition and count the ways social media can help with marketing efforts.w
1. Customer Service Portal
Your customers are online, whether you like it or not. If they’re out there talking about your brand, don’t you want to be involved in the conversation? Social media marketing is as much about listening to current customers as it is about finding new ones. After all, how do you expect referrals when your current customers are dissatisfied?
2. Voice for Your Brand
When you have a brick-and-mortar store, your associates are your brand’s voice. As such, they are trained to speak your company’s “language” and represent your brand’s core values in the best way possible. It gives your customers the feeling that they are in the right place, and that they know exactly what your brand is about. Whether or not you have a brick-and-mortar store, this should hold true for your social sites. Social media marketing gives you the opportunity to inject a little personality to your brand online, and to reinforce your brand.
3. Company Billboard
When you delve into the world of social media marketing, you’ll soon realize that there are plenty of opportunities for branding. Whether it’s on YouTube, Facebook or Twitter, you can usually customize your social media pages so that they represent your brand’s image. This includes colors, logos and copy.
4. Point of Exposure
With social media, you have the opportunity to reach not only your audience, but also their friends. This creates an opportunity for organic exposure that you wouldn’t otherwise have. In some cases, your followers must recommend your services, but in many cases, they just have to be following your brand in order for their friends to be exposed to your social media pages.
5. Brand Introduction
Why, hello there. We’re company XYZ and we’re in the business of Y. Your social media marketing pages allow the opportunity for you to introduce your brand to new potential customers every day. How you do it is up to you, but it is wise to take full advantage of the opportunity.
6. Sounding Board for Customers
Have you ever had an unhappy customer? Of course you have. The old saying is true. You simply cannot please everyone all of the time. But when some customers are upset, they take to social media to sound off. This could be bad for business, but it can also be good. It all depends on how you handle the criticism. On the other hand, if you’re doing things right, you can also expect rave reviews from many of your customers.
7. Advertising Medium
You don’t have to advertise on social media in order to be effective at social marketing, but you should at least understand the concept. Social media ads allow you to reach a larger and very targeted audience with your message. You’ll be required to pay per click or pay per impression, but expect the rates to be lower than most traditional PPC ads.
8. Place to Have Fun
You’re probably familiar with the hairstyle that’s all “business in the front, party in the back.” Well, social media is kind of like the opposite. When social marketing is done right, both you and your customers should be having fun. It’s okay to sell, it is marketing after all, but it’s not a place for the hard sell.
9. Audience to Poll
Once you have grown your following to a respectable level, you’ll reap many rewards. One of which is that you’ll have a targeted audience to poll. You can ask their opinion on a new product development before investing too much time or money. Or you can get their opinion on hot topics that may be relevant to your business. Working on a logo update or refresh? Poll your social following to see which resonates best with the people who matter to your business.
10. Company News Outlet
Not everyone is going to open an email to read a 250-word account of your latest news. You may be that excited about it, but understand that people are busy and often have short attention spans. If you can sum up your news in a short update with a link for more info on your blog post, your news will likely be exposed to a larger audience.