There’s no questioning the benefits a business can gain from having a strong social media presence, and though Instagram has removed likes, and there has been talk of Facebook removing like counts from posts on the platform, there is still so much to be gained from staying active.
Increased brand awareness, comprehensive audience insights, valuable customer feedback, and sales opportunities can all be the result of a well-designed social media strategy.
Though it’s important to keep in mind that social media is a marketing channel, not a strategy.
For that reason, the key is to recognise that your endgame shouldn’t be to set up a brand Facebook page and call it a day, but rather, social platforms should be used to achieve a predetermined goal or objective. To do this, you’ll need to take a step back and consider exactly what outcomes you’re aiming to achieve through social media.
There are countless short and long term objectives you might be trying to achieve though social media channels. Here a just some of them:
Drive Website Traffic
For many businesses, the website is the hub for all of their online marketing. Your website is where people research your brand, how people contact you, and often where conversions happen. There are heaps of ways you can drive traffic to your website, but one of the best is social media.
Social media accounts for more than 30% of online referral traffic, meaning that if you’re objective is to get more people visiting your site – there’s a social media strategy for that! Additionally, Facebook and Twitter both offer remarketing via tracking pixels, which is a powerful way to continue marketing to people who have already visited your website.
Increase Brand Awareness
Plenty of businesses use social media not with sales or lead generation in mind, but with the goal of building awareness of their brand. Social media is a great tool for this. As well as providing customers and potential customers a high-quality touchpoint to check out as they research your brand, highly targeted social media advertising can work wonders in introducing a brand to its target market and keeping it front of mind.
The average person spends nearly two hours on social media every day, so social media is one of the best places to grab consumers’ attention!
Grow Revenue (By Increasing Sign-Ups or Sales)
If you’re interested in using social media as a sales tool, there are plenty of options available to you! With social media advertising, businesses can show advertisements to people based on detailed demographic, geographic, psychographic, and behavioural segmentation variables, then attribute conversions to these ads in a simple, easy to understand format that makes ROI calculation a breeze.
In theory, it’s the perfect sales tool, but marketers need to be aware that, generally, people browsing social media aren’t looking to buy. Since social is all about developing relationships, not spruiking products to a cold audience, we recommend thinking of growing revenue as a long term objective of your online presence. Work on adding value to peoples’ social media experiences, then, once they’ve warmed to and are familiar with your brand, you can think about delivering sales-focused content.
Boost Brand Engagement
Research has shown that social media interactions improve brand perception, loyalty, and word of mouth recommendations. Engagement on your social channels is essentially what gives your brand a human element. It’s the difference between a company talking at consumers, and a back-and-forth interaction between people.
Additionally, most social media platform’s algorithms prioritise posts with higher engagement on their feeds due to the belief that users will be more interested in seeing highly engaging content.
To develop brand engagement, work on creating interesting, entertaining, or inspirational content and responding to your community.
Feedback and Customer Service
A lot of businesses are wary of putting their brand on social media in fear of dissatisfied customers posting negative comments and reviews on their page. It’s important to realise, though, that if people have negative things to say about your business, they’re still going to say them, if not on your Facebook page, then to their friends or elsewhere online. If they’re being said on your social media channels, though, you’ll at least have the chance to respond to them.
Social media is a great platform for your business to not only respond to positive and negative feedback and reviews, but also to solve customer problems and answer questions. Using social media as a customer service platform is a great objective to consider, with millions of people taking service issues to social media channels as their preferred communication route.
Research suggests that when companies engage and respond to customer service requests over social media, those customers, on average, end up spending 20-40% more with the business.
Join the Conversation
If your business operates in an industry that is a topic of constant debate and discussion, then you should be considering social media as a means of weighing in on the conversation. In times of bad press relating to your industry or business, social media allows you to take control of the narrative.
Alternatively, social media is a great platform to develop your brand as a thought leader or influencer. If this is a goal you can see your brand achieving, and if you have something valuable to add, then this is a great objective to build a social media strategy around!
Finally, we’re going to look at quite a contentious point. While some businesses put Likes or Followers on a pedestal as an indisputable indication of the quality and strength of a social media page, others will scoff and tell you that these are just vanity metrics that won’t do anything other than inflate your ego. While Facebook likes certainly won’t pay your bills, it would be remiss to write these metrics off as valueless.
Increasing the number of likes or followers you have on a page gives you two primary benefits. The first of these is clout. Social proof has a huge influence on consumer behaviour. It’s why we flock to restaurant reviews, it’s why Nike paid Michael Jordan $110 million last year, and it’s why you’d confidently buy from a retailer with 20,000 Facebook likes but be sceptical about a company with less than 100. Having a healthy social media following gives your brand credibility and suggests trustworthiness, which are both invaluable in the digital space.
The second benefit of actively gaining fans is that you’re also building up an audience of people that you can deliver content to – be it paid or organic - at a later date. This isn’t just a regular audience though. You’re building a virtual rolodex of people who are not only familiar with your brand, but care about it enough to hit the ‘Like’ or ‘Follow’ button (effectively asking to be kept up-to-date with what your brand has to say). Having all these people in the same place is a great asset for your business. Imagine you are launching a new product and want to create social media ads to increase sales. You can avoid targeting people who have never heard of you and aren’t ready to buy, and instead focus on this audience of people who have already progressed down your sales funnel and are more likely to buy.
Most businesses using social media effectively will have identified several outcomes that they are working towards. Often a business will have a short term goal working alongside a long term goal – driving website traffic while also working to build an online community around their brand for example.
Social media is an important part of your marketing mix, but needs to be directed by a clear objective. Our advice – work out what you’re trying to achieve, and then decide on the appropriate strategy to move forward with!
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