Social Media – The Backbone of Modern Day Marketing.
In today’s world, it isn’t enough to just have a website for your business. Your digital ‘shop front’ now extends beyond the traditional company website to your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts. These Social Media hubs all represent your company to the masses. People now assume that all businesses will have Facebook and Twitter accounts, and they expect to be able to use them to get in touch with company representatives immediately, if necessary. If you don’t have social networking profiles set up for your company, you quite simply look less legitimate and frankly, a bit weird.
Social media marketing is a must-have for the modern day business but it’s also just the tip of the iceberg. Having website content that drives sales, a solid SEO strategy and products that consumers actually want to buy are all important pieces of the web PR jigsaw, too.
So, you have Facebook and Twitter, now it’s time to start capitalizing on it. If your company still doesn’t have a Twitter account or a Facebook page (where have you been hiding for the past 10 years?), it’s time to get with the program and bring yourself up to speed or you WILL fall behind the competition.
Social Media gives you a more direct path of contact between you and your consumer than any other form of marketing. Having a strong “social network” allows you to communicate effectively with existing and potential users. In a way it creates a link between person to person and person to technology interaction. Still not convinced? Here are ten of the main reasons why social media marketing should top your to-do list today:
- People are constantly connected. Unlike other forms of media advertising, the customer doesn’t need to be on the right TV channel, reading the right newspaper or magazine or listening to the right radio station to receive your ad. Due to the smartphone and tablet, people are always scrolling down their Facebook or Twitter, ads and messages are always shared or retweeted. Your social media message WILL be seen.
- Get up close and personal with your target market. Part of what makes marketing via Facebook and Twitter so effective is the interaction it promotes between you and your customer base – you can read their tweets and status updates to gain insight into their daily business (and sometimes personal) lives. You can thus, amend your marketing campaigns slightly to align yourself more with specific customer preference.
- Respond to problems immediately. Speed is absolutely key to customer service these days. The evolution of technology has promoted a ‘need it now’ culture. If there’s a problem with your product or service, not only do YOU now need to know about it immediately in order to rectify it, you need to be able to respond to your customer almost instantaneously or believe me, there will be a competitor whom they CAN contact instantly. With the feedback you get in the process of social media marketing, you’ll be the first to know when there are issues – and you can take steps to resolve them right away. Numerous studies have shown that consumers appreciate companies that respond to customer complaints. If you aren’t able to respond and rectify immediately, it’s likely that you will be ranted about on Twitter and Facebook to anybody that will listen. Not good for the ol’ business reputation
- Your competition is a Twitter and Facebook maniac. The early bird catches the worm and all that, the sooner you start up Facebook and Twitter pages, the sooner you can start amassing millions of fans and followers. This isn’t something you want to fall behind the competition on, because it’s much harder (and more expensive) to play catch up. I guarantee that your competition is probably already marketing with Facebook, Twitter and, more than likely LinkedIn, too.
- People are interested in your messages. People view Twitter and Facebook as social networks, not marketing machines. As a result, they’re less likely to see what you post as an advertisement and are more likely to be receptive to what you have to say, especially if their ‘friends’ like what you have to say too.
- It will make you more money. By increasing your sales. Not surprisingly, when you are constantly in front of your customer base, they’re more likely to buy from you when they need the products you sell. You will always be in the forefront of their minds and the more they feel they ‘know’ you, the more trustworthy you are. Social media marketing doesn’t just keep your company’s name in front of potential buyers, but it also gives you the opportunity to constantly give them incentives to buy. Voucher codes, money off, prize give aways are all tried and tested methods of increasing sales.
- You will find customers you didn’t know existed. If you follow specific keywords in Twitter, you can find people who are looking for the products you sell (and then direct them to your site). Using Twitter for marketing is great that way – telling people who want your products how to get them from your company is just an @ sign away.
- Customers you didn’t know existed will find (and buy from) you. In the process of marketing with Facebook, you’ll probably join a lot of groups related to your products, industry and customer base. By posting links in these groups, you’ll help influence customers to check out your site.
- It’s cheap. How can you argue with that? If you handle your own social media management, running a social networking campaign is as cheap as it gets. It’s an investment that you’ll be likely to see a return on. If you’re intimidated by interacting with people online or your writing skills leave something to be desired, hiring a marketing agency is definitely the way to go. Posting poorly written content or conveying the wrong kind of message looks unprofessional on social networking sites can seriously affect not only your web PR but your entire corporate reputation.
- The social media marketing arena is a (fairly) level playing field. Unlike the non-digital. ‘real’ world where you need to be a millionaire to run traditional ad campaigns, all companies start off on pretty equal footing when it comes to the social media marketing sphere. The people who thrive and go viral in cyberspace are the people with the cleverest, attention grabbing tactics and the most useful, link worthy content. If you want to get lots of traffic and really increase your sales online, you’re going to have to outwit, out-network and out-write your competition while offering superior products and customer service. But…isn’t that what business is all about, anyway? Social media marketing just does it faster.
In brief, social media marketing is a huge part of doing day-to-day business in the new millennium. Marketing with Facebook has been popular for quite a while now, and Twitter is hot on it’s heels. If your business isn’t already active on social networking sites, now is the time to start. Who knows, you could be missing out on sales opportunities right now.
At the very least, social media marketing will help drive traffic to your site and increase brand awareness. That’s a huge part of web PR in itself, and is an outcome anyone would be happy with.
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