Globally there are 1.4 billion members on Facebook, almost 500 million Twitter users and approximately 200 million Linkedin members.
The number of active social media users increases tremendously by the hour.
A lot of small businesses nowadays are diverting to social media to attract customers and drive traffic in.
Developing an effective social media marketing strategy can allow them to reach out and actively engage with prospective customersthat they may not have been able to connect with using other marketing channels.
Although several small businesses are already engaged into using social media, not all are plugged intosocial media marketing yet and there might be various reasons and factors why they’re doing so. One of these reasons might be because they do not truly understand the real importance of using social media and its benefits and what it can definitely do to help their businesses grow.
Lets’s discuss the benefits of social media and how it can help businesses with marketing.
SOCIAL MEDIA VS SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING
What is social media anyways? Why all the hype?
In Merriam-Webster Dictionary online, social media is defined as forms of electronic communication (as Web sites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (as videos) while social media marketing is defined as the process of gaining website traffic or attention through social media sites.
Do you think social media marketing is effective? Why or why not?
Do you think there is a need for you to use social media for your business?
Support your answer.
IMPORTANCE OF SOCIAL MEDIA
Why is Social Media very important to small businesses? Do small businesses really need to use it or can they just get by with an optimized website and an e-newsletter? The answer is YES, they do need social media if they really want to reach out to prospects and future customers and stay competitive.
YOUR CUSTOMERS ARE ALREADY USING IT!
How many Kiwis use Facebook?
‘Two and a half million Kiwis use Facebook every month, it has been revealed for the first time. – NZ Herald on 22 Apr, 2015
The first statistical breakdown of how New Zealanders use the social media service was revealed in Auckland
Called ‘Kiwis on Facebook’, the presentation showed 1.9 million New Zealanders used Facebook each day, on an average of 14 times per day.Head of Facebook New Zealand, Spencer Bailey, said it was the first piece of in-market research revealed here.
A Facebook spokeswoman said insights were typically only given in larger markets, but the business was expanding its investment here. So chances are much of your target market is already using social media. If you want to reach clients and prospects, you need to be where they are. If you use social media, you will increase the odds that your marketing message will get through to a significant number of them.
IT WILL GIVE YOU A COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE
Even though you may not be using social media, your competitors probably are.
IT WILL HELP YOU CONNECT WITH YOUR CLIENTS AND PROSPECTS
A lot of marketing channels out there are one-way in nature in which a business sends out marketing messages and the consumer receives them. With social media, you can actually have a conversation where you can gain someone’s trust and people would buy from those people they can trust.
Every website owner wants to increase their traffic. Social networks top the list of site referrals. Not to mention that they triumph in time spent on site, as well.
Search Engines used to be the sole focus for driving traffic and marketers allocated all their resources there. SEO still exists but it has now become more social.
With every coming update to a search engine, more social results are being integrated. Whether it is being using Facebook or Google using Google +, algorithms are not taking social results into account.
Even Social networks themselves are becoming search engines. For example Facebook’s graph search or Twitter being a real-time search engine.
Your efforts though social will become more significant in your SEO strategies. You can no longer do one and not the other without compromising your results.
Communication is important for any business but positive engagement with the customer base can really lead to improved reputation. Social allows brands and user to interact freely and quickly. The brand takes on a personal role and becomes a member of a conversation. Resulting exposure can develop a quality brand image.
With every profile being unique, businesses can give brands a personality on social networks. How they interact, the look and feel of the profile, all encompass the general characteristics of the brand. For many businesses your social profile may be more important than your website. HUMANIZES YOUR BRAND
People prefer to do business with other people, not just brands themselves. Twitter’s new Vine video app provides businesses with the perfect opportunity to introduce key personnel or its quirky, laid-back culture by sharing a brief six second video clip with followers. If you’re not comfortable with creating and uploading a video, a blog is another way for a business to personalize its brand to better connect with customers.
At the forefront of social is mobile, because most of the social activity that is being done is being done through a mobile device. Remember that most internet activity is being done through mobile devices, plan accordingly when developing your social strategy.
Everything on a mobile device can be shared with any social network, take that into perspective. Your website most likely will be viewed through a mobile device, be sure it is compatible and offers the viewer a positive experience.
WAYS SOCIAL MEDIA CAN HELP SMALL BUSINESSES GROW
MONITORS YOUR BRAND’S REPUTATION
An infinite number of online conversations take place on a daily basis across social networking sites, and many of these discussions are about the public’s perception of various brands on the market, both good and bad. By utilizing online reputation management tools, you can monitor for mentions of your brand on the Internet to promptly engage in those active conversations. This can go a long way in helping to convert a prospect that has been researching your brand to a viable customer. In the event that negative feedback is being voiced, these monitoring tools allow you to take action quickly before your brand can be damaged.
POSITIONS YOU AS AN INDUSTRY EXPERT
By using your various social media channels to share compelling, industry-specific content that your customer base will find valuable, you can be viewed as an expert in your industry. Earning this status will help you to become the “go to” person in your industry, creating additional opportunities to expand your brand’s presence on the Internet through guest blogging or webcasts.
Instant connection and engagement: Customers sends posts and engage with each other via Facebook group page.
Social media marketing needs to help increase sales and revenue. That’s why it’s called social media marketing and not simply social media public relations. To be fair, improving brand awareness and legitimizing a brand should, by themselves, help increase sales. But there are ways to use social media to directly steer consumers toward the sales funnel. For fans of the business, business owners can write posts that link to products, sales, etc. Marketers can also use promoted content and advertisements to sell products to target audiences who haven’t become fans of a brand yet. The ability to target particular audiences is one of the greatest benefits of social media marketing. Social networks know a lot about consumer interests and demographics, so even though there are hundreds of millions of fans, marketers can accurately target the right people with the right message.
There are also a lot of ways that retailers can sell products directly from social networks. On Facebook, business owners can set up a Facebook store with apps like Ecwid or Beetailer. Shopify account can sync and publish a Smart Market Mobile App to for users to receive deals and buy directly on mobile.
IMPROVE CUSTOMER SERVICE
Another benefit of social media that’s easy to overlook is customer service. Even if a business has a dedicated customer service department, telephone number, or email, it’s important to handle issues via the method of communication the consumer prefers. The fact that people use social media to ask customer service questions is reason enough for businesses to ensure their ability to help customers through social media.
Using Social Media to Help Your Business Grow
In your own opinion, what will be the greatest benefit you can get from using social media in your business?
Are you willing to start using social media (if you haven’t yet) OR are you still not convinced enough that it’s truly beneficial?
If you have, do you know how to enhance the use of Social media marketing to build your brand, friends and followers?
What can you do in order for social media marketing to work for you?
Do you need help to get set-up?
WAYS IMPLEMENT SOCIAL MARKETING FOR SMBs
ALLOCATE TIME TO SET UP AN ACCOUNT AND POST
LINK IT TO YOUR WEBSITE
DOWNLOAD SOCIAL MEDIA APP TO POST AND RESPOND ON THE GO
OUTSOURCE TO A DIGITAL MARKETING AGENCY IF YOU DON’T HAVE TIME OR EXPERTISE TO DO IT. TALK REMC ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS GOALS.
Offer: $160 to refresh your social media profile, cover page and organise tabs (Till 30th June 2015)
Small businesses cannot afford to not partake in a social media marketing strategy.
It offers one of the most affordable waysto reach a wide span of prospective customers while helping to give your brand a voice to connect and engage with your online fans. Also, the more active you are on your various social media channels, the more times your business will be found online.