Social media is a pretty new and youthful communication and marketing tool, yet it’s thriving at an alarmingly fast rate.
While comparatively an infant, social media is fast becoming an indispensable business and marketing platform set to transform the way we do business well into the future. What was once regarded not so long ago as just a passing fad, has established a strong presence on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+, and is now a mainstay for any business looking to dominate the digital marketplace.
Today, just having a website is no longer enough. Every online marketing effort has to have not only a solid SEO strategy in place, but also a strong array of social media strategies.
Too many businesses are still at the point of having to ask: “How do we get started with social media?” That’s why we are offering tips on effective social media marketing strategies.
But before we address some of the top social media marketing issues, here are some quick facts about social media and the powerful role it’s playing in the world of business:
- Most businesses that have a robust marketing department — in fact, as much as 94% — employ social media as a crucial part of their marketing campaigns.
- Many of today’s marketers devote the equivalent of a full day’s work to social media marketing each week.
- Nearly half of people between the ages of 20 and 29 are on social networking sites for more than 10 hours per week.
- A staggering 85% of businesses that use social media marketing as part of their campaigns have seen an increase in their market reach and exposure.
- More than half of the businesses that have used social media marketing over the past 3 years have seen an increase in their sales.
After considering these facts, you should be convinced that social media is becoming an increasingly indispensable marketing tool for business, and it’s probably here for the long haul.
Now, on to our main issue. With all the social media sites out there, which ones should you focus on, and how do you take advantage of them for your business?
Focusing on the top three social media platforms
There are tons of social media platforms out there that offer marketers and businesses huge opportunities for market reach and conversion. The following are regarded as the top three at this point, and are therefore the platforms that marketers mostly swear by:
Facebook. Facebook is the largest social media platform today, with a billion active users keeping the site abuzz with conversion. While it’s regarded as the favorite and the most widely used social media platform, Facebook’s humble beginnings belie its mammoth status today.
Facebook started out as a networking tool for college students so they would know what’s happening in and around the campus. But what started out as a simple networking tool for college kids has now grown to a worldwide phenomenon that’s got Wall Street following its numbers.
What helped Facebook become a ubiquitous tool for marketing is its simple way of enabling people to share and talk about things they find interesting. What’s more, Facebook allows users to create their own pages to promote a campaign, an idea, or products and services.
With over a billion active users, Facebook is a marketing force that almost no one can afford to ignore.
Twitter. Twitter is one of the biggest new developments to happen in social media. What started out as a simple social networking tool for people who wanted to share their thoughts and report their activities in very short bursts, has morphed into one of the most quoted sources of online news.
Today, Twitter has become a full-scale business and marketing tool that has helped small businesses grow their way to success. Indeed, Twitter has done much to level the playing field for small businesses to compete with the big ones.
How can you take advantage of Twitter? You can create a page for your business and use it as a tool to get the word out — far, wide, and fast — about your products and services. You can circulate information that your audience is likely to be interested in. You can also use Twitter to connect with people who are related to your niche or might be interested in what you have to offer.
Google+. Google+ is a relative newcomer, but don’t let that fool you. What’s essential is that Google+ is backed and owned by the world’s largest Internet company — which is to say, Google. Google+ looks, feels, and acts like Facebook in many ways, but it also offers a whole lot of extra tools that are especially useful for small businesses.
What’s great about Google+ is that it seamlessly integrates SEO with social. Because it is Google’s property, when you set up a Google+ page you pretty much automatically rank better in search. The site gives you a set of tools specifically designed to merge social with SEO, such as Google+ Pages for businesses.
Choosing what works for your business
One of the keys to running a small company is to know your business really well, so you can choose which marketing platform will work best for it. The social media marketing strategy that works for big businesses doesn’t necessarily work as well for small businesses.
If you are running a large company, you can use social media to attract huge numbers of followers and get national and even international exposure for your brands, products, and services. But if you are running a small business, you’re more likely to want to focus on social media to grow your initial followers and attract traffic to your site.
If your professional focus is B2B, you can use social media to follow and get in touch with other businesses clustered around your niche. You will find it’s much easier to locate and engage with other businesses via social media than by more traditional means. It also reduces the need for cold calls. For B2B in particular, however, I strongly recommend using LinkedIn.
There’s no denying the fact that social media is growing in power, importance, and value — enhancing not only the way we communicate, but also the way we do business. If you haven’t fully embraced social media as an essential tool for your business but you’re interested in knowing more, drop us a line and we would be happy to share our recommendations.