The explosion of social media has provided businesses with tremendous opportunities for growth. As social networking sites grew from several thousands to nearly a billion, they became invaluable marketing channels for conducting business.
Today, social media marketing has proven its worth in terms of delivering leads, product, and loyal customers who are also brand evangelists.
However, not all businesses have achieved the same level of success with social media. Some jumped right in, only to find it was all too time-consuming. And it was clearly a waste of time and resources to devote themselves to an activity with which they were not entirely familiar.
Some found social media marketing too intimidating. With all the tools and networking sites out there, some business owners easily got confused and found it hard to decide on which would be right for their business.
Some businesses simply chose to stay away from social media marketing for fear that it would devour their precious budget with nothing to show for it.
However, those who think that social media is time-consuming, confusing, and costly — when it’s used well — couldn’t be more wrong. So how can businesses take advantage of social media and succeed with it?
Below are some essential tips on how to use social media for business growth.
The Importance of Getting Organized
As with any business endeavor, it pays to get organized to maximize results and profit. Indeed, social media at all could be too much for those who have little experience with it.
But by focusing your goals and knowing what you want, you will learn to choose only the best social media tool that’s right for your business.
1. Define a solid purpose and plan. Why do you need social media? Is it just to join the bandwagon? Is it only because a guru persuaded you to get involved without explaining its true value?
Today’s business environment is full of examples of companies that have seen tremendous success with social media. One of the reasons many of them use social media is not just for quick sales and profit, but also to engage their target audience on a consistent enough basis to make them loyal customers.
Here’s how social media can help your business:
So what is your purpose for using social media? You can create your own goal or choose from any of the above and then build a solid plan that’s focused on this purpose.
2. Use a specific social media tool/site. Social media can quickly become confusing for a lot of businesses. There are dozens of social media tools and sites you can use. As a rule of thumb, however, you should only turn to those that can maximize exposure for your business.
Others employ Twitter for ease of use, while still others focus on Google+ because of its tremendous SEO value.
If you are facing a choice between the social media sites/tools out there, you’ll want to go with:
And when you have chosen one to three, make a point of using them regularly to keep your audience in the loop. This also promotes better brand recall.
3. Don’t ignore the power of social bookmarking. Social bookmarking is an awesome way of getting in front of your target audience right when they need you. Digg and Reddit are two of the best social bookmarking sites out there.
If you can get your business onto the first page of these sites, attracting tons of traffic to your website becomes easy. However, since there’s tons of competition using Reddit and Digg, getting to their front pages is tough.
There are other great social bookmarking sites you can use besides Digg and Reddit — such as StumbleUpon, which offers quick bursts of significant traffic.
4. Build social media power with the push of a button. Buttons such as Facebook’s Like and Recommend, LinkedIn, Twitter, and StumbleUpon have proved to be very powerful for many businesses. These buttons have encouraged users to share content across their network of friends and associates, making it go viral in a matter of minutes.
Our own post, 5 Ways to Properly Optimize Your Google+ Profile for Better Online Visibility, garnered 546 StumbleUpon stumbles in less than 24 hours.
5. Create a strong social network, not just a large one. The bigger your network, the stronger your chances for success. But amassing a huge number of followers on Facebook, Twitter, or G+ doesn’t necessarily lead to success. What really counts is the quality of your followers on these sites.
By quality we mean the relevance of your followers to your niche. Are they merely followers by accident? Or are they really interested in staying in touch with your social media profiles because they have a real need for and interest in your products or service?
The higher your followers’ level of interest in your social media profiles and content, the greater the likelihood that your content will spread to a huge number of other relevant and high-quality users.
6. Engage your social media followers regularly. Setting up several social media pages to promote your business but leaving them largely inactive is nothing but a waste of your time. Ultimately, it can damage your reputation.
Successful social media marketing means engaging your audience on a regular basis.
How often should you deliver content to your followers? That’s entirely up to you. You can share information or promote content once a day, three times a week, or twice a month.
No matter how frequently you engage your audience via social media, the essential point is to stick with it. Consistency builds an expectation in your followers so they become used to visiting your site(s) on a regular basis.
The beauty of delivering content to your social media audience on a regular, consistent basis is that it helps them remember you and your brand.
There’s no sign that social media networking is going to decline in value any time soon. In fact, as more and more users sign up to own a profile or two, social media marketing is getting more valuable every day. That’s why it’s critical that every business take advantage of social media and use it properly to grow.
For help in setting up a social media campaign for your business, talk to us. We would love to show you some great options.