Social Media Marketing: Connecting with Your Customers
Social media marketing isn't just a ``nice thing to do`` if you have time. Instead, it can spell the difference between success and failure for your business.
About 3.8 billion people around the world use social media. This fact makes it an ideal advertising platform for any company that wants to sell goods or services to its target audience. However, there is a lot more to this form of marketing than simply creating a Facebook or Twitter account. Read on to learn what social media marketing means and how to make it work for your business.
Social media marketing uses online platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram to promote goods or services. However, these pages aren’t just for promotional messages. They become social gathering sites for your target audience to engage with you and each other. As you get to know potential customers’ questions, concerns, and feelings, you can tailor your goods or services to meet their needs.
Furthermore, social media channels offer detailed statistics and analytics to make it easy for you to see what type of people are interested in your business. Does a large portion of your target audience come from a particular area? Are they primarily men or women, older adults, or young Millennials? Are they interested in a specific product or service you offer? The answers to these questions enable you to target the needs of potential customers and boost profits.
Facebook and other platforms also offer paid advertising options that let you buy ads targeting specific demographics. These targeted ad campaigns can be very successful, but they don’t replace organic social media marketing.
Social media is so widely used that customers expect companies they do business with to have an online presence. What’s more, many potential customers may not even find your business if you’re not on social media. Recent statistics show that well over half of all social users utilize their preferred platform to research products before purchasing.
Furthermore, nearly two-thirds of all customers expect a business to provide customer service via its online accounts. Failing to meet this expectation can cost you dearly as dissatisfied clients take to the internet to air their complaints about your business, deterring other potential customers from buying your products or services in the future.
If your online presence isn’t what you’d like it to be, don’t fret. It’s never too late to use social media to its full potential. Here are some tips to get you started.
Identify Your Audience
First, you need to identify your target audience. Does your business target customers in a particular geographic area? Are your products primarily for people of a certain age, gender, or ethnicity? Knowing whom you want to reach is key to choosing the right platforms for your business.
Facebook is a must for just about any business, as is Twitter. Pinterest is ideal for companies selling visually appealing products such as flowers, decorative items, educational toys, and clothes. Instagram and Snapchat are perfect for companies targeting young people under the age of thirty, with Snapchat being particularly ideal for businesses selling products to young women. LinkedIn is a great option for B2B companies.
Generate Meaningful Content
Once you’ve chosen the social media accounts you want to target, it’s time to get to work. You’ll want to come up with a variety of post ideas to keep potential customers engaged. These can include links to blog posts, discount offers, contests, notifications of critical business-related events, surveys, or video content.
Once you’ve been posting for some time, check out your analytics to see which posts get the most engagement. Likes are good; shares are even better as they show that potential customers not only appreciate your content but are referring your business to others. You’ll also want to check which posts are generating the most sales and profit.
Boost Your Exposure
It’s not easy to generate interest in your social media pages when you’re just starting out. That’s why many companies either pay for advertising or partner with influencers to promote their products online. Influencers are celebrities in their niche, and they have a following that is likely to buy whatever goods/services the influencers recommend.
You’ll want to consider your budget and your target audience when choosing one or more influencers to work with. Evaluate your business relationship regularly to make sure the influencer’s marketing efforts are worth the expense.
Social media marketing isn’t just a “nice thing to do” if you have time. Instead, it can spell the difference between success and failure for your business. Your customers expect to find your business on major social media outlets. Without social media accounts, you’ll be unable to communicate effectively with the people you want and need to do business with.
The first step in social media marketing is to select the right channels. Next, you’ll need to create original content that attracts people to your business. As your visitors interact with your pages, you’ll get to know what people want from your business, enabling you to meet your potential client’s needs better.
Paid advertising can also play a role in your social campaign; however, it should never replace your own interactions with your target audience. The personal touch is a must if you want to attract not only page visits but also start long-term business relationships that will benefit both you and your clients.