Ten years ago, if you were to say the words “social media,” people would look at you like you were talking another language. Since then, we have seen one of the most revolutionary changes in the history of marketing. So, what exactly is social media marketing, and how can businesses use it to grow their companies?
Everyone is familiar with the big platforms on social media. Those platforms include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Pinterest. Every one of these platforms has customers for your company, and every one of these platforms has a different form of engagement. And every one of them is a very powerful platform for marketing in today’s economy. These social media platforms supply a marketing opportunity, the likes of which the world has never seen.
SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING vs. TRADITIONAL MARKETING
At the very foundation, social media marketing requires the same basic components as traditional marketing. We need to identify our prospects and bring them through the primary phases of their sales journey. With social media marketing, it’s common to hear people talk about a sales funnel as the “new method” of bringing a total stranger into your company and making them a loyal customer. While the phrase “sales funnel” might be new, the concept is as old as business itself. It describes the process of making your prospect aware of your company, and then leading them through the stages of interest and research and finally to the buying phase. Do all these things correctly, and you have a loyal customer who will use the power of social media to be an advocate for your company.
The most significant change that has happened in marketing is because of social media. It has given the customers the ability to join and even control the conversation and communication. With traditional marketing, companies controlled the narrative. As marketers, we got to decide when to talk, and we decided what to say. If we wanted to tell the marketplace that our product is the best product “since sliced bread,” that’s what the customers heard. They could listen to our advertisements, or they could turn off the television.
Because of the structure of social media, this is no longer the case. Our market has tremendous power because they can now enter and even control the narrative. This newfound power changes everything for marketers of companies, both large and small. As marketers, we must engage with our customers in a two-way conversation. This new requirement doesn’t mean that we give up on marketing. It just means that we need to learn new ways of engaging our market to tell them why they should become our customers.
EARNING LEADS ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Companies have been using marketing for years to increase brand awareness, drive traffic to their brand, and realize higher sales and revenues. The biggest change in marketing now that we are working through social media is that we now can engage with our customers in a meaningful way. Now we can interact with our customers with a “non-salesy” approach without having to resort to the “hard sell.” To effectively join in this type of sales through social media, here are a few things we need to get in order.
CLAIM YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA BASE
Before you get started interacting with your potential customers on social media, you need to establish your social media base. By this, I mean your company’s Facebook page, LinkedIn page, Instagram account, Twitter account, Google My Business account, as well as your local turf in any other social media platform in which you choose to participate.
While these platforms are free to use, you will need to invest resources into creating a well-thought-out profile and social presence. For example, a Facebook company page can be an excellent place to hold informative conversations about your products and services. A vibrant and lively Facebook company page will include interesting pictures and videos of your products, your staff, your office, and anything else that your viewers will find engaging and enjoyable. Facebook is a platform where people go to be entertained and to relax. Providing interesting and likable content will cause people to visit your page frequently. If you provide content that people will like and share with their friends, you will have created the base for a very productive marketing platform.
You have this opportunity for all of the different social media platforms. But each of the social media platforms requires a different type of interaction, and they have a different type of customer. The users of the different social media platforms belong to that platform for different reasons. As I mentioned above, Facebook is a place where people go to be entertained and socialize. They want to go there to hang out and see what’s new.
LinkedIn has a different structure entirely. The user base on the LinkedIn platform is there to do business. They are not on LinkedIn to be entertained or to socialize. To do effective marketing on the LinkedIn platform, an advertiser must provide useful content that pertains to getting business, doing your job well, or for getting a job. Facebook is a platform where you should create content that is funny or cute but placing content like that on LinkedIn would be disastrous. On the LinkedIn platform, you would do best by placing how-to content. Another type of content that does very well on LinkedIn is longer instructional or informational articles. Studies have shown that articles of 2,000+ words perform better on LinkedIn and get more “shares” than shorter articles.
While it takes some experience and know-how to engage the different platforms, with the right kind of content, the payoff is tremendous. What these social platforms have given to today’s marketer, is a concentrated collection of easily targeted prospects. It has gathered them all in one place and has provided a way to access them. And these platforms are continually cataloging all of their users’ activities. They also know their users’ associates as well as their interests and buying habits. Never in the history of humanity has such a wealth of marketing information been available.
HOW TO REACH OUT
As I mentioned before, one way to engage with your customers is to provide a venue for interesting conversation and interaction. But there is a much more proactive method of reaching your prospects. Each of these platforms offers paid advertising campaigns. Because they know so much about their users, we now can easily target the exact type of candidate that would be interested in our product. We can now run ad campaigns that will put our paid ads in front of our ideal customers on our customers’ news feed. Let’s say you are a marketer for a fishing equipment company on the coast of North Carolina. On Facebook, you have the option of presenting your product to a very specific subset. For instance, you could target unmarried men between the ages of 25 and 50 years old, who live in specific zip codes around your company. You can even specify that they have particular hobbies or interests – such as fishing.
TESTING IS CHEAP
Another huge advantage that we have with social media marketing campaigns is that we get to test our advertising campaigns for almost nothing. For as little as $5 a day We can run a split-test marketing campaign. To do such a test, we would run a similar ad to the two different audiences and see which group responded best. Once we got a clear winner, we would scale up that ad to a larger winning audience with confidence because we had already tested the ad placement. Never in the history of marketing have we had so much power at our disposal. This type of market testing was not even remotely feasible with older, conventional marketing.
The biggest challenge with social media marketing is that it creates a constantly changing landscape. A marketing program that performed very well only two years ago might completely fail today. For instance, video is extremely effective in advertisements today, but this is a relatively new development. Just two or three years ago, pictures in the ads were all the rage. And the ROI on those ads was very good. The Click Depot has been fully immersed in web development and social media marketing since Google was beginning to develop. When you are ready to test the very lucrative waters of social media marketing, contact the professionals at The Click Depot. We will design and run a full marketing campaign specifically designed for your company and your market.