Social media is currently ‘booming’ and it is much more than a simple tool to help you keep in contact with your friends.
Over 97% of all consumers research a brand or business online and social media is now the number one way to connect with new people. When you put these two facts together, it makes perfect sense why most businesses, no matter how big or small, is using social media to connect with consumers every day.
Numbers Speak Volumes
Even though most business owners and entrepreneurs know the benefits that social media can bring, there are still many people out there who can’t get their heads around the idea or refuse to believe it will make a big difference.
Well, if you are one of those people who needs convincing, take a look at some of these numbers:
72% of adult Internet users are now active on at least one social network. That is up from 67% in 2012 and just 8% in 2005.
Social media generates almost double the marketing leads of trade show, telemarketing, daily mail, or PPC. Yes, that’s right…double!
93% of online research begins with a search engine.
68% of consumers say they check out a company or brand on social media before buying.
60% of LinkedIn users have clicked on an advert and 43% of marketers have obtained at least one new customer through LinkedIn.
50% of consumers on Facebook and Twitter are not only ready to recommend but are more likely to buy from businesses and brands they are actively following.
So, we can now see the opportunity that social media can bring to our business, but how can we stop social media becoming a time-wasting activity and turn it into an effective online marketing tool? Well, follow our simple 6 steps below and you will be sure to see the benefits almost immediately:
1. Build Your List
One of the first things you should do, when setting your social media marketing goals, is build an email or subscriber list. This is not just a way to keep in touch with your existing clients, but it helps to expand your reach as loyal customers are likely to share your email with their friends and colleagues.
People always like receiving things for free, and that will never change. Use your social networks to promote an incentive, a giveaway or a contest. You can also use free services, such as Mailchimp, to create email lists with full analytics for tracking and following.
2. Position Your Brand
Getting social and building your personal brand will begin to establish you as the local expert and a trustworthy resource as consumers increasingly look to the Internet for advice. With a social media referral often taking precedence over any other type of referral, it is more important than ever that your business be visible, accessible and readily available.
But, making yourself stand out from the crowd is extremely hard when millions of people are all trying to be heard. So, be different to attract attention. Use eye-catching imagery with your text to keep the reader’s attention. You can use a tool like PicMonkey to turn a stock image into a branded graphic.
3. Understand Your Target Market
It is vital that you identify your niche by understanding where to find your target customers, along with their needs, wants and desires. Once you know this, only then will your marketing messages become focused and effective.
The biggest mistake many business owners make is trying to start off big, with the aim to please everyone. This never works and the sooner you learn that, the better. Your aim should always be to start out small and grow your market or niche naturally over time.
When it comes to marketing your business online, success comes from a willingness to give valuable information in a consistent and easily accessible manner. Stay consistent with tools that allow you to research and schedule posts in advance.
4. Choose The Right Social Sites
With so many social networks out there, it is easy to want to get yourself on as many of them as possible. But, the key here is to look at your audience and find out what they are using. After all, there is no point in using a social media website where none of your target customers are. You may as well advertise yourself to thin air!
Take social media in small, bite-sized chunks. Ask yourself; where are your customers spending their time? How many potential new customers can you get from this network? How much time can you realistic commit without being over-stretched? These are just some of the questions that you need to ask yourself, before signing up to another social media site.
5. Keep Moving With The Times
Although social media is currently ‘booming’, this does not mean that it is going to be the number one form of networking forever. What is hot news today, doesn’t mean it is going to be hot news tomorrow.
Once you find a social networking site that is right for you, stick with it. But, don’t be afraid to keep your eyes peeled for up and coming networks, allowing you to add another ‘string to your bow’. Building a business and personal brand online takes a lot of time and effort, and doesn’t happen overnight. But, if you stick with it and keep your foot in the door, your hard work will pay off.
6. Stay Organised
There is no such thing as an effective online marketing or social media strategy that is unorganised. In order for it to be a success, it must be organised at all times to keep your efforts focused.
Effectively building your social media presence is a commitment, so take the time to put systems in place that organise your social media sites and the amount of time you waste in and on them. Use a content calendar to keep track of your posts and automate as much of the work as possible. This will not only reduce the amount of time you need to spend but also reduce the stress that comes with it.
Professional Social Media Management
Finally, one of the most difficult things to running a successful social media strategy is finding the time. As we have highlighted, engaging with your customers through social media takes a lot of time, but can offer some fantastic rewards. Many business owners simply do not have the time to devote to social media, so look to outsource this to a professional.
Here at Improve Position, we can setup and fully manage your social media accounts for you. This can be a one-off, or on an on-going basis. Do have a read of our social media pages for more information.
If you have any questions regarding social media and how it can help your business grow, please drop your questions in the comments below and we will get back to you.
Michael is a successful entrepreneur with a strong background in all areas of web development, online marketing, graphic design and IT. As the current owner of Improve Position, as well as a small range of other related businesses, Michael's enthusiasm shines through with his passion to help others understand and succeed in the world of online business marketing.
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