There’s no way around it. Your customers are on social media and social media is here to stay.
In early 2017, Pew Research Center found that nearly seven-in-ten Americans use some social media platform. In context, a mere 5% of American adults were using them back in 2005.
Currently, the 18-49 year old demographic makes up the largest user population, though usage by older adults (50-64) has steadily increased in recent years. Suffice to say that a broader population has taken up social media, which only increases the potential for brand development.
Businesses have taken heed of this growing trend, with over 50% of small businesses increasing their social media marketing budgets in 2017.
While all the numbers are pointing in the right direction, the reality remains that a lack of strategy and direction can ultimately cost more than it benefits.
As a business owner, you might be tempted to handle social media activities on your own. It’s just a couple posts, a few boosts, and a couple of Facebook advertisements here and there anyway, right?
Why You Need A Social Media Strategy
You need a social media strategy and, ideally, a team of quality experts who can produce results. The right digital marketing catalysts can help you to:
- Stop Swinging Blindly
Has one of your business manager’s been posting content on your profile daily (alongside handling a hundred other tasks)? Maybe they’re even doing a bit of A/B ad testing.
Unfortunately, investing time and energy into a social presence without a plan of execution, which should include measurement and optimization, isn’t going to pay off in dividends as you might hope for.
If you don’t know what you’re looking for, then you don’t know what you’re doing. 60% of small business owners are not able to track their own ROI from their social media activities. This lack of data and insight can really hinder outcomes, and lead to wasted resources.
Measurement and analysis will help you to better engage with audience; deliver the right message to the right people. Remember that in social media, quality trumps quantity. A thousand real connections who will interact with your brand are infinitely better than a million who won’t.
- Penetrate the Market
Let’s start with some big numbers.
Over ⅓ of the world uses social media (that’s about 2.80 billion people globally). In the United States, that number is estimated at around 185 million people and is expected to grow up to 200 million by 2020.
Now, with all that in mind, various sources have social media influencing between 64% to 71% of consumers into purchasing an item.
The effects of social media channels on purchase behavior cannot be overstated – especially when dealing with such a potentially large consumer base. Whether it’s post of pictures to your product, positive reviews, retargeted ads, or peer recommendations all pointing back towards your business and online presence, a well manicured social profile can prove to be a tremendous benefit.
Of course, the little voice in the back of your mind that constantly whispers, “strategize” should never be ignored. Bear in mind of course that strategizing isn’t a one-and-done deal – there’s managing audience data for target and retargeting across multiple platforms, creating campaigns and A/B test ads, running analytics, managing budgets, accounts, and multiple pages – just to name a few tasks that need to be handled.
Failing to do so adequately can result in loss of potential brand visibility – and ultimately – sales.
- Get the Most Out of Great Content
Hubspot noted some very interesting facts in 2016: content consumption had increased substantially over 2 years for 3 major social networks including Facebook at a 57% increase , Twitter at a 25% increase, and LinkedIn at a 21% increase.
This meaningful increase means that now, more than ever, quality content can truly take you places. From videos to infographics, blogs to whitepapers, there’s an ever growing audience eager to absorb and engage with it.
Social media sites offer an amazing platform to spread your message and grow your audience.
It’s also worth noting that consistent content output is an invaluable tool that complements your social media strategy. 47% of consumers viewed 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep; the more content available for clients to view, the higher the potential for increased sales.
- Get A Grip On Your Reputation
The truth is social media definitely has its ugly side. From political bashing to outlandish trolling, seriously dissatisfied customer to a misjudged digital marketing campaign, there’s plenty that can go wrong if you don’t have the right response system in place.
Social media experts like Cobalt Digital Marketing can help to prevent missteps in campaigns and assist you to resolve issues with angry clients who are airing grievances on social media.
Are you really willing to find out what happens when your online reputation gets soiled? Ideally, don’t let it happen but if it does, be ready to respond quickly and effectively.
- The Right Investment
Yes. Technically it’s free to create your own business profile on most of the major social media platforms.
But, realistically, how much time do you have to generate quality content and maintain your profile(s)? Do you have the time to plan out a conversation calendar for the quarter ahead? Which posts are you going to boost? What’s your engagement rate look like? How about you conversion rate?
Or are you just planning to throw money and see what sticks? Don’t waste your time and resources like that.
An effective social media strategy can be cost-effective in comparison to other marketing systems while still providing your business quality exposure. Cobalt Digital has an experience team of social catalyst who can get you the biggest bang for your buck.
Wasted investment is just as bad as a lack of investment. A competent team can help you to avoid both.
- Target, Retarget, and Improve Your SEO Strategy At the Same Time
Precisely targeting potential customers and then retargeting them with digital ads works. This is a quality strategy to get the right message in front of the right people while maximizing your marketing return on investment. Depending on how you choose to utilize these tools, digital ads can be used to attract new customers, reinforce branding/messages to previous website visitors, improve awareness, or guide customers down a sales funnel to conversion.
In conjunction with this, social media further enhances your SEO strategies by linking back to your business’s site, driving traffic to strengthen your links and boost your content/website authority.
A Few Social Media Powerhouses
There are over 2 billion monthly Facebook users as of 2017, which makes it the social media tool for both B2B and B2C. Facebook requires a variation of strategies depending on your business type including:
- High-value content for your audience.
- B2B content is generally more informative and professional.
- B2C content tends to be a bit more entertaining and personal.
- Frequent sharing.
- Strategic times of the day to post.
This social media platform that can be utilized by essentially every organization with some guidelines:
- Mix business and fun.
- Gaining fans is a process; don’t give up.
- Tweet pictures, promotions, niche jokes, product info, videos, and links to quality blogs.
- Keep it short.
Instagram boasts 700 million monthly users and is a great visual platform. The platform is primarily mobile-based, making for some interesting opportunities:
- Hashtags rule on Instagram.
- Short videos (less than 15 seconds) are an option.
- Keep an eye on trending topics.
There are more than 460 million users on LinkedIn which provides the perfect opportunity to build professional relationships and develop sales leads. In fact, 80% of B2B leads come from LinkedIn.
B2B service providers should remember to:
- Maintain a professional nature at all times (versus a platform like Facebook).
- Join “LinkedIn Groups”.
- Post about two to four times a week.
Google+ (Google My Business)
Google+ has over 360 million active monthly users and features the “Google My Business” feature which is invaluable for small local businesses.
With a Google+ profile:
- Keywords and SEO are exceedingly valuable on Google+.
- Linking content to website is a great strategy.
- Google business information should always be kept up-to-date.
Yelp is an excellent platform for restaurants, hair salons, stores, and similarly related businesses. On Yelp:
- Always keeps business information up-to-date.
- Monitor feedback and respond to any concerns raised in the reviews.
It’s important to recognize that social media marketing is one component of your digital marketing strategy which should seamlessly support your overall marketing strategy and goals. Your website, your social media profiles, campaign ads, landing pages, SEO strategies, all work in unison to develop your brand and move potential customers down the path of conversion (i.e. sales).
That’s where the Cobalt Formula comes into play. We have a formula to help your business get found online.
From social media to website design, PPC, content, SEO optimization, and email marketing, Cobalt Digital Marketing can harness the power of the internet to get you tangible results.