Social media sites have become increasingly popular and are being used by more and more people every single day. Some businesses have found that using social media as a platform to raise awareness of their business can be very effective.
What is social media?
Originally, social media sites were a place for friends and family to sign up and interact with each other. Over time, more and more people joined up and businesses realised there was a hub of people who could be easily reached.
Popular social media sites include:
But there are literally hundreds of social media sites. Some of them cater for very specific niches and some are only available in certain countries. Some are even only available as an ‘app’ on your phone, whilst some are only available as websites.
What’s the general idea?
You can sign up to a social media site and usually create a ‘page’ for your business at no cost. You will upload your logo, include your contact details and a link to your website. People can then go ‘like’ or ‘follow’ your social media page.
By doing this, they will then be able to see all of your updates via some kind of ‘feed’ which most people check regularly.
At Statement, we use many social sites including Facebook (which is arguably the most popular). As you can see below, we share news and updates and other people can comment on these and start conversations.
You can use social media to post company news, industry news, behind the scenes images of your company, videos, and you can highlight your products or services.
However, the best thing about social media is that your existing and prospective customers can comment on and engage with your posts - and you can comment back. This direct communication can be incredibly valuable in building relationships with your customers or clients.
Another great aspect of social media is that your followers can ‘share’ your content with their own friends and followers. Their friends and followers can share with their friends and so on.
This is why it is called ‘social media’ because there is a real aspect of being social and communicative.
Why is having a social media presence important?
To customers, especially younger customers, having a social media page is something so simple and convenient that if they can’t find their favourite business on Facebook or Twitter, then their brand loyalty can be seriously damaged.
If you link to your blog posts and videos via social media then this can also positively affect your search engine ranking. If your content is being shared many times on social sites, Google’s algorithms will notice this and realise that your content must be valuable. They will then improve your position in their search results.
Having a social media page can also give credibility to your company. Research suggests that 7 in 10 people would be more likely to engage with a business that has an active social presence. It makes you appear up-to-date with cultural norms, makes you appear easy to contact and makes customers feel like they have a direct relationship with your brand.
What makes a successful social media strategy?
A successful social media strategy has many features. One of the possible problems with social media is that not having some of these can actually be detrimental, so it’s important that social media is taken care of by somebody who knows what they’re doing:
- A social media page needs to have a human feel to it. If you sound too corporate or business-like, prospective customers can be easily scared off;
- A social media page needs to be updated regularly. If somebody visits your social page and it hasn’t been updated since January 2001, they are likely to question the credibility of your company with questions like ‘do they even exist anymore?’;
- A social media page needs to interact with its followers. It’s called social for a reason;
- A social media page also needs to be monitored - people on social media can openly talk about your brand and they can sometimes be negative or hurtful. So if you monitor it regularly, you can turn a negative situation into a positive one very quickly.
Many people believe that social media is a more informal aspect of digital marketing and they treat it as such by giving it less priority. But as the digital marketing landscape is changing, social media is becoming more and more significant in the way that customers expect to interact with their favourite brands.
What are the benefits to a successful social media strategy?
A great social media presence gives your business a wealth of benefits and it can be a great catalyst for customer interaction. But more than that, it can:
- Help your customers trust you more if you present as being human;
- Help your customers to feel engaged and excited about your brand;
- Help direct your customers to the most relevant products for them on your website;
- Help build upon your brand story;
- Help drive traffic to your website;
- Help generate sales and enquiries.
Some social media sites also offer valuable insight into your most engaged demographics so you can see whether these are male or female, their age they are and what their interests are. This can provide useful information to inform your future plans for digital marketing.
Our final chapter in this series will be on using video and photography to market your business.