There was a time in which marketing experts believed that social media was not for every business. There was a belief that only certain businesses could benefit from the leverage and exposure that social media platforms created. This perspective has changed drastically over the last several years. Marketing experts and consultants have evolved from using the introductory phrase, "let's see if social media is right for you" to "let's see how you can best benefit from social media."
So, all of the business owners and CEOs that are wondering if social media is right for your company, the answer is yes. It is time to go social. There was a point when companies that conducted business from a brick and mortar store front did not believe that they needed to have a web presence; however, over time it became necessary to at least have a website as a means of building awareness and credibility. Things have evolved to the point that every company, no matter how they conduct business, must have an active web presence. This means that they are actively engaging their target audience through a number of platforms, including their website and social media.
Because social media allows a company to effectively connect with their target audience in a non-invasive manner, it creates the perfect platform to gain pertinent customer intelligence. Furthermore, it also allows the company to develop a relationship that will lead to the trust of the customer, and it is this trust that will lead to customer loyalty and long-term repeat business.
No matter where a company is sitting in their market currently, it is vital for them to integrate social media marketing into their branding and marketing strategy. According to a survey conducted by Constant Contact, 73 percent of small businesses and organizations have already begun using social media to increase their exposure and reach. Additionally, the survey revealed that 62 percent of those that are not yet using it plan on integrating it into their marketing strategy within the next 12 months.
Social media has completely revolutionized the manner in which people connect, share and discover information. Technology and social media have advanced to the point in which their expansive reach allows the average consumer to get the latest current events faster than the media outlets that used to control and release this type of content, so tapping into the powerful leverage of social media is vital to the success and longevity of any company.
Social media has become the primary medium through which people are connected -- whether it is to share valuable data or to simply chat. Social media networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest, are mediums through which social interactions take place in high volume on a daily basis. This means that a company that establishes a presence on these platforms will have a distinct competitive advantage of a company that does not.
Social media marketing is an innovative method of building relationships with customers. When a company engages their target audience on social media, they are able to share relevant quality content that the customer will find useful and helpful. Furthermore, they are also able to present their brand in a manner in which they can control, protect and manage it. Social media has become the center of customer engagement, PR, marketing and general branding, allowing businesses to expand their reach without having to empty their marketing budgets. In simple, social media is word-of-mouth powered by technology. It gives the company the power to leverage the positive feedback from loyal customers as well as new customers that are impressed with the company's products, services or message.
A survey by Chadwick Martin Bailey Consumer Pulse revealed that 75 percent of people are highly likely to share content that they find appealing with their friends, family and coworkers online, with at least 49 percent of these individuals doing this on a weekly basis.
The key element associated with the success of social media marketing is leverage, therefore it behooves companies to maximize their engagement efforts through creating a social media campaign.
Because social media has so many different uses, it is important for a company to determine how they will use each social media platform, developing a lucid and clear vision of what they will be expecting from their efforts. Some companies will be looking to drive sales conversions while others will be looking to build relationships in order to create customer loyalty.
Whatever the primary goal may be, it will be important to set specific goals that can be measured. With such an expansive and multifaceted tool at its disposal, it can be easy for a company to lose direction; however, with the right amount of planning and monitoring, effective and measurable results are inevitable.
One of the most common misconceptions among business owners who are considering social media marketing is the belief that they must abandon their other marketing strategies. The truth is that social media works great when it is integrated into other marketing promotions. For instance, many companies that use a significant amount of email marketing find that integrating social media into their email campaigns has massive benefits. Furthermore, there are no limitations to the way that these campaigns can be merged. The key is to simply find the right balance, based on the target audience.
Due to the fact that social media sites are far more casual than most other mediums of customer engagement, it makes it easier to connect with the consumer without being intrusive. A simple two-line post can go a long way in building brand awareness.
The key is for companies to understand what they are trying to accomplish with their marketing strategy and then to determine how social media can best facilitate their goals. Additionally, it is also important for companies to understand that not all social media sites are the same; therefore, not every social media platform will produce the same results. This means that it is vital for the company to identify the best platform to accomplish their primary and secondary goals.
The potential for social media to boost a company's reach and brand awareness is literally unlimited. It all depends on the company and the approach and effort that they put into the campaign.