How to Use Social Media Marketing to Boost Your Company’s Profile and Sales
Perhaps no technology in the last 5 years has had as profound of an impact on society as social media. The emergence and spread of Facebook, Digg, TripAdvisor, Reddit, Youtube, Twitter, and others has revolutionized how people interact with their friends, family, colleagues and even strangers. User bases on these sites have reached astronomical proportions with people from around the world tweeting, messaging, and chatting with one another on a daily basis. Social media has also revolutionized marketing and created new avenues for you to reach your target market and build up your brand image.
There are several ways to deliver your marketing message online. One way is to create your own social media profile and to use it to promote your products or services. Through your social media profile you can post blog articles, videos, pictures, or other forms of digital media.
Another effective and perhaps easier method is to simply buy ad space on social media websites. These ads are similar to traditional website ads but through data mining user profiles ad companies are able to target your specific target audience with high accuracy. Another emerging option is to create “viral media” that encourages social media users to spread your marketing message for you.
What is Social Media Marketing Best Used for?
Social media has become the Swiss Army knife of marketing and is useful in many different circumstances. Practically every business can use social media to reach their consumers and customers. Further geographic, demographic, and user preferences can be used to reach highly specific target audiences.
You can also raise awareness of coupons and deals through social media sites. First, by using your own social media profile, such as a Facebook page, you can reach out to your fans with a promotion. Then your fans can spread the promotion among their friends who in turn can continue to share the message. On the other hand you can build up customer loyalty by offering special deals exclusively to your closest fans, creating a sort of VIP list for your company and increasing customer loyalty.
The Benefits of Social Media
Most importantly, social media lets you get directly in touch with your customers. Social media can be used to build close and meaningful relationships with customers, helping you and your product become a part of their life.
Social media also allows you to reach new and bigger audiences. This is especially true if you use viral tactics or are able to build up a lot of interaction with your customers. As fans interact with your pages their friends often get notified through the social media network.
Social media also increases ease of contact and even allows you to get to know your customers. You can figure out what their preferences and interests are simply by glancing at their page. In the past this type of data could have set you back thousands upon thousands of dollars, now it practically comes to you! Customers will also be able to easily provide feedback.
Your search rankings on traditional search engines, like Google, can also be increased through aggressive social media marketing. As you become more popular search engines take notice and improve your rank.
The Downsides to Social Media
Social media must be constantly monitored and updated. If your page grows stagnant you risk losing fans. If information, such as promotions and deals, is out of date you could alienate customers. Due to the high levels of effort and maintenance many small businesses run minimal to non-existent social media campaigns.
Further, social media websites are like foreign countries with their separate rules and authority figures. Social media administrators might find that you violated some rule and punish you for it. Also, social media sites often gain a great deal of control over the information you provide through their site.
Negative information can also be spread quickly through social media. If your social media manager posts a comment ridiculing a customer, for example, it could go viral. This might sound like a nightmare scenario but it happens all the time.
Maximizing Your Social Media Efforts
Managing a social media campaign can be a lot of work but the rewards almost always outweigh the costs. The following tips will help you maximize your social media campaigns:
- Focus on building relationships with your clients through interaction. Engagement is the key.
- Keep up to date on the newest and hottest social media sites and trends.
- Learn how to automate your social media campaign with widgets and other software applications.
- Build one large and coherent campaign that links all your social media sites and their key messages.
- Be proactive and social! Don’t wait for people to come to you, engage them!
At the end of the day you will have to be unique and engaging to connect with your customers. Merely throwing up a page that says “Hey! I’m here!” isn’t enough. You need to build and maintain a following and that will require time and patience but the rewards will be worth it!