Do you own or work for a company with slumping sales? Are you desperate to improve your bottom line but don’t have a ton of cash for marketing activities? Then you may want to try something new. You need to try Social Media Marketing. In this article, we’ll go over what exactly this relatively new kind of marketing is, different social media channels, and some solid tips to help you promote your brand effectively. Let’s get started:
What is Social Media Marketing?
Social Media Marketing is any activity that strives to gain traffic or attention for your business through any social media websites. Depending on the social media site, your marketing activities may be very different. In general, your Social Media Marketing activities will help potential customers, or prospects, find your business on the internet, and hopefully turn these prospects into buying customers, or conversions. There are two ways to accomplish this.
The first is by using Search Engine Optimization, or SEO. SEO activities are tactics that marketers use to make sure their business ranks as high as possible on search results pages like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. Higher rankings naturally lead to more website clicks, since the user doesn’t have to scroll down to see your business. For example, let’s say your company sells baseballs. When a user searches for baseballs on Google, you want your website to pop up on the results page as close to the top as you can get it. That makes it far more likely that people who search for baseballs on Google will click the link to your page and go to your website. SEO is developing into a specialized marketing activity, since it is constantly changing, and predicting results can be difficult. To make matters more confusing, search engines are constantly changing the way that they calculate and arrive at search rankings. Trial and error are an expensive way to learn this skill, so it’s often best to consult a marketing professional to improve your SEO, unless you have lots of time on your hands to learn it yourself.
The second kind of Social Media Marketing is simply trying to induce prospects to click on links to your website from social media channels by providing useful information, advertisements, interesting photos, funny videos, blog posts, etc. These different forms of information are referred to as content. Providing pertinent content will establish a relationship with your potential and current customer base, and also help with your SEO rankings as well. This type of marketing activity generally involves supplying a steady stream of content that people will react to favorably, so they will end up on your website buying your product. Unfortunately, all social media channels are not created equal, so the strategy you use on one channel may not work for the others. Savvy Social Media Marketers know what works on each channel, and can plan their marketing activities accordingly. Let’s take a look at some of the major social media channels and how they differ:
Facebook is the largest social media channel in the world. On Facebook, users can share pictures, videos, articles, and sound files to their community of friends. Businesses will want to post industry-related articles, photos, and videos to stimulate conversation. To market effectively here, you need to first create a page for your business, and pay close attention to the visuals. You want visitors to your Facebook page to be visually stimulated so they get a positive first impression of your business. The overall atmosphere of this social media channel is relaxed and friendly, so keep the tone of your business page the same. Post content on Facebook at least three times a week, keeping the tone light. Always provide a link back to your website on every post to make it easy for prospects to click directly to your landing page.
Instagram is a social media channel that is also owned by Facebook. Here, users can quickly share photos and short video clips with other users who “follow” them. Accounts can be set up to be public or private, and business accounts are allowed as well. The tone on Instagram is faster paced than Facebook, with an attitude of fun and excitement. On this channel, keep your content light, smart, positive, or funny. Your business should post on Instagram at least once per day to stay fresh in people’s minds. One good feature of Instagram is that you can post pictures to Instagram and Facebook at the same time, which can save social media marketers some valuable time and effort.
This is a unique social media platform that took a long time to gain any traction, and is evolving over time. It started out as a place where users could share text only “tweets” of 140 characters or less. Now you can Tweet photos, short videos, and GIFs in addition to text, but the text is still limited to 140 characters. The attraction of this channel is the focus on dialog and communication, so you need to be active on this site. You can’t check your Twitter account once a week and expect a loyal following. On Twitter, you should follow individuals and businesses in your field or related ones, and you will gain followers in return.
Another way to gain the attention of others is to retweet their posts, which is considered a nice favor. When tweeting for your business, you should mix up your specials, news, and discount coupons with fun or strange tweets that aren’t focused on the business at all. This establishes a more personal relationship with your followers, forming a stronger bond to your brand.
This social media platform centers around images of objects, so it’s an ideal place for retail. Users can simply search for a product and be presented with tons of related results complete with images. Smart Pinterest marketers will always include the price on their image, because people on this site are ready to buy. Pinterest is a great platform to link back to your blog on your website, and you can also find like-minded people (potential customers) on the site using a free tool called PinGroupie. This site is still growing and evolving, but the future looks bright for Pinterest.
Google+ is Google’s attempt at direct competition with Facebook. On this site, users can share links, videos, and photos in a fun and casual atmosphere. For marketers, one advantage on Google+ is the ability to create circles, which divide your followers into groups, so you can target your customers more effectively. One way to take advantage of this would be to create a loyal customer group, and reward them with big discounts weekly or monthly.
On Google+, you can also use Hangouts to hold video conferences, calls, or chats. To get a more accurate feel of your customers needs, tap into their feedback by creating a Google+ Community for your business. This is a great social media platform, but it’s still relatively new and has a long way to go to catch up with Facebook. Post here at least three times per week.
This social media channel is a professional-based social media site. It could be described as the biggest networking event in history. On Linkedin, users are able to converse with others in their industry or similar ones, and they can share content that can be helpful to their business community. This is a great place to establish a professional relationship with your customers and colleagues, but the overall atmosphere is strictly professional. No shenanigans here, so keep it serious.
When it comes to video content, YouTube is the undisputed champ. This is the best place to go for instructional videos for anything you can imagine. A great way to use this tool is to provide “how to” videos using your products. This provides a valuable service to your customers, and it also helps out with your Google SEO rankings, so it’s a win-win. A quality YouTube video can drive a ton of traffic to your website. Quality is better than quantity here, so post on an as-needed basis, for example as you introduce new products into the market.
Those are just a few of the most popular social media channels that businesses can use for their marketing activities. There are many more social media channels available, such as Snapchat, Reddit, Yelp, and FourSquare, to name a few. The primary goal of your business’ Social Media Marketing activities is to drive traffic to your business website and boost sales. However, you can probably see that marketing across even a few of these channels can be a time and thought intensive process that requires a specialized knowledge.
If you and your business could use some help with SEO or getting some Social Media Marketing started, or you just have some questions, contact the professionals at Copywriter Today to see how they can help you provide plenty of relevant content to your customers.