Long gone is the era where social media was used strictly to keep tabs on old friends and share highly-filtered photos of your dinner. These days, social media is an undisputed marketing powerhouse. The importance of social media marketing for businesses in our digitally-driven society cannot be understated. It’s no longer an option for B2B and B2C businesses to have some sort of presence on social media – it’s a necessity.
Why is that? To put it simply, missing out on a social media presence for your business means missing out on new business. Not only are your potential customers on social media day in and day out, but your competitors most likely are as well.
So, what does this mean for your business? What makes social media marketing so crucial for businesses anyway? Which social media platforms should your business be on, and how do you get the most out of them? Let’s take a deep dive.
The Importance of Social Media Marketing: An Overview
The key to managing your social media presence successfully lies in its name: being social.
Social media marketing provides your business with one of the most direct lines of communication with your target audience possible. Being able to connect with customers, respond to their questions and address their concerns in real time is invaluable, especially while consumers are spending more time online than ever. Before we break down the importance of social media marketing platform by platform, let’s discuss some overarching benefits:
It Broadens Your Digital Footprint
If you’re offering groundbreaking products with top-of-the-line customer service but your target audience hasn’t heard of you, does your business really exist? Technically yes – but not in the minds of your ideal clientele. Think about how times you’ve made a purchase based on brand name recognition alone, or how many times you’ve said “I just saw an ad for that on Facebook!”
Having a broad digital footprint is ideal for businesses of all sizes in all industries because it increases your brand awareness on the web and beyond. Every time a social media follower shares one of your posts, your business is being put directly in front of their unique social network, exposing your brand to new populations who may not have discovered your business otherwise. This kind of quick and widespread organic exposure would cost a great deal of time and money to replicate through other marketing mediums, but social media affords it to you at little to no cost.
It Puts You Where Your Customers Are
Approximately 3.8 billion people use social media worldwide, and that number is expected to grow to 4.4 billion by 2025. While it’s hard to say for sure, one could make an educated guess that your business’ website probably isn’t receiving 3.8 billion unique visits per year.
“Build it and they will come” doesn’t necessarily apply to businesses. Instead, meet your target audience where they are. Consumers utilize social media to make informed purchasing decisions, particularly in regards to the way a brand interacts with their followers along with reviews left by previous customers. Some social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram even allow e-commerce businesses to connect their shop to their profile. This simplifies the sales funnel by enabling customers to make instant in-app purchases. It’s important to note that your business doesn’t necessarily need to have a presence on every social media platform, but more on that later.
It Provides You With Insights
How do you truly know how impactful your digital marketing efforts are if you don’t have the numbers to back it up? Thankfully, you’re in luck – most social media platforms provide businesses with the analytics behind their posts.
Analytics provide you with the who, what, when and where of your social media marketing campaign:
Who: Are your posts being seen and engaged with by one particular age bracket or gender over another?
What: What kind of posts are liked, shared and commented on the most frequently – photos, videos or text-based?
When: Do your posts perform better or worse depending on the day or time of day they are posted?
Where: Are your posts generating interest in a particular state, region or country?
Having these analytics available provides you with the valuable insights needed to tailor your social media marketing campaign around what’s already working and where there is room for improvement.
Which Social Media Platforms Are Right For My Business?
Not all social media platforms are created equal. As previously mentioned, your business might not benefit from having a presence on every social media platform available. Before you create an account on every social app in the app store, let’s take a deep dive into four social media powerhouses to determine which would be the most impactful for your business needs:
What It Is:
When you think of social media marketing for businesses, Facebook is probably the first platform that comes to mind. With 2.8 billion users every single month, Facebook is undisputedly the most popular social media platform in the world. What is it that makes Facebook so popular? There are many factors that contribute to Facebook’s global success, but one of the most impactful ones is it’s willingness to evolve to meet the needs of its users. Facebook has evolved far beyond the early days where the app’s primary purpose was to stay in touch with old classmates and distant relatives. Today, Facebook users rely on the platform to keep up with the news, watch video entertainment and inform their purchasing decisions.
Why It Matters:
Facebook provides businesses with a massive platform from which to connect and interact with current and potential customers. There are 60 million active business accounts on Facebook as of 2019. As if that wasn’t reason enough to consider joining, two thirds of Facebook users admit to visiting a local business’ Facebook page at least once a week. Simply put, if your business isn’t on Facebook, you could be missing out on literally millions of potential customers.
How To Do It Well:
Utilize Your Analytics: Facebook boasts a wide array of analytics for businesses who pay to advertise on the app, but there is still an impressive amount of free analytics available to all business pages. With Facebook’s built-in Audience Insights tools, any business is able to glean intel about the demographics of those interacting with their content, such as their age, gender, location education, past purchases and so on. Having this information available to you – especially at no cost – is invaluable as you modify your social media marketing efforts moving forward.
Ask for Reviews: Understanding the importance of social media marketing ultimately stems from understanding the overarching goal of social media marketing: conversions. Consumers are unlikely to invest in a company whose track record of success is spotty at best, or unknown at worst. Facebook offers an integrated review section on all business pages, which allows first-time visitors to get a sense for your reputation directly from real customers. Encourage your happiest customers to leave positive reviews on your Facebook page so curious visitors are greeted with a bevy of five-star votes of confidence.
Vary Your Content: Something that sets Facebook apart from other social media platforms is that it isn’t known for one type of post – it truly does host just about every type available. From text posts to photo posts and video posts to live streams, Facebook provides your business with a massive opportunity to test the waters with the types of content that resonate with your audience. Vary your content, and keep tabs on your analytics to see which ones generate the highest engagement and click-through rates.
What It Is:
Twitter is the ultimate platform for short-form content. With just 280 characters at your disposal, Twitter is designed in a way that encourages concise messaging at a rapid fire pace. This is a winning formula for their 326 million monthly users worldwide who use Twitter to keep up with breaking news stories more than any other platform. Like Facebook, Twitter is free but offers users the option to amplify their reach through paid advertising.
Why It Matters:
93% of users who follow a brand on Twitter plan to buy from them, and 67% of them have already. That’s huge. Secure a follow on Twitter, and your business is closer to securing a conversion than on any other social media platform. Twitter is especially beneficial for B2B companies, and 75% of B2Bs utilize it already. This means if your business isn’t interacting with your target audience there, your competitors probably are.
How To Do It Well
Post Often: The lifespan of a tweet is only about 18 minutes – the shortest of any social media post. This means if your company only tweets once per day, you are allotting yourself less than 20 minutes to make a memorable impression before your message is buried. Social media powerhouse Buffer suggests 5 tweets per day is the sweet spot to maximize your visibility without turning off your followers by posting too frequently.
Engage With Your Followers: The informal nature of Twitter provides businesses with an opportunity to engage with their customers much more conversationally than they might on more structured forms of social media. This opens the door to humanizing your brand. Regularly check the “mentions” section of your notifications tab, and like, reply and/or retweet any post where your company’s handle is mentioned. Just be sure to take the time to expertly craft your response before you respond – you might dream of having your viral Twitter moment, but the last thing you want is for it to be for the wrong reasons.
Engage With Other Brands: Curating the perfect Twitter feed for your brand is more than just what you post – it’s also what you share. If another company links to an interesting blog on their account, retweet it. If you find a cool piece of interactive content like a calculator or infographic, tweet it out to your followers and “@” tag the company that posted it originally. Building this sense of camaraderie and familiarity with similar (though not competing) brands in the Twittersphere increases the likelihood that they will share your tweets in return, which expands your reach to their network of followers.
What It Is
Instagram exploded onto the social media marketing scene in 2010, and has shown no signs of slowing down since. The platform was originally created strictly to share photos, and has since evolved to include stories, shopping, and a multitude of video features. Instagram boasts an impressive 1 billion monthly users worldwide – 25 million of which are business accounts. Similar to its owner company Facebook, Instagram offers paid advertising options along with a robust array of analytics for business accounts.
Why It Matters
If your business’ target audience is young adults, Instagram is without a doubt the platform where you should be focusing your efforts. Instagram is dominated by Millennial users, 33% of which fall into their largest age bracket between 25 and 34 years old. Instagram also provides a massive opportunity for marketers who have broken into paid advertising on social media, both in terms of reach and ROI. 29% of marketers reportedly spend the majority of their social media advertising budget on Instagram, and 70% of shoppers turn to Instagram to discover new products.
How To Do It Well
Utilize Video: From second-long videos in Stories to minute-long videos in Reels and even longer Live Videos, Instagram is the platform to be on if videography is an important factor in your social media marketing strategy. Experiment with each type of video featured on Instagram to see which one generates the most engagement with your audience.
Make It Shoppable: Did you know eCommerce businesses can make their Instagram posts shoppable? All it takes is a Facebook account and products to sell. Once your business’ Instagram account is linked to your Facebook account, you can connect your product catalog – either from Facebook directly or from an eCommerce platform like Shopify. After your catalog is connected, you will be able to tag your products directly in your Instagram posts and Stories. This provides your followers with an easy, streamlined shopping experience without ever having to leave the app.
Provide Customer Service: Customers can purchase from your shop directly within the Instagram app, so it makes sense that they would expect to receive customer service in the same place as well. Make sure your direct messages (DMs) are open to all users, and check them regularly to make sure you aren’t missing any questions from potential customers.
What It Is
If you’re a professional in just about any industry (you are if you’re reading this article!), LinkedIn needs no formal introduction. LinkedIn is the go-to social media platform for business-minded individuals and their companies, acting as a combination between a traditional social media platform and your living resume. For businesses, this means showcasing your latest work, connecting with potential job candidates and establishing yourselves as experts in your field. For entrepreneurs, this means offering your own thoughts and expertise, sharing thought provoking content and cultivating a reputation as a thought leader.
Why It Matters
When we think about the importance of social media marketing, we often think in terms of B2C marketing. However, for B2B businesses, LinkedIn is the most effective platform to connect with fellow professionals, entrepreneurs and thought leaders who could one day become customers. With 55 million companies on LinkedIn, it’s no surprise that 96% of B2B marketers have a presence there as well! If your business isn’t active on LinkedIn, there’s a good chance your competitors are already on there making the critical connections your business is looking for.
How To Do It Well
Fill Out Your Profile: You probably wouldn’t leave sections of your resume blank, would you? This same rule applies to your business’ LinkedIn profile. Make sure every section of your LinkedIn account is completed or your business runs the risk of looking unprofessional. With this in mind…
Add Community Hashtags: Community hashtags enable your company to find and be found by like-minded LinkedIn users also interested in that topic. When you add community hashtags to your company profile, you will be able to filter content to only show posts that use that hashtag. In turn, anyone else following that same hashtag will be able to easily find your content within the community hashtag feed. If we added #digitalmarketing to our community hashtags, for example, anyone else following the hashtag would see our content within the #digitalmarketing feed. Adding community hashtags helps to ensure that your profile is easily seen by users with an active interest in the type of content you share.
Use Visual Media: LinkedIn posts with images get twice the engagement of those that are strictly text-based. On top of this, LinkedIn users are 20 times more likely to share a video post. Clearly, visual media can be one of your company’s greatest assets on LinkedIn if you aren’t using them already. Experiment with posts containing infographics, company photos and 30 to 90 second videos to see which types of visual media drive the most engagement with your LinkedIn audience.
Other Forms of Social Media
The importance of social media doesn’t only extend to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. Your business should have a social media presence on whichever apps your target audience spends the most time, and that might include emerging platforms like TikTok or Pinterest. Trouble is, many digital marketing agencies are unwilling to expand their social media services beyond the “big four” platforms. If you find yourself in this situation, it may be time to work with a digital marketing agency with the flexibility to expand your social media strategy.
Creative Click Media operates under the belief that we should always be learning, especially when it comes to fast-paced arenas like social media. Our team of marketing experts consistently keep up with the latest social media trends, updates and platforms in order to create a one-of-a-kind strategy specific for your business goals. Engagement, leads and conversions are only a click away – contact our team to get started.
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