The unseen power of social media marketing – making it work for you!
Love it or loath it, social media marketing is here to stay - for now at least!
For forward-thinking companies’ striving for leadership positions in today’s fast moving, highly competitive and often fickle consumer market, engaging with their audience through social media platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook has become a vital element of their online marketing strategy.
While it’s evident that more and more companies are recognising the importance of social media marketing, very few companies I come across as a marketing consultant, actually fully understand or appreciate the enormous power available to them as a brand and business through the strategic use of social media channels.
Many companies are still sceptical about of time and resource needed to deliver a successful social media campaign and are not always fully convinced about the return of investment gained as a result of their efforts.
If you’re still unsure as to whether social media is worth the effort and planning needed to make it work, here are a few reasons why social media marketing might be more effective to your business than you realise:
Engage directly with your Audience -
The success of an organisation, company or business really does depend on the loyalty and support of its audience. One of the best and cost effective ways to engage and build connections with your audience is through regular, relevant and interesting content.
Social media platforms such as twitter and facebook create a 2-way communication channel allowing companies to share content across a variety of different media tools (video, music, text, apps, smart phones & tablets) and interact with their audience on an ‘enhanced’ targeted and individual level; removing the barrier between the customer and company in a way no other marketing channel can currently offer.
Brand recognition – one of the most powerful uses of social media is as a brand recognition tool. Social media allows companies to decide how they want to be positioned and perceived by their audience. A word of caution though, social media is an extension of your company and should reflect the values, personality and profile of your company and brand in a socially responsible manner. Inappropriate use of social media can have a damaging effect on your company profile within a matter of minutes, so ensure all content is vetted before you communicate it out to the world.
Expand your reach - one of the advantages of social media is the viral marketing or ‘word of mouth’ marketing opportunities it delivers; viral marketing is the means by which marketing messages, content and experiences are spread organically from one individual to another; creating the potential for exponential growth in the message’s exposure and influence to new and potential audience members.
PR and Promotion – Social media, blogging and e-marketing tools have changed the way companies communicate with their external environment. The ability to circulate news, promotions, product launches and announcements in real-time has become invaluable to companies over the last few years. No longer do you have to wait for an article or press release to be printed or picked up by traditional media sources before your audience have the chance to find out what you are doing. And, to a greater extent companies now have more control over who sees their news and when.
Generate Website Traffic – Social media really does translate into sales, new customers and opportunities and should be used a lead generator. The more content, such videos, blogs, news articles you post or tweet through your social media channels linking back to your website the more likely people are to visit your website and cement the connection either through a sales transaction, newsletter sign up or enquiry.
Competitive Advantage – While you dabble in social media with no real thought given to how can effectively they use it, strategic thinking companies are already extending their lead in the market, harnessing the power of social media marketing and creating a real sense of activity and buzz around them.
The right social media channel – Having decided that social media should be an important part of your marketing mix, the decision now is which social media platform to use for your company. One of the biggest mistakes companies make is to create a profile on all of the available platforms, spreading themselves too thinly and investing time and effort into social media channels that bare no relevance to their target audience. The most effective strategy is to use the platforms that your target audience engage with most and that provides you with the tools needed to share your intended message.
Social media marketing is essential for growing our marketing consultancy business – through a combination of Twitter, for building my ‘social’ and brand presence and LinkedIn for developing professional business relationships, we able to connect with local businesses, clients and potential partners on a level I would struggle to match in the same time frame using traditional networking routes. With the communication channels widening and access to our 'target' audience increased, I am in no doubt that social networking works for us.