Using social media in reaching your audience provides for several benefits including cost efficiency in the achievement of the desired results. Keep in mind that social media is one of the most popular platforms where consumers interact with each other and with companies (i.e., brands); 80% of users, for example, preferred to connect with brands via Facebook than on any other site including the brands’ official websites.
As such, establishing and maintaining a strong social media presence is one of the keys to enjoying a successful relationship with your target customers. When we say successful relationships, we also mean customer loyalty that translates to healthy profits for your business.
Understanding Social Media
In order to understand social media marketing, it is necessary to understand social media itself. While regular media is usually a one-way street wherein you have little interactions with the authors, as is the case when reading a newspaper or watching television, social media is a two-way street where both parties can engage in active interaction.
Social media are sites where people share good ideas and great resources with others on their networks in so many ways. The sites and their members provide information while also interacting with each other based on said information, said interactions of which include asking for comments, votes, and ratings as well as making recommendations based on forums, among others.
Indeed, social media allows your company to communicate with your present and prospective customers, thus, resulting in better goodwill, stronger brand awareness, and deeper brand loyalty, among other desired results. In a world where communication and information are the twin weapons of business dominance, social media has an established place in business strategy.
Knowing the Platforms
But not all social media sites are equal in the eyes of your target customers. Your social media marketing plan must then identify the sites where your customers are most likely to congregate, thus, making it possible to implement a focused approach.
The most popular social media sites are:
• Facebook is the most popular social media site for good reasons. Its Business Fan Page feature allows businesses to create customized layouts, to communicate with their customers, and to provide an avenue for drumming up interest in their activities, among others. It is, indeed, a virtual place where people share good ideas and great resources.
• Twitter, with over half a billion unique profiles, is actually a microblogging site that allows members to post tweets – short updates on activities, events, and feelings, to name a few. Be careful about posting updates as studies have shown that over 50% of company tweets are ignored; be creative so that you can drum up interest in your brand.
Other social media sites where people share good ideas and great resources are Pininterest, YouTube, and Reddit. Not only will these aid in improving site traffic but these are also critical in providing a venue for learning from your audience.
Furthermore, keep in mind that enjoying the benefits of a cost-efficient and results-effective social media marketing plan requires careful consideration of the entire process. Experts suggest the following tips:
• Start with a plan. An audit of your existing social media marketing plan – or the lack thereof, is a must to ascertain where you are now and where you will be going. Hire a social media expert, if you must.
• Identify your goals. Social media marketing can contribute to the achievement of a wide variety of goals related to conversions, traffic and brand awareness, to name a few.
Also, you have to make sure your site’s web hosting can handle visitors and won’t go down. You want your customers to enjoy a good experience with your website each and every time, thus, encouraging them to come back.