No matter where you do business or who your customers are, chances are they’re online. Nearly three-quarters of Americans are on social media, and approximately three billion people across the globe are tapped in. Connecting with your audience in the places they already frequent is a natural fit for marketing, but the problem is that a lot of companies don’t get the results they want from their campaigns right away, usually due to strategic issues, or don’t see the benefits, to begin with. That leaves these valuable channels untapped.
Your Business Needs Social Media
When social media marketing is done well, it offers a wealth of benefits for the organization and its customers.
It’s an Affordable Marketing Channel
In marketing, we often refer to the cost of advertising in terms of CPM or cost per mille, the amount of money it takes to reach 1,000 people.
At a basic level, sharing your own content and curated content will have a CPM of pennies. It’s easy to do this for well under $1. That means businesses of any size, and any budget, can use social media to market. Naturally, the larger your size and budget, the more mileage you can get from campaigns through things like boosted posts and ads.
In these cases, social media marketing has a CPM of under $10, with some options, like Twitter, landing under $6. To be clear, this is targeted marketing, meaning your campaigns can be set up to reach only those who are likely to take action. So, although billboards, radio, and TV may fall close on the spectrum in cost, you’re paying to share your message with people who won’t be interested in your brand or products. Once you get into things that are targeted, like direct mailings, your CPM skyrockets to a minimum of $300.
In other words, nothing comes close to social media in terms of affordability.
You Can Build Brand and Product Awareness with Ease
Roughly half the people who follow your brand will do so because they want to learn about new products and services, but it’s important to note that about the same will unfollow if the content becomes irrelevant to them and large swaths will leave if they see too many promotional posts or ads. To get people sharing your posts, and thus giving your brand greater exposure and potentially growing followers, focus on creating posts that:
These will get your foot in the door so that, when you do share the occasional promotional post or mention a sale, your followers will be engaged and listen.
Your Organization Becomes an Authority on Social Media
Being seen as an authority, or subject matter expert, means even more people will come to rely on your organization as a solid source of information. It builds relationships and ultimately contributes to sales too. As you post on social media, you organically create the perception that you’re the authority in your industry—and rightly so. You are.
It Lets You Engage with Your Audience on a Large Scale and One-on-One
The success of your campaigns can be measured in a number of ways—likes, comments, shares, overall engagement. This will help you identify if your current strategies are working and let you test the effectiveness of new strategies on a large scale.
However, it’s important not to overlook opportunities to engage one-on-one with your followers too. Even if someone simply thanks you for posting a story, circle back and tell them you appreciate them reading or taking the time to comment. In the end, it’s these brief interactions that humanize your brand and build relationships.
Social Media Lets You Cultivate Authentic Experiences
“Authenticity” may sound like the buzzword of the day. After all, it really wasn’t something that was discussed much in marketing circles until millennials became consumers and brands realized they not only needed to stand for something but remain consistent in their convictions in order to hold the attention and loyalty of younger audiences. Yet, newer research shows that it’s not merely millennials who demand authenticity. Overall, 85 percent of Gen-Xers and 80 percent of Baby Boomers consider the authenticity of a brand when deciding who to support too.
Being active on social media means you can steer your brand’s story and keep things moving in a positive direction by narrating the story your followers will share. When they do, roughly 60 percent of their friends and family will take their posts into consideration as they purchase too.
You Can Deliver Better Service Through Social Channels
Regardless of whether you’re present on social media or not, people will talk about your brand on them. The difference is really in whether you’re there to turn their poor experiences into positive ones and their questions into answers.
Approximately 70 percent of consumers have used social media to resolve a customer service issue at least once. One in three prefers social media over other channels too. Perhaps the greatest business case is in the bottom line, though. When you engage with people and respond to them online, your customers will spend 20 to 40 percent more.
Choose Your Channels Wisely
You don’t need to be on all social media channels, so save your resources for the ones that will impact your business most and will contribute to your overall goals.
Twitter is Ideal for a Middle-Aged Audience
There are nearly 330 million active Twitter users across the globe. It attracts more than a third of those aged 13-29 and more than a quarter of those 30-49, with an audience that’s nearly an equal split between genders. Most Twitter users attended college and nearly a third earn $75k per year or more, so it’s one of the better places to reach a professional audience. It may not be your best bet if you want to reach a rural or older audience though.
Instagram Shines When You Need to Reach a Younger Audience
Instagram now has one billion active users worldwide. More than two-thirds of people 18-29 and almost half of those aged 30-49 use it. It’s particularly popular with women and girls and works well when you have lots of visual content to share and want to build relationships or reach a wide audience. However, it’s not the best for sales, particularly since you can’t include clickable links in your posts.
LinkedIn is Best for an Older Professional Audience
Even though LinkedIn doesn’t have the numbers Twitter and Instagram do, with about 310 million active users, it’s where you want to be if you need to reach college-educated people and those in high-income brackets. It’s also where you want to be if you’re in B2B marketing, considering every single Fortune 500 company is represented on the platform.
Facebook Catches Everyone, Including Those 65+
The platform blows all other social networks out of the water with 2.26 billion active users and reaches people from virtually every demographic background. At least 50 percent of each age demographic uses Facebook, with the exception of those 65 and up. In this case, Facebook attracts 46 percent, but it leads the pack by an 8 percent margin anyway.
Other Social Networks May Be a Good Fit Too
Drill down your consumer data or any new audiences you want to reach and do a demographic comparison by network. You may find channels like Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, Pinterest, and others are good fits for the audience you need to reach too.
Pair Your Channels with a Custom Strategy
After you explore the various channels and decide what’s best for your brand, the next step is creating a strategy that aligns with your business and overall marketing strategy.
A Comprehensive Strategy Addresses Many Things
- Audience Demographics
- Reach of Platform
- Business Goals
- Frequency of Posting/ Lifespan of a Post
- Type of Content Being Shared
Get Expert Help if You Need It
Social media can be a major business driver, but only if you have the right strategy in place and are leveraging the best channels for your needs. When companies try to leverage social media and find it doesn’t work, it’s because there’s a disconnect in one of these two areas. As a digital marketing expert with a business background, I get to know each company I serve and build a strategy from the ground up, ensuring organizations get all the benefits from going social and can measure their success in a way that makes sense based on business needs. If you’ve tried social media and it didn’t work or are trying to identify the best strategy before taking the plunge, I can help. Contact me for a consultation.