Aside from customer referrals and search engine optimization, social media has single handedly become the most cost-effective form of marketing. For the first time in history, businesses now have social platforms designed to inform and engage their perspective audience. There has never before been a time when you could so easily express your company message and industry knowledge to such a large mass of people. When considering the overwhelming reach and user volume of social media, it’s hard to believe that your only cost is time. Below I will systematically break down every potential social solution and how it can positively affect the online campaign for your business.
I mention YouTube first because it’s most often overlooked by businesses. YouTube’s company slogan, “Broadcast Yourself”, should be a good indicator as to the importance of utilizing such a solution. Video can allow you to quickly convey your message and give your audience a deeper connection to not only yourself, but your services or products. It allows viewers to expedite the time it takes to gain insight into your expertise, a feel for your level of professionalism, and the care that you offer your customers. Depending on the audience, most people would prefer to watch a video rather than read the exact same material. With that said, it would be wise to offer both video and textual to ensure that your users will view your message or content.
In addition to the obvious marketing potential, search engines such as Google give an increase in site ranking if they see positive user feedback taking place on your YouTube channel. With the new Google Panda algorithm update, they’ve put an ever increasing focus on social media. Therefore, for the sake of ranking your website, it’s highly recommended to include YouTube videos even if it isn’t your primary focus in the realm of social media.
With Facebook exceeding 500 million users it’s pretty self-explanatory as to why your business exposure is essential on this platform. There are varying levels of success for each business depending on the services or products offered, but on average the results can be overwhelming, if done correctly. Unfortunately, one thing that you need to realize about Facebook is that users aren’t going there to look for products or services. They’re going to Facebook to socialize with friends, family, and to reflect on their daily lives. Granted, the key here is not to intrude on their lives, but to respectfully engage and offer value. When the time comes, they’ll already be aware of your products or the services you offer. People have to see your company brand 7 times before they’re willing to buy a product or use a service. Furthermore, when considering the time it takes for exposure, you need to realize that this isn’t a fast process for procuring customers, but a solid long-term brand awareness campaign.
So your probably wondering how this can be done? Well, to effectively engage your audience on Facebook you need to be continually active, update your profile with new content, and offer value. Being active consists of posting weekly articles, responding to wall posts, and joining discussion groups relevant to your industry. Newly generated content goes hand-in-hand with staying active. You’ll often times see companies on Facebook release a few articles and then taper off into oblivion. In opposition, adding weekly articles and videos will yield the greatest long-term results for your business. In addition to articles and videos being posted, a really effective technique is what we refer to as “offering incentivized value”. An example of this could be offering a free E-book, product discounts, or free 15 minutes consultations in exchange for liking your page. You wouldn’t think a “like button” would be all that significant, but when considering that each user that likes your page, an update is then sent to all of their friends. On average, each Facebook user has around 140 friends, so when doing the math you can quickly see the value here. To simplify, the more likes you have, the greater reach you have for brand exposure.
The functionality of Twitter could be considered rudimentary in comparison to most other social media platforms. However, Twitter does have an exponentially increasing user base of a 200 million and a diverse demographic of users. The actual use of Twitter has ranged from following celebrities to functioning as an information aggregator. The primary features of twitter consists of following others, increase your followers, and making tweets. A tweet is an update that goes out to all of your followers and can be viewed by the Twitter interface, email, or a text to their cell phone. You can only imagine the exposure that your tweeted messages would receive if you had thousands of followers.
So you’re probably wondering how to get these followers? Well, there are many different strategies you can employ, but one simplistic way is to just get out there and start following other Twitter members. Each time that you follow someone, your profile image is shown briefly on that users twitter profile page as a recent follower. The other method is offering valuable content such as articles, videos, and other materials of interest. You have to ask yourself why someone would even have an interest in following you. Moreover, the more value that you bring to the table, the more likely people will have an interest in following you. I would also like to mention that Twitter is a great platform for doing blog posts and article releases. It can be challenging to build an audience directly from the blog on your company website. By “tweeting” the blog posts from your website, you’re able to easily transfer the Twitter audience and have a greater opportunity for a continual audience.
For LinkedIn to prove as an effective social media tool for your business, you need to ask yourself if your services or products are relevant to the customers associated with this platform. Obviously, LinkedIn has a very professional demeanor and makes for a great business networking environment. However, if you’re a coffee shop or restaurant, it might not be the best place to spend your time when trying to procure new customers. In opposition, if you were a business litigation lawyer,you would have much higher chance for success. In terms of increasing exposure for your profile or business, you can simply employ the same tactics used in Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. LinkedIn has many similar features such as groups, likes, follows, and tweets, also known as updates. To simplify, focusing on gaining connections, recommendations, and staying active will yield the best results.
Despite the fact that LinkedIn may only work for certain businesses, it’s not to say you shouldn’t use it. Every business can gain valuable relationships leading to potential customer referrals. A few people referring business to one another can make for extremely high returns. In addition, LinkedIn makes for a very valuable hiring tool.
The beauty of using all of these social media platforms is that in addition to the free exposure, your gaining much needed traction in search engines. With Google’s new panda update,focusing on social media is now more crucial than ever. These marketing mediums should be treated as an amazing opportunity for free leads and you need to realize that you only get out what you put in.