Digital marketing is a lot like fine wine – it only gets better with time.
And we say this because as time goes on, the internet becomes a better platform for marketing your business. It’s an opportune way to engage with your audience without having to “sell” to them.
Social media is one of the platforms companies are using to do just that. It’s also likely why 37% of consumers find purchase inspiration from these channels.
When done right, you can use social media to grow consumer trust for your brand. Once you do, you can become an influencer of buyers’ choices.
There are two ways you can use social media to grow your brand – organic and paid promotions.
But if you’re not sure how you can use social media networks to increase your visibility, reach, and conversions, then continue reading!
In case you’re new to the world of social media, we decided to give a quick overview of what it’s all about.
Social media networks are sites people use to communicate and engage with one another on the web. It’s grown in popularity over the past decade – for both consumers and businesses.
Social media is a term to describe how these platforms are used. They allow you to publish different types of media, including blog posts, videos, and photos. And the purpose is to do it in a social way.
So people are able to like, share, and comment on your posts (aka media). Users are also able to follow your profile to stay tuned in with the posts you make.
Those with the most engaged followers get the most visibility and conversions. But it takes a well-planned and executed strategy to pull this off.
Although there are many businesses witnessing success on social media, there are still some entities that aren’t using social media. Some believe it’s a waste of time and money or that it’s just a fad.
But this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Over the past 15 years, social media has done nothing but grow. From the days of Myspace to now, we’ve witnessed dozens of platforms sprout and grow.
The only trend we see is users switching platforms that better meet their needs. Yet, social networks like Facebook and Twitter are still holding strong.
When you look at the stats, it’s easy to see why businesses are scrambling to put together their own social media marketing strategies. For example, Facebook has over 2.2 billion users, YouTube has 1.5 billion users, Google+ has 111 million users, and Instagram has 1 billion users.
And it’s not just the young people using social media. Those between 55 and 64 are 2x more likely to engage with branded content than someone 28 or younger.
With the billions of active and engaged users on these social platforms, it’s plain to see why companies spent $8.3 billion on social ads in 2015. This increased substantially in 2016 to $40 billion spent on social advertising.
But does it work?
We find that non-customers are 3x more likely to visit a retailer after seeing their social media ad.
Next, let’s take a look at how you can use social media to grow your online presence.
When you come at marketing with a traditional mindset, you’ll wonder whether social media is a venue that’s right for your company.
But as you’ll find, businesses across all industries are using social media in some form or fashion to promote their product or service. It’s all about using the right strategy to reach your target audience (and engage them).
What makes social media unique is that it enables brands to take part in the customer experience. The majority of today’s consumers spend a lot of time online conversing with others, learning new things, entertaining themselves, and buying products or services.
You can take part in all of these moments using social media. These platforms allow you to converse with, teach, entertain, and sell to consumers.
But you have to do it in a way that’ll resonate with them. Otherwise, no one will want to consume your content and information.
The key is to earn the trust of your audience so that they become customers and loyal advocates of your brand. Social proof means everything to today’s consumers.
If others aren’t buying your product or service or giving it raving reviews, then chances are, you’re going to struggle to convert prospects.
There are three key areas you can use social media for:
Next, let’s review some of the popular social networks.
With the billions of active users on Facebook, it makes sense for every business to consider using it at some point or another.
You can look at Facebook as the hangout spot for consumers. They come here to socialize, share their experiences, and catch up on with people and brands that they follow.
It’s also safe to say that people trust the information they find here. So much so that 52% of online and offline purchases were influenced by Facebook content in 2015.
The most popular posts on Facebook tend to be those with visuals. So if you can consistently publish content with images and videos, then this is a great platform for you.
It’s ideal for B2C companies, however, there are some B2B companies effectively using it also.
On Facebook, you’re able to create a brand page that people can like and follow. You can display your company hours, mission, products or services, phone numbers, and address.
Some go as far as to connect their online store so consumers can shop directly through their Facebook page.
Then you have the option of promoting your posts, which is when you pay to have one of your posts advertised to target audiences. Combining this with Facebook ads is a great way to gain visibility for your brand page.
Now, if you’re in the market of selling to other businesses, then you’ll find LinkedIn to be an optimal choice. It’s what professionals use to connect and network with other professionals.
Businesses from all over the world (200 different countries) use this platform. Altogether, LinkedIn boasts more than half a billion users.
Like Facebook, LinkedIn allows you to publish content of all kinds, including images, blog posts, and videos.
The difference is that your profile focuses on your business. You’re able to add details about your job history (like a resume), schools attended, skills, and hobbies.
Plus, your clients are able to leave recommendations (aka reviews) to help earn you more business. Those in your connection circle can endorse your skills to further help promote your expertise.
Now, this isn’t to say that B2C companies can’t use LinkedIn. You can use it to recruit influencers, perform market research, and more.
You’re also able to start LinkedIn ad campaigns to help grow your reach and visibility.
Say you’re in a business that’s highly visual – for example, you own a floral shop, real estate business, fashion design company, or the like.
In this case, Instagram is a great platform to use. This is because it’s 90% visual. Sure, you can include text with the images and videos you post (plus, it’s recommended you do so).
This platform is for those who find visual content appealing vs text. It’s a wall of images posted by all the members you follow.
As a business, you can use this to promote your brand through visual storytelling. For example, you can showcase your products or services in action. You can create moving pictures to demonstrate your product or service.
Or you can create Instagram Stories, which are videos you publish that are only visible for 24 hours. What makes this effective is that it creates a sense of urgency to watch it.
Social media users don’t like missing out so you can play on this to get more visibility for a post. Just make sure it counts. For example, use it to promote a flash sale, a new product/service, or behind-the-scenes access.
Also, be sure to include hashtags in your posts to help non-followers find your content.
Twitter is a lot like a hot press feed. It’s what you use when you want to get information out quickly and in as little words as possible.
This platform was previously limited by its short character count. Before it was only 140 characters per post. But they recently doubled this to 280 characters.
In order to make the most of Twitter, you’ll have to master the art of being clear and concise. You can use this to make company announcements, start conversations, and make comments about events in real-time.
You can also include links to blog posts and videos and share images and infographics. It’s a more fast-paced social platform, which means your posts quickly become irrelevant.
This is why you’ll find some brands tweeting consistently throughout the day, every day.
If you’re tweeting high-value ever-green posts, then you also retweet these for those who may have missed it days, weeks, or months ago.
In order to make social media work for your brand, you need a marketing strategy in place. This will go into detail about which platforms to use based on your business goals and your target audience.
This will include analyzing your customers to learn everything possible about them. For example, their demographics, pet peeves, problems, favorite platforms, age range, location, and so on.
It’s also critical to look at your competitors. Analyzing their social media presence will give you an idea of what you have to do to compete.
Maybe it’s to offer better customer service or implement better features, such as chatbots, “shop now” buttons, and so on.
One mistake many businesses make in the beginning is trying to be in too many places at once. Or worse, being on the platforms their audience doesn’t frequent.
With the help of social media marketing experts, you can ensure you’re only marketing on the social channels that will benefit you the most. It’s ideal to use a handful of channels that your audience uses the most.
At Gray Group International, we conduct thorough research to develop a solid social media marketing strategy. If you’d like to get started developing a campaign that’ll establish your brand as a trusted authority, then reach out to us today!