November 19, 2015
Social media sites are the fastest evolving media in the world. In less than a dozen years, it has gone from relative obscurity to Internet dominance. Today, any business that ignores social media does so at its own peril. Social networking and Social media have become integral to Internet marketing, business and social communications. Most importantly, it has changed the dynamic of what advertisers can say, do and get away with. No longer can businesses get away with touting poor products as the latest and greatest. Businesses can’t continue to provide poor customer service and expect to keep it under wraps. Today social networks allow consumers to spread good or bad news at the speed of the Internet. Businesses have to be proactive using social networks to stay ahead of the competition and any bad news that may escape into the social “network-sphere”. This article will provide 15 reasons why every business needs to proactively be using social media to win the hearts and minds of the consuming public. They will be listed in descending order of importance (as chosen by me) to help you see the big picture. So let the countdown begin.
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15. Social networks are mobile-friendly
Many of the top social media sites have apps enabling users to interact and engage in mobile social networking. As a matter of fact, the mobile market accounts for 60 percent of all internet traffic. Add to this the fact that most mobile social apps are phone friendly. If a mobile user wants to inquire or buy something, it’s just a touch away.
14. Social media provides back-links to your other web properties.
Providing relevant and current backlinks to your websites helps your SEO efforts. Social posts that are keyword optimized, relevant and timely, will improve your ranking if they are positive, commented on and shared. On top of that, every post counts as a separate backlink. These links can also rank high on search engines, especially if they are optimized for evergreen subjects or topics that are trending. All posts made to social nets (Twitter,LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, YouTube, Blogger and many others) all produce backlinks for your websites.
13. Social Networks can improve Organic Search Ranking.
Google almost always keeps its organic search ranking algorithms a secret. However, they often talk in general terms and have publicly stated that social media plays a very important role in their ranking system. Google’s own spokesmen and several studies, bear this out. We believe that out of the top ten ranking factors, a majority of them involve social networks in some way shape or form. This is especially true when you realize that every social post is a backlink to your web properties. It also falls in line with the understanding that social rating, sharing, and commenting all play a factor in producing the “best user search experience”, which is what google say’s is the ultimate goal of their search engine.
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12. Social Networks can also produce traffic independently of Google search
Such traffic can be created either organically or through pay per click. Many businesses advertises via Pay per Click marketing, and even though this works well for many businesses, it’s no longer the only game in town. You can engage in PPC marketing right in most of the top social networks. These include Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter etc. Most importantly, your social site can produce traffic directly to your landing pages. Social post and provide marketing messages directing prospects and clients to web pages that provide detailed information or even sell a product or service. All social networks allow you to insert URL links diverting traffic from the social site to your designated landing page.
11. You can sell directly on your social sites
Don’t forget, social sites are websites. Whether it’s Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or Blogger, social sites are also websites and many today allow you to program then in ways that allow you can add links to your shopping carts or have shopping carts embedded directly on the social pages. The primary difference between selling on your “website” and your social site is that you don’t own or pay for the use of the social site. You may own the content, but in most cases you are not paying rent to Facebook, LinkedIn, Blogger or any other social site for hosting. There are some technical limitations on social sites but those restrictions, no longer prohibit selling on them.
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10. Social posts can show up in organic search – quickly
A social post has a life of its own. Most are familiar with the term going viral. Going viral often starts with a social post showing up on page one of Google search. This then leads to trending which in turn feeds the cycle into going viral. We have seen many comments and post from Google+, Blogger, Twitter and LinkedIn show up on page one of Google search. A high quality, well keyword optimized post can often outperform other types of web pages in organic search.
9. Social networks have become the go to platform for new product launches
Vehicle manufacturers, movie production companies, music artists and large manufactures often announce their latest products on social media. They do this because, they can reach a huge number of people quickly and for the most part, at a low cost. Obviously they also do press releases, run PPC campaigns and a whole horde of regular media ads, but the initial launch often happens in social media.
8. Social media is the go to platform for major public announcements
Many political candidates make major announcements via social media. Sometimes these announcements are posted during simulcast live events, but more often than not, they tweet to Twitter or post to Instagram just before they make the TV announcement. Also, many of our emergency announcements are broadcast on social media and most news outlets leak announcement’s in social media while providing links back to their regular media websites to create traffic for their stories.
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7. Social media is a subtle form of touch marketing.
Keeping in touch with your clients and prospects on a regular basis with helpful tips and useful information is a great way to build trust, credibility and strengthen the relationship. Clients and prospects learn to look forward to your communications. By providing useful, interesting, funny or entertaining messages via your post, you stay top of mind with clients and prospects. And because you are providing the most useful information, it will allow you to sneak in an occasional subtle commercial without ruffling your follower’s feathers. Since these prospects are connected via your social network, you have access to their contact information. This also allows you to engage in none social network touch marketing vie newsletters or even snail mail. Because you have built trust by providing useful information, all of your touch marketing will be much more effective. If you respect your follower’s time, interests and privacy by providing them with high quality, useful information that they care about, they will reward you with loyalty and patronage.
6. Social media provides real client engagement; no other media does this so well
Social media sites offer a great way to engage your clients and prospects. No other media can provide such a quick and direct way to communicate with clients. When a customer makes a comment on one of your posts, you can quickly speak directly to them by answering or commenting on their post. You can even see if they are online and invite them to chat with you outside of the news feed. You can even invite them to take part in a private phone conversation. There are other chat and direct response services out there that can help improve this kind of interaction. Few are free to use and are not part of the built in culture of Social Networks.
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5. Using social media provides a way to encourage positive ratings
Positive ratings are key to Google’s search ranking algorithm. There is no better way to quickly improve your ranking that to garner a bunch (a couple of dozen) of five star ratings from your happy customers. If you’re not encouraging clients to post their positive rating to Facebook, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn, Yelp, Merchant Circle and other sites, you’re missing the boat. Make sure you have a process in place to encourage clients to take the time to post positive ratings. Also, don’t forget to create a way to deal with negative posts as well. Sooner or later, it will happen and if you have a procedure that turns limes into lemonade, a negative post can turn into positive stories that garner more customers.
4. Social networks provide psychographic and demographic information on your target market
Facebook supplies psycho-graphic and demographic profiles on its followers. To a great extent you can target prospects on LinkedIn with great precision. Subscriber profiles on Twitter and many other social networks allow you to search for and target specific industries’, zip codes, interest and much more. Your ability to target subscribers via their profile is one of the main differences between a social media Pay per Click programs and a search Engine pay per click program. With search engine targeting, you are selecting a specific demographic and keyword. With social media you are targeting their psychographic information and keyword. This can be much more specific and powerful. Also, when a person likes, favors or follows your social page, it’s a tacit, if not an overt endorsement of you, your product or company.
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3. You can build a highly targeted audience
With so many targeting options in social media, you can cater to and build a targeted audience. No shotgun approach needed here. Want to target fly fishing aficionados, people who love river cruises, or those who are Marvel comic fans. You just fire up your psychographic targeted pay per click campaign and invite them to follow your social site. Once there, you offer up content that is specifically designed to fill their industry specific, ideological or psycho-social object of their affections. When they land on the social site of their dreams, they will follow without question and you will in turn capture their contact data with ease.
2. Social networks provide a huge fishing pond to prospect in
Facebook is the No. 2 most-visited site on the Internet. With 1.2 billion-plus subscribers that cross all walks of life. If you added all the subscribers for Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Blogger and YouTube, you would end up with a number that probably comes close to half the population of earth. Ninety eight percent of all social networks are basically free to use. Granted, there is some overlap, but even a conservative estimate of users would still be more than 2 billion people no matter what!
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1. Word-of-mouth marketing is No. 1
Most business owners would agree, the best form of advertising is word of mouth. They will say that there is nothing like a customer’s endorsement of their product or service. It’s the number one way to share and build real credibility. When any advertisement runs, it’s recognized as a commercial.
Most people today believe ads provide exaggerated claims and are deceptive in nature. On the other hand, when a person mentions how great your product or service is, that endorsement is considered a testimonial. Word of mouth is perceived as the absolute truth and is priceless! Here’s the bottom line – Social Networking is Electronic Word of Mouth. It puts word of mouth on steroids, where both good and bad news travels at the speed of the internet. Both good and bad can go viral and both good and bad messages can create a life of their own!
Social media marketing is a very valuable and useful tool. Yet many businesses don’t engage in it because it is labor intensive and needs to be managed on a daily basis. Social media marketing is relatively simple, but it isn’t easy. Monitoring social post for mentions, researching curated content, writing and publishing authoritative content, engaging and managing followers is a full time job. Having said this, it’s common knowledge that word of mouth is the most powerful form of advertising there is. Social Networking is all about word of mouth. It’s word of mouth at the speed of the internet. It can provide exponential growth and sales for those companies who are willing to take on the challenge!
Hector Cisneros is the president and COO for W Squared Media Group LLC. A digital Marketing Agency in the N.E. Florida Area. He is also the co-host of the BlogTalkRadio Show Working The Web To Win. W Squared Media also does Business as Working The Web To Win online and in Florida.