Allocating social media marketing as a large part of your company’s budget is no longer a luxury, it is a necessity. There should be a firm plan of action in place that includes posting frequency and content production and the plan is best handled by an Internet marketing firm that knows the market and can leverage social media usage to build brand and help provide proactive communication with customers.
Social media marketing has proven to be effective in a variety of areas, from the aforementioned brand building and awareness to increased customer loyalty, additional word-of-mouth advertising, increased audience reach and improved social signals. Changes in algorithms has also made social media marketing beneficial in search engine optimization campaigns, which adds a whole new layer to theimmediate need for companies to embrace social media.
Social Media by the Numbers
A recent eMarketer survey showed that 77 percent of buyers are more likely to purchase from a company that has a CEO active within social media. Additionally, in the same study, 94 percent of consumers said that C-suite social media participation increased brand image. And, 82 percent of employees questioned in the survey reported increased trust with a CEO and leadership team communicating via social media.
And, when you are looking purely at usage numbers, it is easy to see why social media marketing engagement would be the right plan of action for your business. For example:
- One in every nine people on the Earth is a Facebook user.
- More than 250 million people view Facebook through mobile devices.
- 30 billion pieces of content are shared through Facebookeach and every month.
- Twitter adds nearly 500,000 users every day.
- An average of 190 million Tweets occur daily.
- YouTube has 490 million unique visitors each month.
- 2.9 billion hours per month are spent on YouTube (that’s a total of 326,294 years).
- In the past six months, Pinterest has grown 4,000percent.
- Pinterest users spend nearly 1.5 hours each month on thesite.
At a bare minimum, it is easy to see how social media marketing translates to meeting your customers where they are. And, additional forms of social media are only expected to add to the medium’s outreach capacity.
Trending to Picture-Based Mediums
Picture and video-based mediums are taking over as many people opt to share images and not words. This trend can be trickier for businesses, but there is still great value in cultivating relationships through social media outlets like Instagram and Vine. Pinterest too, is a picture-based medium that can be seen as leading the charge when it comes to growth.
These social media outlets draw people in and serve as some of the first lines for spreading brand image. The key to successfully cultivating visual items is to pull from sources other than your product line. This means incorporating other items that may speak to brand image and lead others to learn more about your company without blatant product placement.
The process of curating content for a social media marketing campaign carried out via a visual medium should involve increased interaction from consumers. Many brands use Instagram especially as a way for their customers to serve as models and advocates for the brand. By pulling content from real people, the brand not only brings in more interaction, but also portrays an always available vibe to the customers who might just be at the start of a brand relationship.
Social Media for Search Engine Optimization
A recent study by HubSpot lists leads found through search to be the most beneficial inbound marketing tool with a 15 percent close rate (equal to direct traffic close rates, but ahead of referrals at nine percent, paid search at seven percent and outbound leads at two percent). Proper social media marketing campaigns not only have a direct effect on search engine listings, they also lend third party credibility to a company.
Google+ is rapidly growing and reaches a wide audience. Many users are not showing as much activity as they do on social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook, but the collection of data that is pulled from Google+ is gold for providing search engine results. Google, as a search engine, is used by 85 percent of global internet users each month. With Google+ feeding directly into their search engine, the power for using Google+ effectively is being greatly explored. Google+ is unlike any other social media outlet and should be seen as such for your company’s social media marketing plan. Social signals provide a more tailored search experience and Google is banking on Google+ to bring that to users.
Social media marketing is so much more than sending out smoke signals to the consumers who follow your company. Engagement through social media to build an army of loyal brand followers is an amazing source of insurance for your brand. Any good plan accounts for a crisis, and with social media outlets giving each and every person on the planet a powerful voice and a way to lodge complaints on a worldwide scale, your company’s social media plan would be remiss without a reputation management component.
If your company is not currently working with a social media specialist, now is the time. Do not let 2014 rollaround without an investment in social media marketing.