December 8, 2014
Since the advent of Facebook, social media has taken a steadily increasing role in online marketing. As new social media platforms have joined the scene, many of these programs have naturally become marketing tools for online sales professionals.
Twitter has become a social media giant in its own right, and Instagram is not far behind. If you have or develop the ability to produce fast but succinct content that’s customized to its intended audience, you can take marketing further than was ever possible before.
DMOs started to notice the potential ROI that could be obtained through social media platforms a few years back. Now they dedicate up to 10 percent of their marketing budget to one social media platform or another.
This trend is expected to continue, so it’s prompted more analysis to record the financial impact of using social media in business. A good percentage of these budgets support the technology that social media requires instead of dedicated social media employees.
The following are among the most notable ways social media has changed online marketing in 2014:
- The use of images and short videos now outweighs text ads. According to webmaster resource SiteProNews, “infographics have become the premier way to show data meaningfully. They bring statistics to an easily understood level.” Infographics exist on just about every topic imaginable, and can give you information you need when you need it. While they can skew the content they present, many also provide research links that are designed to build trust in the shared data.
Consumers who watch videos on a site have been shown to be more likely to buy a product on that site than those who do not. Short videos are emotionally, audibly and visually appealing, and that provides greater connectivity as well as inspiring trust in visitors to the site.
Text ads really can’t compete in this visual environment. Even avid readers will gravitate toward animations and visually appealing graphics on a screen. To much text on a page will get lost, and many site visitors will glance at the length of an article or other text on a page and make an immediate decision about if the whole thing is worth reading. Extensive content must be highly engaging to hold the attention of the average Web surfer.
- Concentrating on a specific community or niche market within a platform encourages hyper-focused content that speaks directly to its audience.
The ability to connect with a target market has proved far more effective than trying to create general messaging. By engaging a niche, your company has the ability to focus on the specific concerns of the demographic and how its members can market themselves to fix that problem. Finding the niche is half the battle. The other half is producing enough creative and relevant content to bring maximum exposure to the demographic. According to FatCow.com blogger Jessica Ann, finishing off with a strong CTA is critical. Says Jessica, “The best calls to action offer to trade useful information or tools for the visitor’s future attention.”
- Social media can be a great tool, but it’s also risky if not properly managed. Nevertheless, social media is a must-have marketing strategy for business in the 21st The potential benefits of brand exposure and site conversion rates are undoubtable.
Even companies that are only beginning to operate in the social media arena have to consider reputation management. It’s been seen over and over again how one Tweet, one ill-placed or badly timed comment, can do serious harm to a firm’s bottom line.
Every company that implements a social marketing strategy must have a risk management plan: a protocol for what happens if something goes wrong. It’s also important to minimize the chance of that kind of misstep happening ahead of time by having a social media policy. Social media policies are a way to ensure a company’s voice remains consistent across platforms. They outline the appropriate ways the company would desire its employees to interact with the market online.
- Creating memes is practically a science now. They make it easier for your business to increase its online visibility. Memes are the snappy little photos that contain a word or phrase that strikes readers in a generally humorous way. Memes can be about anything and everything, and have the ability to elicit an emotion in the viewer that leads to a response such as” “Oh my goodness, so-and-so has got to see this.” It’s an excellent tool for brand exposure and awareness.
Even if a visitor sees an ad for a tremendous sale but doesn’t purchase anything that day, the social media excitement over a sale can have an effect on the odds of that user’s returning to your site. Seeing the feedback from consumers on social media can also build trust and increase conversion rates.
A solid Web host is a necessary component for businesses who are implementing a social media strategy. You should have one before trying to evaluate how social media can boost your operations.
The right Web host can have an impact on website speed that’s essential for driving traffic to your business forum.
I am a professional blogger, writer, researcher and successful investor who contributes to a number of reputable online media outlets and news sources. A graduate of Iowa State University, I’m now a full-time freelance writer, business consultant and independent real estate investor. Currently, I write for Inc.com, Entrepreneur.com, TheNextWeb.com and BiggerPockets.com. I have previously contributed to the HuffingtonPost.com, and Business.com, among others. In addition to journalism, technical writing and in-depth research, I’m also active in real estate investing and spend weekends volunteering with a local non-profit literacy organization. When I’m not saving the world with my keyboard, I can be found rock climbing.