It's now time to enter the realm of social media. Some of you might be familiar with all the ins and outs but for those of you who aren't hopefully the next series will help bring it all into perspective.
Let's start. Social Media can be downright confusing. There are so many different channels to choose from and integrate together, with likes, shares, tweets, mentions, # and the list goes on. Let's start by defining social media.
"Social Media is the use of websites and applications that enable users to create, interact and share content digitally."
So, now we know what it is, but why should your company use it? Basically, it offers the best way to directly interact with prospects and customers. Social Media can connect the world like never before. About 3.03 billion people are on social media around the globe (BrizFeel, 2018) and social media and video viewing are the two most popular online activities (Smart Insights, 2018).
For smaller and mid sized companies, it offers unprecedented opportunities to reach leads instantaneously across the world at minimal costs. A way for smaller business to compete with the big guys!
Another important aspect of Social Media is that augments Inbound Marketing Strategies. The basis of Inbound Marketing is developing a relationship with your prospects and customers. Social media gives the vehicles to achieve this goal. Some of the main advantages social media presents for a small to mid sized company is the ability to build brand awareness, target and attract more leads, control the marketing message all at relatively a small cost compared to traditional advertising.
Since, nearly one-third of the world uses social networks regularly (eMarketer, 2016), it just makes sense for a company to have a social media strategy.
In the following post we will cover how to design and implement a social media strategy for small to midsize companies. Right now we will cover some of the most popular social media channels and their advantages for small to mid sized companies.
What are some of the most popular Social Media Channels?
Facebook is free social networking website where individuals and businesses can create profiles and share content, comments, photos, videos and send messages. It is user-friendly and open to everyone.
As of June 2018, Facebook had 1.47 billion daily active users and 2.23 billion monthly active users. (Facebook, 2018). According to Pew Research Center, 2016, 79% of people online use Facebook and 76% of the adults use Facebook daily ( Sprout Social, 2016). Those numbers are astounding!
What started as a platform for keeping in touch with people, quickly became a place where companies found they could target a selected audience (who are most likely to want their products or services) and advertise directly to them. Increasing leads and sales astronomically at a fraction of the cost! 2 million business are said to have used Facebook for advertising in 2018. (Hootsuite, 2018).
Business can also integrate their advertising with other facebook platforms channels (Instagram, messenger, what's up) enhancing reach. Facebook offers the ability for companies to entice and wow users with visuals. It's also great way to express your company's visual voice in a clear concise manner.
YouTube is a free video-hosting website that allows members to store and show video content. YouTube members and website visitors can share YouTube videos on a variety of web platforms by linking or embedding them. YouTube has over a billion users, almost one-third of all people on the Internet (YouTube, 2016) and about 5 billion YouTube videos are viewed on average every day (Omnicore, 2018.) Did you know that YouTube is the second most popular website after Google!
For businesses, Social media posts containing video have 48% more views (HubSpot) and interesting 65% of people use YouTube to help them solve a problem (Google). YouTube is the best channel to use for video marketing and with free access to over a billion users internationally, companies are able to increase exposure tremendously. Video is a great way to explain complex products or services. and is also a great way to repurposing content.
We could go on and on but bottom line is video is the most popular content and an effective tool for business. I'll leave you with two more interesting stat....
- Product videos can increase purchases by 144%. (Neil Patel, 2017)
- 95% of a message is retained when watched on video, compared to 10% when reading it in text form (Insivia)
Keep that in mind, those are big numbers!
Twitter is free social networking site. Users can post "tweets" real time of up to 140 text characters. Some characterize it as a micro-blogging tool, but many use it to tweet out their opinions. Users choose to follow other users and therefore curate their own content. Also, because it is text based there are no visuals. Users can add links to their tweets re-directing followers to check something out (video, website, blog etc...) on another channel or platform.
For businesses Twitter is advantageous as it has a large following using the channel and international reach. There are 326 million active monthly users (Twitter, 2018) and approximately 500 tweets per day (Omnicore, 2018). Content is skimmable and short so it is great tool for businesses to use in this attention deficit world.
Twitter is in line with an Inbound Marketing strategy as it allows a company to connect with users on a 1 on 1 basis. Business can use tweets to increase brand awareness, promote company related content or news or even deal with complaints in real time. Companies can also like or retweet users comments, which increases the relationship building process.
Instagram is a free photo and video "sharing" social media service owned by Facebook. Users can upload their content and share them with their followers or with a select group of friends. Users can view, comment and like posts and use hashtags. After a user tags a post with a hashtag, they can tap the hashtag to see a page that shows all photos and videos people have uploaded with that hashtag. Basically, Instagram uses those hashtags to organizing and categorizing the photo and video content.
Instagram is a great platform for companies to reach, engage, promote and develop relationships with prospects and customers. It also offers businesses a huge potential audience. Instagram hit 1 billion monthly users in June 2018, after hitting 800 million monthly users in September (TechCrunch, 2018).
Instagram is visually based, with content consisting of pictures and videos. Considering visuals are the most-engaging content on the Web (with visual posts receiving 650% higher engagement than with text post, Webdam), it makes sense for companies to utilize the channel for their social media strategy.
Instagram is STORY orientated. Stories allow you to post one or more photos and video clips in a series. Anyone can view these for 24 hours, after which they expire. Instagram Stories posted a 220% increase in year-on-year ad spend (Our Social Times, 2018). Stories gives companies the opportunity to put their brand out there, engage and develop relationships with users.
Instagram is a great way to spy... sorry keep tabs on your competition. What are they doing, when are they posting, how is their content being responded to etc... This information can really help in deciding what to do and how to out do the competition.
Instagram is also a great tool for social listening (also spying... a topic we will cover in one of our next posts). What that means is monitoring conversations about your brand or products. These insights can be a goldmine of information!
Linkedin is a social networking site designed specifically for the business community and is the largest professional network in the world. It allows users to to promote themselves and also make connections. Users create a profile page, which details employment, education and skills. It allows users to access articles and posts through a daily feed. LinkedIn has 562 million users (LinkedIn, 2018).
With the free version of LinkedIn, users can only establish connections with someone they have worked with, know professionally or has gone to school with. People with whom they have a pre-existing relationship. There is a premium subscriptions that allows users increased access to contacts in the LinkedIn database of which 39% of the 500 million LinkedIn users are using (LinkedIn, 2017).
Users primarily use Linkedin to build a professional network, to research companies or industries and look for employment opportunities. From a business point of view, companies can use Linkedin to promote themselves and develop relationships. Companies can do so by sharing posts and industry news. Linkedin, also allows companies to attract top talent as they can promote job opportunities.
The site also offers a section for monitoring your page. Companies can see how their page is reaching and engaging. There is also a section that details follower demographics and trends.
Pinterest is a free social networking site for sharing and categorizing images found online. Users can visually share posts by "pinning" (posting) to a board. Users can create "boards" of different categories and pin posts from there's to those boards. Users can also follow other user's boards and can like on comment or re-pin the content to their own board. Clicking an image (pin) will take you to the original source. This could be a website or a post on another channel. The aim on Pinterest is to connect people through things they find of interest.
Companies can use Pinterest to engage and create brand awareness with customers using visuals. 80% of millennial Pinterest users say that the platform helps them decide what they should buy (CoSchedule Blog, 2018). Also, Pinners are just as likely to purchase as users from other social channels but spend 50% more on average compared to other social channels. They also spend 20% more than users referred from nonsocial channels, including search (Pinterest, 2016). Posting pictures or infographics of products or deals can augment a company's social media reach and lead to sales.
The take away about social media, these days it is a necessity. It doesn’t matter if you run a small local shop or a national company, social media is an essential piece to the success of any business in todays digital economy.
With more than 3 billion people engaging in social media around the world it's not a trend, it is the largest growing industry. Social media like any strategy must be done the right way in order to be effective. That means taking the steps to use maybe not all the channels but the channels that are the best fit for your company and customers. In our next posts, we will discuss "HOW TO" create a social media strategy that fits with your company's needs.
|7 STEPS TO DEVELOPING YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY|
LINKS TO OUR BLOG POSTS
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|THE POWER OF INBOUND MARKETING|
|WHY BUYER PERSONAS ARE A VALUABLE RESOURCE TO YOUR COMPANY!|
|HOW TO CAPITALIZE ON THE ATTRACT STAGE OF INBOUND MARKETING|