Jumping into Social Media is all about cultivating and building new and existing relationships. Is it important? -Some experts say that Social Media will be more valuable and widely used than search engines within the next 3 years! With the correct social media optimization, you WILL see increased traffic to your website, search engine placement, new relationships, sales and MUCH MORE… Let me show you some social media benefits (other than direct sales) that can impact your business.
Social Media is all about building new relationships and cultivating existing ones. By encouraging interaction, facilitating a platform for questions and activity, and networking with individuals on a more personal level; we will build these relationships, develop your connections and gain trust from clients and partners.
Managing the Conversation
Whether you like it or not, people are going to talk about your company and brand. You are providing a platform for people to speak so that you can control the conversations and leverage them to your advantage.
Maintaining a platform for questions
Potential clients often need a place to ask their questions, whether they are intended for you or other clients. I encourage you to take advantage of this activity and facilitate the questions that are asked. A relatively quick response time can be very important to retain an active page.
The number of users that will see your brand, your logo, and your name on a daily basis will increase drastically. Because of the nature of how Facebook was created with News feeds, viral marketing tactics to increase brand recognition is a great advantage of using Facebook for business. Every time that there is an update given on one of your Facebook pages, all of your friends see this on their “News Feed” when they log in. Further, every time one of your friends interact on your page by leaving a comment or doing a number of other interactions, a message is posted on all of their friends news feeds! This puts a great deal of value attached to each additional fan.
More Interaction by Fans = Greater Brand Recognition
Creating Brand Loyalty
This increased brand recognition will develop into brand loyalty. You don’t want to just sell a product or service; you sell an experience that brings them back time and time again. Further, this experience makes them want to refer you to their friends and family. By building relationships and increasing brand recognition, you will be cultivating this brand loyalty through-out Facebook and encourage users to come back to your company again and again.
Top of Mind Advertising
The Facebook News feed is a powerful tool that keeps your brand and name in front of users on a daily basis. Like any advertisement, you want your name to stick in a client’s head. As you post more content within the fan pages and users interact as well, News Feeds will be filled with content. You want to keep your name on the top of a clients mind for the next time they are looking for your product or service.
Create referrals through personal connections
A personal referral is much stronger than a random advertisement that you see online or on television. By having a Facebook presence, you are giving users the opportunity to “Suggest to Friends” the pages and brands they enjoy. Additionally, the interaction on a page suggests to their friends satisfaction with a company and entices them to come and look at a page as well.
Utilize viral marketing
Viral Marketing is all about encouraging clients and brand supporters to share content with their sphere of influence. Both Facebook and Twitter are two of the most widely used forms of viral marketing as it is easy to do and many of their connections are already on these social networks. On Twitter, you can simply “Retweet” a comment to all of your followers to share content that you thing they will enjoy or find interest in. Further, you can give credit to someone on Twitter by “Mentioning” them which will link back to their profile.
On Facebook, viral marketing is done through a news feed with every action you take place in. Although there are security settings that you can use to restrict the content that is shared, most users do not restrict this content. Fans can “Like” posts as well as comment on each post, both of which are generally shared in all of their connections news feeds. Further, they can leave a new post on your pages which will also be shared in the news feeds of their connections.
You should want to turn “Fans” into fanatics that enjoy sharing content and news from your company to fully take advantage of this very powerful viral marketing strategy.
The Human Side
Advertising with Social Media has turned the old way of marketing from a “1 to many broadcast” (Television Commercial) to a “1 to 1 conversation”. Users don’t want to think of themselves as 1 in a crowd that is bunched in your target market. They want to feel noticed and have more of a connection with companies that they deal with. By putting a face and a name to a business, you are showing off the human side to your company. You are creating relationships and showing the average user that you care about each individual. Through social networks, you are going to show off the human side of your business.
Gather Feedback & Listen
It is great to think that every little effort is going toward bringing in new clients, but sometimes you need to stop and ask about the customer’s needs. This is why you often research with surveys and questionnaires. Through Facebook, you can retrieve immediate feedback from the “Fans” that care the most. By asking the users on Facebook and Twitter what they think, you get real feedback on ideas while showing them that you genuinely care.
Give advice and become an industry resource
By giving advice on industry news, giving tips, and sharing your industry thoughts; you are opening up to the type of people that will come to your fan pages and share your brand. Becoming a resource in the industry lets people know your stance and that you are here to help them.
Joining industry groups
Again, opening up your target market and bringing more users into your social circle to share your name is a major point of emphasis. As you join industry groups and connect with big industry players, you will find that they have a larger network to share your content with. You want to build strong relationships with these influential socialites and encourage them to spread your company’s brand.
Becoming friends with industry professionals
Industry professionals can be very influential and have a strong following on both Facebook and Twitter. You want to connect with their existing fan pages to reach out to a larger crowd. Also, these industry professionals have a strong network of personal connections that you need to tap into. Leveraging these partners and taping into the connections through a personal referral will be a key strategy to build a fan base and following.
Hosting fun competitions with giveaways
Once you are able to build strong social networks, you want to keep them active and coming back. You should host competitions and have giveaways enticing them to share your company with their networks. This will grow your social networks in numbers and in loyalty. The bigger the giveaway, the more effective this competition will be.
Follow like-minded users on Twitter
As you tap into the industry professionals on Facebook, you should be doing the same on Twitter. Sharing their content and building relationships with existing influential Twitter users will aid in the growth of this network so that when you have a message to get out, you will have more targeted followers to receive this message.
Making the Connection
Creating links between all of the social networks and cross connecting them with your corporate website and blog are vitally important. This is where we turn your typical interactive fans to closed sales.
Utilize the highly targeted “Facebook Ads”
Facebook ads are some of the most effective online advertising as they allow you to target a very specific group based on information provided in a users profile. You can leverage this information that is provided by Facebook users to find potential clients and bring them to your company’s Facebook Fan Page.
Cultivate Targeted Followers
Search for users who might be interested in your service based on things that they mention and people they follow. This will allow you to grow a following base of users on Twitter and bring your company potential clients.
In an industry that is evolving so quickly like Social Media, it takes many hours a week to stay up to date with the newest trends, strategies, and techniques to become successful. If you look at the evolution and impact of Social Media in the last: 1 year, 3 years, 6 years (Facebook Launched); it’s mind-blowing the ongoing change that has occurred. Many predict that Social Media Optimization will be more important and valuable to a company than Search Engine Optimization in less than 3 years!