Social Media Marketing had been all the rage these days. With sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn gaining worldwide popularity, it’s easy for a lot of businesses to see the potential of these avenues to be one of the leading lead generation tactics. Unfortunately, there are a few old-fashioned managers and marketing agencies out there who think that social media is “just for teens” or a passing fad. Statistics show differently. At this time, 79% of all adults in the US are active in at least one social media network, and Digital Marketing Specialists eMarketer predicts that by the end of 2012, there will be 1.4 billion social media users worldwide.
Even if your customers really aren’t on social media, and it’s becoming really difficult to make the case that they’re not, it still offers a number of advantages that make it an absolute necessity for any decent inbound marketing strategy. If you just happen to be one of those poor souls that work for a boss that doesn’t believe in social media, or are just interested in seeing if social media is worth your time, the talking points in this article may help you convince them otherwise.
1) Social Media Activity Affects Organic Search Results
Did you know that search engines index the status updates, tweets, and blog posts that you make on social media accounts? Take any of your favorite big name brands, plug it into Google and chances are that their Twitter, Tumblr, or LinkedIn accounts will be in the top 10 results. Google has started integrating Google+ status updates into its search results, and all major search engines have been indexing material from social media sites for quite some time now. Search engines also use social media activity to determine how relevant your content is and every “like” and “share” your content gets helps drive your site to the top of the SERP pages.
2) Social Media Gives You More Control Over Your Brand Image
Social media allows you to take control of how your brand is presented online. How does it do this? First, it is important to note that 25% of any big brand’s search engine results come from third-party review sites and blogs that you have no control over. Now, we already know that search engines index content from social media sites like Facebook, but one thing that a lot of people overlook is that these sites also have a lot of clout with search engines. In other words, content on social media sites pertaining to a specific brand or product are considered more relevant and authoritative compared to similar content on third party sites and blogs.
3) User Generated Content is Important
Speaking of content, user-generated content is becoming more and more important these days. According to eMarketer, 65% of users ages 18-24 consulted social media networks for information about a brand before making a purchase decision, and according to eConsultancy, ⅔ of all consumers use search engines. With numbers like that, it’s hard to make the case that your audience simply “isn’t on social media”, because in all likelihood, they probably are (I know I’ve made that point before, but it bears repeating). Social media networks are great for getting user generated content to people who are actually interested in it.
4) Helps You Maintain Your Image Within Your Industry
Now, let’s pretend for a second that your customers really aren’t a part of the statistics we quoted in the last point. Would social media still be useful to your organization? The answer is yes, because even without your customers, there would still be people like colleagues, competitors, potential employees and/or business partners, all of which use social media on a daily basis. These people expect to learn from and communicate with you, and your activity on social media sites will demonstrate your knowledge in your industry and help you increase your visibility, and ultimately allowing you to open up new avenues for growth.
5) Helps You Reach Out To Other Companies Customers
This point is almost self-explanatory. If you think about it, your competitor’s customers are very likely to be on social media, and reaching out to them by sharing their content, and engaging them in conversations could open you up to the possibility of referral business or give you access to an entirely new audience.
6) Helps Expand Your Overall Reach
Social media helps your company expand its overall “reach”. Reach is defined as the concept that each of your followers each have their own followers. Let’s say for example that you have 100 followers, and each of them has 100 of their own followers. Now, let’s say that you created a blog post that each of those first 100 people shared with their groups of followers. You would have reached 10,000 people in very little time. Through the wonders of social media reposting and sharing, your content can be spread quickly and easily through these vast, interconnected networks of followers. Even if a large portion of those followers are not part of your target audience, chances are that some of them are, and that’s what matters most: Getting relevant content to people who care about it.
7) Helps Reduce the Cost of Generating Leads
A crucial part of any good marketing effort is to measuring the cost of acquiring your customers (the cost of customer acquisition, or COCA). Consider that a job like email marketing will require that you purchase specialized software, and hire people to manage it, costing time and money. With social media, no special software investment is required, and only a few man hours a week are needed to maintain the profiles. Now, social media often gets a bad rap for not generating as many customers as other avenues like email marketing, but oftentimes, they’re only measuring engagement metrics such as “likes” and “comments”, and not taking into account the end-goal: customer acquisition. Furthermore, social media should be used as a complement to existing marketing activities, and not on its own.
8 ) Helps Ensure That Nobody Takes Your Name
It’s gotten to the point where it would be wrong to think that your audience will never be on social media, and even if you’re not ready to jump onto the social media bandwagon, it would be a good idea to at least take the account names before someone else does.
9) Helps Plan For The Future
Over time, businesses and people change. The audiences that you once thought you’d never cater to may one day become your primary audience, or the people who once thought they’d never be interested in your services may one day become your biggest customers. Since the only constant in the world of business is change, wouldn’t it be better to have a network of connections, ready-made to cater to any changes in the business environment, as opposed to having to build one from scratch whenever things change?