Imagine that instead of a website your business had a shop, full of great information, interactive displays, competitions and areas people could talk to your staff and.
Now imagine that shop is in a beautiful, easily accessed shopping centre frequented by your target audience – it would be worth a sticking that in your marketing plan wouldn’t you say?!
In reality, that’s social media. The average person spends a staggering 1 hour and 40 minutes in that shopping centre each day and any the ‘friend’ interaction is really just a smart way of Facebook, LinkedIn and other platforms keeping a person’s attention long enough to show them more advertisements or encourage more business interaction.
Social media’s got the potential to significantly impact your brand’s growth – this is how the most successful companies are taking full advantage of the various platforms:
Work out which platform is for you
Before you get moving on exactly how you plan to take full advantage of what social media platforms have to offer you should consider which are the services best suited to you and your brand.
For example, business to business services are probably far more suited to a platform like LinkedIn than Instagram or Snapchat – based on their user demographics and content.
There are a staggering number of social media platforms in existence – and even some of the lesser known channels have big followings with particular audiences, especially when you’re looking to target foreign markets. This list runs you through 105 of the most popular – choosing where to spend your time and energy is up to you…
Expose your brand
There are many companies who never truly get to express their brand through their website – but social gives you the perfect place to do exactly this a great example of this is Atlas Ceramics.
Social media is often a lot more interactive that your site. You can use it to share pieces of content you like, speak to your customers publicly, update the world on what’s happening right now in your business – all the things that are less practical to put on your site’s homepage.
Brand is much more than just your colour scheme and logo – it’s the way your business is, the way it interacts. Social is the best place to show it to the world and reap the rewards.
Finding your customers is easy
Sure, there are some great ways to drill your targeting down when you use other online advertising platforms – but the nature of social media gives you a chance to get laser focused on your audience.
Where most advertising platforms can give you an indication of their core demographic, that’s much trickier for a service like Facebook. With 2 billion users that’s little more they can tell you about their typical user other than the fact that they’re human!
So, they let you get deep into their user data when it comes to targeting. You want someone who’s shown an interest in self-development, yoga and healthy eating? No problem. You only want your advertisements shown to males, within 23kms of your business who have an interest in one particular TV show? No problem.
Social media is exceptional at giving you opportunities to test your approach with a massive range of potential audiences.
Great feedback tool
While you’re testing your product, approach, brand, content or anything else that’s going to be driving your growth social media virtually guarantees one thing – feedback.
Now, that feedback might not be quite what you’re expecting, but it’s data none-the-less.
Virtually every platform will let you dig into the engagement each post or advertisements receives. Strong engagement? You could be on to a winner – lots of exposure but lacking in clicks, shares and comments? You’ll probably need to tweak your approach with that audience or choose another.
And if it’s more direct customer voice feedback you’re looking for too – platforms like Facebook and Twitter are a great number of people’s go-to choice for telling the world about their experience. A word of warning though – when you open channels of customer interaction you can’t just shut them and pretend they don’t exist! If you’re a growing brand, you can expect to dedicate some significant time to talking with customers on social media…
Experiment with new markets
The beauty of having such incredible audience targeting tools is that you can quickly and simply gauge how a product or advertising approach will perform with different people.
And if split testing is your thing – you’re in for a treat.
Running the same advertisement with one male and one female audience is a piece of cake. Perhaps different age groups? Perhaps targeting different devices would work? Or maybe you want to run with the same audience but you’d like to test some different product images on a handful of different adverts? No problem – and you’ll be rewarded with a huge bundle of information that can inform your next run of adverts or posts too…
Drive traffic at your site
If you’ve got an exceptional website and you’re keen to drive traffic there then social media is an ideal tool.
Now, it’s not going to be quite as simple as posting a link and hoping for the best – but it’s not a great deal more complicated. Give your audience reasons to visit and watch them come in serious numbers. Blog content, special offers, product launches, competitions – they’re all great incentives for people to add to your monthly unique visitors count.
Offers a platform for content
While we’re talking about reasons to visit – you should recognise that social media gives you one of the very best outlets for value driven content.
We’re not talking about thinly veiled sales pitches here either, we’re talking about legitimately valuable content that’s likely to get clicked and read by people with a wide range of interests and requirements.
In fact, some of the best brands on Facebook have no product to sell – instead, they operate as affiliate platforms for other people’s products – with numerous motivational pages, recipe and cookery page and general interest channels doing exactly this – with exceptional word, image and video based content.
Content is likely to be quite a slow burn method of growth on social media – but many see content probably the most solid foundation for an online marketing strategy you’ll find.