How many small business owners would go to a meeting and pull out a flip phone from yesteryear? By not taking advantage of current technologies in your marketing strategy, that’s kind of what you’re doing if you haven’t made social media marketing an integral part of your marketing efforts and strategies. Ten, even five, years ago, thinking that the social media marketplace was just a passing fad or only reached select groups might’ve been an excuse, but the user numbers alone simply make social media, or digital marketing, a portal that cannot be ignored. The benefits are vast and potent, and you can guarantee that your competition is taking advantage of this pool of potential customers.
Take A Look At The Numbers
One of the top tenets of marketing is the formula of gathering the right attention, the right way, from the right people, at the right time. As the number of social media users has steadily increased every year since its inception, social media is undoubtably the ‘right place.’
- 4.021 billion – the number of worldwide internet users in 2018.
- 5.135 billion – the number of mobile phone users worldwide in 2018.
- 3.196 billion – the number of social media users worldwide in 2018.
Social Media Marketing Portal Selection
The Global Digital Report for 2018 breaks down who is using what social media where and how often. Small businesses can use such information to determine where best to apply their social media marketing efforts. Here are a few considerations to get the ball rolling:
- Facebook, at an astounding 76%, remains the social media with the most daily active users and logins.
- Social media users spend the most time on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat.
- Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp are the top three in terms of registered users.
- Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, WeChat, Snapchat, and Twitter saw the most growth in first quarter 2018.
- When it comes to interaction rates, Instagram dominates over Facebook and Twitter.
Social Media Marketing Is More Than Throwing Up Posts
It’s clear now that social media is an internet giant here to stay. It’s clear now that some social media portals offer a bigger and more active pool for marketing than others. So, how do all these users interact with brands on social media?
This is where ‘the right way’ of gathering attention comes into play. Posting behavior is reflective of your brand’s personality and an influencer as to whether a social media user becomes your biggest advocate, a buyer, or someone who unfollows you.
Almost 30% of social media users report that they’re prompted to make a purchase from just seeing a brand’s social media posts. But, beyond conversion rates from various applications on social media, many users are using the platform as a portal for customer service; clients and potential clients want real-time answers to their comments and questions.
Overall, here are the brand behaviors that most prompted social media users to make purchases in 2017:
- Education posts and content
- Interesting visuals
- Offering exclusive content
- Offering behind the scenes content
On the other hand, 51% of users report unfollowing brands and 27% report blocking brands that make irritating posts. The key is in posting interesting, engaging, relevant content to resonate with your target audience.
Keep these facets in mind as you begin to make social media posts.
Benefits Of Social Media Marketing
There are a plethora of benefits for small business of all niches, sizes, and business models in utilizing existing platforms of social media as part of marketing strategy. Let’s look at a few:
1. Drive Target Traffic
The public can find your content easily now and for future needs, and that content brings them into direct content with your website. And, those posts go on to become part of the feeds of users to attract more eyes to the content and clicks within the website. A hot topic link on Reddit can spawn five and six digit visitor numbers in a single day. Ultimately, the increased traffic also boosts your SEO efforts since the influx of traffic only helps to boost your search engine rankings.
2. Better Understand Your Audience
Through customer and potential customer interactions with your base and reading their tweets, posts, and snaps, you can gain insightful info on how they buy, why they buy, what types of content they share, what types of websites they frequent, and other such consumer behaviors that are completely raw and unfiltered by the stigma of a questionnaire. This is helpful in refining products, strategy, and fine tuning the art of conversion.
3. Relationship Building
While it’s imperative that businesses look at the business side of social media, most users still don’t see it as such. They’re there to engage – authentically engage. They want to see how brands behave, what the brand’s interests and offerings are, if the brand is stiff or has personality, if the brand cares about customers, and ultimately make a genuine connection. For the business, this translates to a long-term, meaningful relationship with loyal customers. A study by Texas Tech University recently confirmed what top-notch marketing firms have said for years – an active social media profile produces more loyal customers.
These connections extend to industry leaders and experts, media sources, independent promoters, and entire communities.
4. Targeted Ads
Facebook ads, for example, can pitch ads specifically to profiles based on age, education, search behaviors, location, etc to get your brand seen by the right people at the right time.
5. Customer Service
Countless studies have shown that prompt, accurate, and friendly customer service is rewarded by customers and vice versa. Considering the average response time through traditional on-site messaging and emails is over 10 hours and customers want real-time action, this is a caveat that can seriously impact profits.
Where do most customers go to vent frustrations and tout happiness? Social media. Having a highly interactive and engaging social media presence can help you immediately address complaints and concerns, keeping customers happy and your brand’s public image strong.
6. Cost Effective
An account is free. From there, businesses can choose in-house dedication to maintain the channel or outsourcing social media marketing. Even without the massive budget of big business, social media is the underdog’s best friend. Authenticity and quality posts will lead users to discover businesses and put them on the map.
Singer Kane Brown shows the power of Facebook users in action. A couple of years ago, he was a broke kid posting his singing videos on Facebook to a couple hundred fan followers. Fans shared and shared and more fans gathered and gathered. Before long, his Facebook followers had propelled him into a brand, a brand that you couldn’t open Facebook without seeing someone posting about and that led to a music contract and path to national success. He went from a few hundred followers to almost 3 million, and he credits his Facebook following with his success.
So, social media marketing isn’t about who has the biggest budget. It’s about who can connect with their base so that their power in numbers moots big business marketing dollars to even the playing field.
In closing, these are just a few of the benefits to social media marketing. The possibilities and applications are endless. The important thing to take away is quality. Every social media engagement a small business makes should provide quality, whether that be in customer service, entertainment, education, establishing yourself as an authority, or ad placement.