First things first, social media isn’t a platform for shameless self-promotion, whichever network you choose. Winning customers online is not about shouting loudly to anyone who’s near. That said, using social media to support your marketing goals and to connect you with new and existing customers is a good idea and that’s true whether your business has a website or not. If you do happen to have a website that’s great because social media works in synergy with search to help you win traffic that converts into sales and enquiries.
If you’re just getting started in social media or would like to align your social media activity more closely with your marketing goals, these are just a few of the ways social media strategy could help you win more customers…
Building brand awareness
Even if you have no social media presence there’s a good chance that customers are looking for you there or at the very least discussing the products and services you offer. In the US 71 per cent of adults are on Facebook and 26% are on Instagram, but it’s incredibly interesting (and useful) to note that 53% of 18-29 year-olds use Instagram. By finding where your target demographic are ‘hanging out’ online, you’ll not only have the advantage of listening to what they’re saying about you or products and services you offer, you’ll also be able to analyse how they’re interacting with your competitors and work out what sort of trends, products, content and conversations they’re interested in. This not only gives you the chance to try and connect with them so that you become a trusted part of their network, it also gives you the opportunity to reach out to potential customers that may otherwise not have come across your brand or your offering through shared interests. The opportunity to increase brand awareness through social media is significant and knowing you’re out there and what you offer leads customers one step closer to you.
Personality and brand identification
Knowing you exist is just one step of winning a potential customer. You also need to win their trust. A surprising number of Twitter users are followers only. They observe brands and celebrities to keep up to date with what’s going on and find out about new offers and discounts. This tells us social media users have a range of would-likes and must-haves when it comes to interacting at different levels. They follow or communicate with brands to complain about service, in the hope they’ll receive exclusive news, discounts or deals or to learn about competitions and perhaps a look behind the scenes at your brand. Identifying with and trusting a brand can be an important part of deciding to buy from them and it’s for this reason it’s fundamental that your social media activity accurately reflects your true brand persona.
Seeing how you interact with existing customers can also help you win their business – whether it’s responding positively and promptly to complaints and issues or highlighting the fantastic way a customer has used or styled your product – your aim is to convince potential customers that buying from you is not a risky business but a rewarding one. And, through social media engagement, your customers can help you demonstrate this by sharing their positive experiences of your business. This is the kind of brand advocacy that can lead your followers to nurturing and amplifying your brand, acting as advocates for you.
Amplification and advocacy
There’s no denying the web is a crowded marketplace; we wouldn’t all be working towards trying to achieve higher rankings or increasing brand awareness if getting your voice heard didn’t matter. Once on social media, establishing trust and building a network is important for a number of reasons. As previously mentioned, maintaining relationships with current customers and followers can encourage them to become natural advocates of your brand, spreading the word about the good things you do. If that bond is strong enough, they may even come to your defence when things go wrong. Happy customers and followers are the best amplification for your brand online, so you need to ensure their experience is consistent and that the content and information you share with them meets and exceeds their expectations. When it comes to pushing out content marketing on social platforms or sharing information about new products, these type of fans will be willing to give you a helping hand.
How sharing and statistics can help search, traffic and sales
Marketers love statistics and social media activity can provide some very useful insight, particularly when combined with search data. Google Analytics helpfully tells you how much traffic you’ve sourced from social media referrals; you can track mentions of your brands and products on social media platforms and see what your target demographic is talking about, you can even boost the levels of engagement on your site by sharing socially to people who are likely to be interested in it. As well as increasing potential for link creation this should help you address something that Rand Fishkin recently described as a “massive ranking factor that too many SEOs are ignoring.” In this Whiteboard Friday published in December, Moz’s SEO expert talks about the importance of this kind of amplification in increasing the engagement of your site and your brand’s wider online profile, helping to boost your rankings.
Content marketing campaigns can be given a real boost with social media support. Sharing your content to your followers in the right way will encourage the spread of that content, potentially helping it to garner more visits and links but it needn’t and shouldn’t be all about your content. Online competitions can help you win new fans, spreading your social footprint and building in an element of content creation means participants grow your digital footprint for you. This type of campaign combined with creative updates works similar to good on page copywriting – placing your customer in a situation where they can visualise using and enjoying your services and products.
Here at High Impact, we start content marketing, SEO and social media strategies with an audit of your current activity and that of your competitors. Like any other type of marketing activity, being aware of what your competitors are doing and how it’s working for them can help inform your own success. As we’ve said before it’s fundamental to stay true to your brand with social media activity or you’ll lose the trust of your audience, but knowing what conversations are happening, the types of content competitors are sharing successfully and even where they are struggling, can help you better engage your audience. Of course, finding social media users who are interacting with your competitors is a good way of identifying people who are likely to be interested in your products too!
It’s not all about new customers nor should it be
While social media can help you grow your digital footprint and win new customers, one of the key components of success is sustaining relationships with your existing customers as it helps you become more appealing to potential followers and buyers. With this in mind, part of your strategy needs to be dedicated to ensuring existing customers want to continue to buy from you, it’s not all about building winning new customers, nor should it be.
These are just some of the ways social media strategy can help boost your sales and support your marketing goals. To talk about the opportunities for your brand online, get in touch with the High Impact team today.