With the new year upon us, many businesses are going over their marketing budget for 2017. How much should you earmark for social media? That’s a great question. According to a Duke University study, 13.2% of the average marketing budget is being allocated to social media in 2017. B2C companies could benefit from spending a bit more on social media, while B2B companies will probably spend a bit less. If you have questions regarding your social media marketing plan for 2017 we’d love to talk to you!
After spending a lot of time and effort building your social media community, losing followers can hurt. The inevitable question becomes, “what did I do wrong?”. According to a recent survey from Sprout Social, you might have just turned some of them off by posting promotions too often. The survey found that 58% of respondents admitted to being annoyed by seeing too many promotions from companies they followed.
Let’s be real here for a moment; while social media is a great place to let people know about your business, using it for pure self promotion is a good way to get people to tune you out. We’ve touched on our 80/20 social media rule before (80% informational/engaging posts – 20% self promotion/calls to action), and to some degree this survey supports that approach.
When done properly, social media is a great equalizer – one that minimizes the gap between small and large companies. It is a tool, along with a strong and properly optimized website, that gives even the smallest of businesses a huge chance to create a global presence.
But how can a small business promote just as effectively as a larger one? Consider the fact that the the internet has to date at least 3.17 billion users, 2.3 of which are on social media. Facebook’s website alone sees 1.65 billion monthly active users, and it’s making up almost a quarter of the internet time that Americans spend on mobile devices. However, we aren’t just talking about one nation when we say “social networking” – we’re talking about the possibility of marketing to millions, if not billions of people. With the rise of social media, even a small local business can utilize low-cost opportunities to create content and information that engages more potential customers than ever before.
Communication Has Evolved
Communication has evolved so much over the years, especially in the last century. It’s gone from word-of-mouth, to newspapers, to telephones, to TV, and so on.
Back in the 1970s, consumers either had to get up off their couch to switch the station, or ask their children to do it for them (a choice which was and still is quite cumbersome). The earliest of companies knew this and used it to their advantage by strategically placing entertaining advertisements in between commercial breaks targeted towards potential customers. Eventually came the remote control and companies had to work a bit harder to convince people not to switch channels, for example if their ads weren’t entertaining or visually appealing enough. Then came cable TV, a premium subscription service with the benefit of having no ads, and this, again, forced brands to work even harder and produce more entertaining ad campaigns.
These days, people have gone from surfing channels to streaming content from the internet. This has allowed today’s consumers to choose what they want to hear and watch. It has also made it much harder for brands to reach out to them through conventional means, this is where social media and brand identity comes in. Your brand now has to be chosen by the consumer, it has to be accepted, sought after even. Scott Cook, founder of Intuit once famously said, “A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is – it is what consumers tell each other it is.” Your target market needs to know who you are as a brand and what it is you stand for, and with social networks seeing as many as 176 million new users every year, social media is where your brand has to firmly establish itself to be seen.
The Power Of Word Of Mouth
In 2013, a Nielsen survey stated that “earning consumer trust is the holy grail” of a successful ad campaign. Furthermore, the survey found that 84 percent of its 29,000 responded believed that word-of-mouth recommendations were the most trustworthy source of information. Surely, you and your family have a favorite restaurant. You also brag about it whenever you can. You even recommend it to your friends and other acquaintances. Why? Maybe, because at one time or another, the restaurant’s owner took their time to listen to your feedback about how some of the dishes needed improvement, or even compensated your family for your troubles.
These are but a few of the reasons social media is the most effective platform today for strengthening relationships and trust in your brand.
What social media methods do you currently employ to stay relevant in today’s technologically connected world?
Twitter has all the makings to be a great and effective marketing platform and promotional tool. It’s user friendly and has a dashboard that’s very use to navigate. It also has built-in analytics that can help provide you with the necessary information to optimize and improve your campaigns. While it’s true that Twitter doesn’t even boast half the users that Facebook has, 313 million active users is still a lot.
With so many users all at the same time, businesses can use Twitter to engage customers, boost its brand and quite possibly, increase sales. But, to do so, you’d have to put some effort into understanding how things work.
Fortunately, you have these tips below to help you get a running start and make use of Twitter as a marketing platform to its fullest potential.
- Don’t use Twitter to solely market. April Wilson, president of Digital Analytics, suggests following an 80-20 rule when it comes to using Twitter to market. This means that you should devote as much as 80 percent of your content to what your target audience wants. Meanwhile, only around 20 percent should be about promoting your own business.
- Learn to follow first. Don’t just make blatant connections on twitter. Instead, follow influencers and known people on Twitter first. That way, you’ll know exactly how they use Twitter to their advantage. You can worry about connecting with them later on, once you’ve actually built up a proper reputation first.
- Don’t just retweet everything. While 80 percent of your content should be relevant to your target audience, you’ll want to make sure that you retweet with care. You don’t always have to go with what your audience wants. What’s important is that your tweets and retweets are in line with your target audience’s interests. However, they should still be in line with your own brand.
- Add value when you can. When you see other people asking questions, respond by giving appropriate input. Also, don’t be afraid to retweet posts from people you’re looking forward to developing relationships with, as well as post content that’s of value to others. This way, you’ll soon gain a reputation for providing valuable insight and be able to network much more effectively.
- Use direct messages sparingly. Although the feature is there, you may not exactly want to use DMs. Direct messages aren’t really used by people who use Twitter, especially by those who use it for business. Only DM if you’ve already established a good relationship with the receiver, or if they’ve asked you to do so.
Twitter gives small and medium-sized businesses a more personal, human voice that’s better able to establish ongoing relationships with audiences more so than any other social media platform available today. This then allows such businesses to market to a much wider audience and retain more customers, as well as possibly go toe-to-toe with bigger companies.
Follow the tips above and make use of Twitter as a cheap, but very effective marketing platform for your small or mid-sized business.
Marketing is far from simple. However, you can try to simplify it. Case in point, to market, businesses need to be where their audience at, and Facebook is that one social media platform that people have been using for years.
But, where do you start? Or, for small and mid-sized businesses who’ve attempted before, how do you reset things and start using Facebook as a marketing platform more effectively?
These tips below can help you with that.
- Build a properly optimized Facebook page
Your cover photo and profile picture are two of the first things that people see on your Facebook page. In particular, your cover photo shows up in many other ways on Facebook. It shows when someone hovers over your page’s name in a post, as well as when your page appears in suggested places and so on.
Having a tagline on your cover photo that makes your page and business stand out can help draw in people and make them like your page. Then, you can start optimizing your “About” section by adding links to special pages on your website, or testimonies from happy customers. Don’t forget to add and use critical keywords throughout the section as it’s indexed in Google.
- Come up with a content strategy
Although having a good cover photo and “about” section can help, what really draws people in are well-timed and informative posts that are related to your business and your target market. It doesn’t even always have to be content from your business’ blog. It can be news, tips, photos and videos, as well as humorous posts that are related to your business niche.
Plan carefully, though. Posting too often can annoy your audience. Meanwhile, posting only a couple of times a week puts your business at risk of becoming irrelevant.
Start with one post a day, and gradually move on to two if the feedback is positive. Also, try to keep things organized by creating a content calendar for a week’s worth of posts, or at least, a rough layout of what you’ll want to share and when.
Simple, yet very effective. Interacting is the best way to help your business’ Facebook present grow organically.
Be active. Reply to your audience’s comments on your page. Hold contests and offer discount coupons, as well as freebies for rewards. You can even comment on other business and complementary pages. The more active you are, the more people will see your business’ name, which will translate to better visibility. Also, as an added bonus, making friends with other business and complementary pages fosters good will with them, making them more likely to comment on and interact with your business.
- Use your personal profile
Since you are the face of your business, your audience will want to know who the man is behind the page. By using your personal profile and opening up your “follow” button, you allow yourself to connect with your audience on a more personal level. Besides, your personal profile is more visible to your actual friends and the more active you are there, the more likely your important business-related posts are seen.
Don’t worry about privacy too much. You can always create Facebook lists to help you manage who you share some of your posts with.
To not use Facebook as a marketing platform is to waste the millions of people who are on it at any given time. Make sure that you take full advantage of what Facebook has to offer for your business.