The origin of the term marketing stems all the way back to the 16th century. But back then, however, marketing referred to the process of buying and selling at a market. The term, as we know it today, originated from Adam Smith’s book The Wealth of Nations, but it would take nearly 200 more years before it was given further attention. Nevertheless, advertising, branding, packaging, and labeling (all elements of marketing) were present since antiquity.
But as most of us know, marketing is not a fixed concept, meaning that it will change and evolve with the times. And in the 21st century, when the internet pretty much dominates the world, and more recently, social media, it would only stand to reason that social media marketing would become a thing – and it has. Given the fact that social media is today’s equivalent of a market, where people congregate,
For those of us who don’t know, social media marketing is the process of utilizing social media and websites as a means of promoting a company’s products and services. As part of the all-encompassing digital marketing, alongside content, email, influencer, or inbound marketing, among others, social media marketing is great for spreading your message around and attract new customers.
A whopping 96% of small businesses use social media to attract new customers. Of these, 92% say that social media is essential for their business. Likewise, 63% of consumers who search for a company online will be more likely to become a customer if that business has an already-established social media presence.
These statistics here are but the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the real potential of social media marketing. If used correctly and consistently, it can bring numerous benefits to a small business.
Increased Inbound Traffic
One of the main reasons why businesses use social media marketing is that it increases website traffic. Without the use of social media, your leads will only be limited to those who are already aware of your brand and website, or those who stumble upon them.
Establishing or increasing your social media presence by making use of content marketing, you will be adding an avenue for people to find a way onto your site. It is, however, important to remember that social media marketing is a mid to long-term strategy, meaning that you will not see an immediate or consistent rise in inbound traffic.
More Branding Opportunities
One of the best ways of connecting with your target audience is by showcasing your brand, and it’s personality through social media. As we mentioned, social media is the largest forum that has ever existed, and it is here where you can better brand your organization. Not only will you be able to expand your reach to a broader audience but you can also build trust, engage, and increase your brand’s reputation as a thought leader in your industry.
All of this can be achieved, in large part, by combining social media marketing and content marketing. While the first will enable you to reach out to your audience, the latter will allow you to provide them with valuable content. Over time, and with enough consistency and persistence, more and more people will turn to you for useful information. It automatically implies that your brand will become more recognizable, your posts will be more shared, you will see an increase in website traffic, and, of course, more sales.
Better Customer Loyalty
Avoid the common saying out of sight out of mind by having a constant social media presence. 53% of Americans who follow a brand on social media are more loyal to those brands and will be repeat customers, than those who don’t.
A key ingredient in customer loyalty, however, is engagement. Always keep in mind that social media is a two-way communication channel. It means that you can respond and interact with your audience. Yes, we encourage the interaction. Engagement in the world of social media means everything from commenting, liking, sharing, or clicking on a post. So, when a person leaves you a comment, good or bad, it’s a good idea to engage with them by replying.
But don’t wait too long to do so by answering a day later. Prompt communication will let your customers know that their opinions matter to you and will thank you for it with their loyalty. But if you find that keeping a constant eye on your social channels takes up too much time, consider a chatbot.
Superior Customer Service
Social media marketing is also about customer service. Whatever experience people will have with your brand or your product, they will often turn to social media. It is up to you to fix those issues, and the worst thing you can do is to ignore them.
If your team can uphold your brand’s standards when they engage on social media, an angry customer can be completely turned around with a positive customer service experience. Chatbots are incredibly useful here. Customer experience always plays a significant role in how people view your brand, be it online or offline.
Higher Lead Generation
For all the benefits that it has to offer, social media isn’t particularly useful when it comes to conversion. Statistically, the average conversion rate of social media is somewhere around 0.71%. It is considerably smaller when we compare it to search, with 1.95% and email, with 3.19%. During Black Friday 2015, for instance, email marketing was responsible for around 25.1% of all sales while social media was for only 1.6%.
But while social media lacks in conversion power, it more than makes up in traffic. And by combining the two and creating a marketing strategy where you get that social media traffic and convert it into email subscribers, you can take advantage of both while eliminating their shortcomings.
Interestingly enough, only 48% of businesses say that social media marketing is providing them with a worthwhile ROI. But it’s important to remember that many of these businesses are not using social media correctly, nor do they understand what social media can provide. Keep in mind that ROI isn’t a number, but something you get in return. When determining your social media ROI, it doesn’t boil down to revenue minus expenses. Social media ROI can be better exemplified as the value you get in exchange for an investment you made.
And by value, in this context, we can have, say, the number of transactions, referrals, branding, reach, or market research, to name a few. So, before you even begin developing your social media marketing strategy, you will first have to determine your goal and what you hope to achieve. It can be more sales, better engagement, increased leads, better customer service, increased reach, etc.
Social media marketing is a powerful tool that all businesses, big and small, have at their disposal. Unfortunately or not, however, there is no one-size-fits-all approach, and every company needs to determine its reasons why it will be using it, in the first place. For more information about the subject, visit our website today.