This week’s blog has been prepared by Russell Mangsen, Principal Consultant at Namra Consultion Group, LLC (NCG). Founded in 2016, NCG understands the importance of maintaining a strong online presence through social media channels. The organization seeks to create an online community for their clients and in turn develop long-term, trusting partnerships.
Social media marketing and SEO are two tightly interwoven strategies. Both are organic, inbound strategies that focus on building an appealing identity that naturally attracts visitors. Since social media relies on high-quality content and a visible, strong brand presence, the efforts you spend on SEO can doubly improve your social media reach, and as most search marketers will tell you, your social media presence can greatly increase your search rankings.” (DeMers).
Most business owners understand the concept of content marketing, since, at its core, it makes sense; posting interesting content online, which generates consumer interest allows you to develop a following of potential customers for your business. In theory, it makes sense. But, how often do you have to post to see results? How do you develop this “interesting content” and how do you keep it interesting? What social media platforms are most important for your business? And finally, the biggest question we hear on a regular basis: “This takes a lot of time… Is it really worth the effort?”
When we hear this question (and we hear it a lot), we completely understand. How could a social network, originally built for teenagers and college students to make party plans, become a marketing tool, so powerful that every business in existence needs it just to survive? Well, here’s how: Let’s take a look at the amount of monthly users some of the most popular social media platforms had in 2016 – a number which has only grown since, and will continue to grow in the future.
“Social platforms have become the new leaders in the digital media industry, evolving well past their beginnings as digital communication networks and becoming full-fledged media distribution channels and entertainment centers.” (Adler).
Not bad, right? Now, let’s dive deeper into the ways social media can truly be used as a marketing tool, and a powerful one at that. There are many benefits to developing a strong digital presence for your business on social media. We’ve narrowed it down to what we believe are the 5 most important impacts a strong social media presence can have on your business. Our hope is that some of you may be able to justify dedicating the time or other resources necessary to bring your business into the digital age. It’s true, content marketing on social media requires a large amount of time and effort. When done correctly, though, it can allow your business to:
- Increase qualified leads by creating content, which drives your audience through social media to your website. At its core, the simplest goal of social media is to generate consumer interest, which organically drives traffic to your website – or wherever the sale happens in your business – when your audience desires more information. By creating content your target audience is interested in, you are increasing the chances a potential customer will come across your business’ online presence. Once they do, they will express their interest in your product or service by “Liking” or “Following” your business’ social media pages. One of the most common mistakes a business owner can make in today’s digital age is underestimating the value of their social media pages. What you may see as a simple “Like” on Facebook is actually a real person essentially endorsing your business, showing their support, and looking forward to your future posts because they are interested in the services you offer – the very definition of a qualified lead. What more could you ask for as a business owner?
- Increase your search engine performance by forming a cohesive link between your social media presence and your website. Posting industry-relevant and valuable content on multiple social media platforms, while maintaining your website, can have astronomically positive effects on your search engine performance and overall inbound marketing efforts. Your search engine performance will organically perform better as you create more industry-relevant content. The more high-quality content you produce, the stronger your company’s digital presence will become. Posting related content across multiple platforms will create synergy between each of your digital platforms, which serves to enhance the performance of your entire digital presence when people search for your business in Google. Simply put, the more content you create and spread across a broad array of platforms, the stronger your business will perform online. The final result being, when a consumer searches for your something industry, not only will your website appear on Google, but your Facebook page will appear as well.
- Build a more personalized brand by creating original content. So you’ve got people searching for your services on Google. They see your website, and then check out your Facebook page. That’s great, but what do they see? Anything interesting? Thought provoking? Or, just another business posting about the exact services they have listed on their website? On social media, it’s important to find the perfect balance between showcasing your services and showing the world “who” your business is. This is a great opportunity for you to build trust with people who have never even met you. Social media, at its core, is about connecting people with other people. Generally speaking, most people like to do business with people they know and trust. Your consumers want to get to know your business’ personality, and social media allows you to fully customize the message you wish to communicate to them. It also gives you the ability to display the people who make up your business, which is what social media is all about.
- Increase the effectiveness of your marketing by focusing on engagement, not just your lump-sum total impressions. “The entire marketing world is obsessed with impressions. You might hear someone say “40,000 people saw this video.” But the truth is, they didn’t. They didn’t because as soon as the ad came up in video form, they clicked away to a new tab to look at something they actually wanted to see. But they count as an impression. They count as ‘seeing it.’ On TV, it’s the same problem. Nielsen sees how many people watch a TV show and they count those impressions against the ads that ran during the show. But as soon as commercials came up, people picked up their phones. They opened Facebook or Instagram. They aren’t engaged with the TV.” (Vaynerchuk).
In today’s world, content is king. Social media gives any business the opportunity to shine bright and break away from the overcrowded marketplace in their industry by creating engaging content that actually appeals to your consumers. Rather than spamming them with your logo and tagline over and over again, you will generate a following of potential buyers who simply like what your business has to say. The idea here is that you are telling the story of your business and engaging with the community around you, rather than hitting people with a new advertisement every day. This increases the effectiveness of your efforts in the same way that meeting with a potential buyer in person works better than sending emails back and forth or talking on the phone. It’s about the personal connection.
- Maximize your budget by saving money and spending efficiently. No business has an unlimited marketing budget, and with so many options for traditional advertising – newspaper, radio, television, online advertising, etc. – it can be difficult to determine which marketing channels will show you the highest returns. In some cases, the most appealing aspect of content marketing on social media is that it requires little to no capital to get started. After all, creating a Facebook or Instagram account is free. However, there is some give and take involved here, because in order to see results, a large time commitment must be made to generate appealing content on a regular basis for your audience to interact with. Many businesses see this as time well-spent, because if one thing is for sure, it’s that people are spending more time on digital devices now than ever before, and the world is only going to become more digitally oriented as time goes on. For this reason, it is essential for your business to begin focusing on building a strong digital presence.
After taking a look at these 5 main impacts social media can have on your business, we have seen many skeptics start to understand the importance of content marketing on social media. The majority of these skeptics even begin rationalizing the time or monetary investment needed to produce high results using the content marketing technique.
In conclusion, if you get one thing out of this article, we hope it’s this: There’s a reason we put billboards on the side of the highway instead of in the middle of vacant fields. Your consumers are on social media. If you want to get in front of your consumers, you need to be there too.
Vaynerchuk, Gary. “When Will Marketers Talk About Attention, Not Impressions?”. Gary Vaynerchuk. N.p., 2015. Web. 9 Jan. 2017.
DeMers, Jason. “6 Social Media Practices That Boost SEO”. Forbes.com. N.p., 2017. Web. 9 Jan. 2017.
Adler, Emily. “Social Media Engagement: The Surprising Facts About How Much Time People Spend On The Major Social Networks”. Business Insider – Tech Insider. N.p., 2016. Web. 9 Jan. 2017.