One of the most common problems I find as a social mediator is reassuring the client that there is true value in what they’re doing when it comes to their social media activities and content marketing strategy. For many SME’s there is a realisation that they should be active on social media, but the understanding of why, (what and how) is often limited.
For many companies, particularly B2B (but not limited to) the need to see a direct monetary ROI or at the very least a stack of new business contacts or leads is often their first mistake when devising their social media strategy.
Let me reassure you that in many instances social media platforms, particularly LinkedIn can and do assist in new business contacts and/or leads, and furthermore can and are being used more and more to sell a product or service directly to the end consumer BUT essentially that’s what you have a (probably fairly expensive!) website for, and social media should be one of the key players in driving traffic to said website.
If you, or perhaps your boss is questioning why you are spending time and/or money on social media when you’re not seeing ‘ direct results’, let me give you 10 reasons why continuing on the social media path is more than likely the right thing for you:
- Become an Expert in Your Field: Whilst you may already consider your company of ‘expert’ status, and you may have accreditations that prove you are, that’s really no use to you unless your customer knows it. The beauty of social media is that across a variety of platforms you can create a dialogue with your customer, you can share expert videos on YouTube, tweet and share photos, and blog articles that cement you as an expert in your field, get it right and these will be shared time and time again, taking your level of expertise across the web and to potentially new customers that beforehand you’d have never had the opportunity to communicate with.
- Profiles in Google Rankings: Whilst you may not have got your website on to the first page of Google yet, many companies often find that their social media profiles or content within it, be it Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or any of the others, often have made it to the first page, and often quite close to the top this is particularly important for B2B companies to consider. – take Green Umbrella for example, when typing in Social Media for Business in to Google, content shared on the Google+ platform ranks very highly – content really is king!
- Creating a brand/personality: Before social media, companies had to spend thousands, if not millions per year to create their brand and brand personality on expensive mediums such as television, radio, onpage/press advertising, but now at just a fraction of the cost, you can utilise social media platforms to do just this.
- Compete with the big boys: Prior to social media, many SME’s and micro businesses stood absolutely no chance of competing with the big players in their industry due to budget constraints, but social media has closed this gap quite considerably. Social media done well has just as much potential to go viral for the ‘one man band’ as it does for the big corporate giants!
- Web traffic: If nothing else, this has to sell social media activity to you and/or your boss – who wouldn’t want a cost effective way of driving traffic to your ‘all singing, all dancing’ website – essentially this should be your selling tool for your goods or services, so get yourself on Google Analytics and start measuring just how effective social media is in driving traffic to your website (don’t forget if you don’t tell your followers how to find your website – they stand less chance of finding it)
- Increased Brand Awareness: It goes without saying that the more you are active on a good variety of social media platforms, and the more engaging the content the more people will share it and inevitably the more people will see it – this can only ever be a positive when looking to increase your brand exposure and awareness.
- Visual: It’s no secret that people are much more likely to engage with images, photos, videos and other visuals, social media is quite possibly the easiest method for getting visuals relating to your business out there and in front of both existing and prospect customers.
- Social Media platforms ARE search engines: For many, where they appear in the Google rankings is all they are interested in, but don’t forget that the likes of YouTube (the 2nd largest search engine) are search engines too and so should not be over looked when developing your digital strategy.
- Link Building: The process of link building involves the linking back from other websites to yours – (by the way Google LOVES this and you’ll get a pat on the back and begin to see better search ranking results from doing this). The easiest way to get links back to your site is through creating fresh and engaging content regularly, be it through blogs, pins, tweets or posts that people will want to share and engage with.
- It’s incredibly cost effective: I think this one speaks for itself when you consider how much you may budget for press advertising, online web banners and other forms of marketing!
It’s also worth noting that the ‘flash in the pan’ approach to social media just won’t give you the results you’re looking for, once you’ve committed to social media for business you’re in it for the long haul to see those results. That is, you must be active on your chosen platforms frequently, generating fresh and engaging content and giving customers a reason to interact with you.