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For generations, word of mouth has been one of the most influential marketing tools around. In the twenty-first century, word of mouth has taken a new form—online with social media.
As a marketer, social networking websites—such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn—can help you increase brand awareness and reach new customers. Incorporating social media marketing as an integral part of your marketing strategy can pay off with huge dividends for your company.
Social media enables you to directly interact with your audience. It allows you to share news and product updates. Create buzz about your company and build visibility by providing content that people want to share. As people comment on your reviews, social media feeds, and posts. momentum builds and your brand’s profile is enhanced with a growing number of new customers.
It’s a versatile, all-purpose tool for marketers. Social media can help you more directly interact with your audience and become a bigger part of their lives. It allows you to share news about updates to your products and services, upcoming events, company and industry news, customer success stories, tips and pointers, and so much more. The sky isn’t even the limit. You can go beyond the sky, depending what your marketing and business objectives are. Social media reaches audiences at every point of the customer journey. With social, you can position your brand and show that you are current and relevant. Build customer relationships by sharing information and responding to feedback. Drive traffic to your website. Get people to sign up for emails, newsletters, and other lead generation content—and even get them to make purchases.
Plus, the stronger your social media presence the likelier it is that you will show up in a Google Search.
Social media can help you reach billions of users throughout the world at a relatively low cost. Choosing the right platform for your social media campaign depends on your specific marketing goals and the kind of audience you are trying to reach.
A key factor to consider is how your social media presence shows up in Google Search. To make it easy for potential customers to find you online, you want your webpage to show up high in search results. As you build your online presence, you want to be able to leverage it to gain more visibility online by getting your content shared.
To create an effective social media campaign you should have a presence on at least three platforms. The social media ecosystem is constantly changing. More and more social media platforms are emerging all the time, each with their own features, audiences, and options. Here is a list of the most popular platforms to date:
Facebook is the largest social media site in the world. According to statistica.com, Facebook had 2.27 billion users in the third quarter of 2018. People of all ages make it part of their daily lives. If you’re going to be on social media, Facebook is simply too large and too powerful of a platform to ignore.
More importantly for marketers, Facebook provides marketing analytics tools such as Facebook Audience Insights that provide information about your audience’s preferences, behaviors, demographics, and interests so that you can better target them with your ads.
Owned by Facebook, Instagram is a photo and video-sharing social networking service. It is particularly appealing to a younger audience. Instagram’s visual platform can help you establish a relationship with your followers with attention-getting photos.
LinkedIn is a business and employment social network, used by more than 65 million professionals worldwide. It’s a valuable resource that can help you build your business and connect with other professionals. Companies can use the site to provide information, post job openings, share announcements and industry news, and publish articles and other relevant content.
Twitter is an online news and social networking site where people post and interact using 280-character messages called “Tweets.” With more than 336 million users, it’s one of the largest social networks. Marketers can use their Twitter profiles to build a following by tweeting out news and other content. Twitter is also a great source for real-time insight on how your brand, products, and competition are being perceived in the market. By simply listening in on Twitter, you can get instant feedback.
Owned by Google, YouTube is a free video-hosting website that allows members to store and share video content. With billions of users throughout the world watching billions of hours of video content, YouTube offers a lot opportunities to drive traffic to your website.
Tumblr is a microblogging and social networking site where users post multimedia and other content. The majority of Tumblr users are between the ages of 18-34. If your brand lends itself to a more visual message, Tumblr provides a unique platform to reach potential new customers.
The goal of inbound marketing is to attract the interest of qualified prospects, convert them into leads and customers, and maintain those relationships to foster repeat business. Social media can play an integral role in broadening the scope of your inbound marketing methods. Inbound marketing refers to the creating and sharing of content that helps intrigue and attract interest to your brand or business, close a deal and convert someone into a customer, and keep in touch afterwards.
Essentially, social media gives your brand a place to be found. Social media provides a relatively low-cost way to nurture prospects and build relationships that could very well lead to purchases and repeat business. Social networks also provide users with a chance to comment on what you post and give you valuable feedback. They may even repost your content and give it more visibility. You can interact with customers and prospects on a comments thread—and even have a whole conversation.
Your social media posts can give your audience a view into what is going on with your business. What industry news and technology advances are happening now? What new add-on services have you just developed? Did you just win an award and want to share that achievement? Social media gives you a way to get that message out.
Using social media influencers—users with a lot of followers and established credibility—can help you reach new markets. When an influencer reposts your content and exposes it to their online followers, you have the advantage of that strong relationship with a new audience. These relationships can also aid your link-building efforts, which will go a long way toward improving your SEO.
With social media, you can create relationships with not just your customers, but influencers, meaning people who are famous or have followings. They might promote your brand and repost your content and expose it to their online followers, which gives you an even wider potential audience. These relationships can also aid your link-building efforts, which will go a long way toward improving your SEO.
Your social media can promote your products and services and brand, and it can give your audience a view into what is going on with your business. What industry news and technology advances are you excited about? What new add-on services have you just developed? Did you just win an award and want to share that achievement? Social media gives you a place to do just that.
Social media also gives you a great opportunity to promote your blog. Even in the age of social media, blogs are still an essential tool in the digital marketing mix. Many businesses maintain a blogs for the following reasons:
Blogs and social media can work together to establish more brand loyalty. People tend to check both the social media streams and the blogs that they like on a regular basis. They know where to go to if they want the content that they are interested in.
Blogs can drive long-term traffic. Once a blog post is up, it stays online indefinitely and keeps showing up in searches. Long after its original posting, the post will continue to build your brand, attract interest, and generate leads. Consider repurposing your old blog content as ebooks or white papers. Or, take the opposite approach by turning an ebook or customer story into a blog post.
How long should a blog post be? That depends on your audience and the topic you are blogging about. The general rule for online content is to be concise and to the point. Always strive for clarity, readability, and—most important—offer something of value. Your audience has to come away with something useful from your blog, be it how-to tips, a nugget of information, or an offer.
You can approach social media passively, actively, or both. With the passive approach, you simply pay attention to what people are saying on your social media channels and take that all in as valuable feedback. Or you can actively engage and communicate with them, as a means of promoting and building your brand.
Many social media platforms offer digital analytics that help you track data to get better results from your social media campaigns. These tools enable you to dig deep and find out in-depth data about your audience that will help you better personalize and target your social media strategies.
Using these metrics, you can spot trends and see what’s working—and what’s not. What is your audience responding to—and how are they responding? What are they reposting? What are their reviews saying? How are they replying to you in comments threads? Every data point gives you an opportunity to tweak your strategy.
Social media offers you a chance to get a better feel for your audience. A well-designed social media strategy can serve you well in reaching and connecting with them in ways that are interesting, relevant, and engaging.