Taking Another Look at How Businesses Use Social Media

You simply cannot ignore social media especially if you are in business and promoting your product/service online.

According to HubSpot , each month there are over two billion active users on Facebook, one billion on Instagram, and 365 million on Twitter worldwide.

Why people and businesses use social media

People use social media to get informed, entertained, stay connected and chat with family members/relatives and friends, and for other reasons.

Knowing why and how people use social media, you as a business owner/marketer realize that these platforms are the channels where you can effectively tune in and connect with your target markets.

The huge number of people spending time on social media is a logical target for marketers who want to deliver their brand messages in real time.

The number of active social media users is continuously growing. Additionally, their influence on brand perception and reputation is getting stronger as well.

Marketers can either communicate their messages for free (organic) or through paid ads. In fact, social media advertising spend is projected to grow worldwide to about US$48 billion by 2021

While the total worldwide social media advertising expenditures is eye-popping, social advertising remains a very-cost effective way of online advertising. It is considered as a low-cost way of reaching people in a broad swath of geographic areas and a wide range of demographic and psychographic profiles. It enables you to target your niche markets.

“You don’t need a corporation or a marketing company to brand you now: you can do it yourself. You can establish who you are with a social media following.” – Ray Allen, Professional Basketball Player*

The common reasons businesses use social media are the following:

  • To reach their target market
  • To engage with their audience
  • To boost brand awareness
  • To improve online reputation
  • To drive traffic to their website
  • To generate sales
  • To build a community of brand advocates

Creating, maintaining, and strengthening social media presence is an effective marketing strategy for businesses.

“A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is – it is what consumers tell each other it is.” – Scott Cook, Co-Founder of Intuit*

What are some points to consider when using social media for business?

Marketers have different approaches in planning and implementing their social media marketing. Some important points to consider are the following:

  • Have a well-crafted social media marketing strategy in place

Define what you want to achieve in implementing social media marketing. Come up with SMART objectives such as those identified above. Then describe how you want to attain these objectives through social media.

You start with two things:  your target audience and the content (information, message, or materials (including images, videos, infographics) you want to share with them.

  • Make a content calendar (it is usually a matrix of the content you want to post, where, when, keywords, links, images, and other data needed in creating the social media posts)

Select and study the social media platform(s) you want to use. When selecting one, you must consider only once criterion: where the bulk of your audience spends their time online.

“When it comes to social media marketing, you don’t have to post 3 times a day. It’s never about how often you post but the quality of your content.” – Janet Benson Amarhavwie, Social Media Manager*

  • Assess the performance of your social media marketing by setting KPIs or metrics by which you can measure your progress.

Identify as many metrics as you can but all of these should be relevant to the objectives you are trying to achieve.

Likes, shares, and comments are nice to have. But what count towards your sales objectives are the number of website visits attributed to social media, duration of visitors’ stays on your site, and how many of these visits led to actual sales conversion. Your financial metrics should include not only the actual sales generated but also how much it costs you to generate and convert those website traffic.

“Facebook is a discovery model platform. Its primary goal is to make the audience happy. So you’ll only get ROI if you create quality content for your audience.” – Kelly Hendrickson, Facebook Lead at HubSpot*

  • Evaluate the quality of your audience engagement.

Quantity is good to see but what is more important is the quality of the engagement. What are your audience commenting about? How do they react to your brand – positive, negative, or indifferent?  Do they clamor for more content from you or do they suggest contents that they want to see on your posts?

“A large social-media presence is important because it’s one of the last ways to conduct cost-effective marketing. Everything else involves buying eyeballs and ears. Social media enables a small business to earn eyeballs and ears.” – Guy Kawasaki, Chief Evangelist, Canva*

  • During the current pandemic, more and more people have turned to social media while observing social distancing and working from home.

There are more connections and engagements. For content marketers, this is a good opportunity to create and implement a content strategy.

Without doing any sales pitch, what do you want to tell your audience that will be useful, relevant, and resonant with them? How can you address their needs, problems, and pain points? How can your brand improve their lives or business? How do you establish your subject matter authority? How can you be more credible online?

Talk like a human talking to a human. Even if your target audience is another business (like a software developer talking to an enterprise client), talk simple and direct to the point but you may adopt an informal and friendly tone. You can also tell them your brand story – including your headaches and heartaches. Always tell the truth and don’t spread or share fake news. Don’t do any sales pitch (reserve that for your ads).

Don’t use social media to impress people; use it to impact people.” – Dave Willis, Author and Speaker*

What does the future hold for social media marketing?

As usually done annually, there are next year’s predictions from the experts. Next year, 2021, will be particularly interesting to look at considering the extremely challenging events that have unfolded during 2020.

Talkwalker published ten social media trends for 2021. These are all interesting insights to study and consider in your 2021 social media campaigns.

Notable among these trends are these two:

  • Nostalgia marketing

Consumers would connect with happier times to distract from current situations. Marketers can highlight positive emotions identified with happier times in the past (like maybe freedom to do things people like to do) to pep up current negative emotions. Give your brand the nostalgia appeal.

  • A little more conversation(al) marketing

Encourage conversation and establish connections to build relationships. The pandemic has highlighted the need for these. Information, engagement, and social issues are priorities for your audience – not sales. Engagement eventually creates sales.

What else?

What you have just read above points out just how important social media presence is to a business and its brands. You can do social media marketing by yourself, using in-house staff, or outsourcing it to professional social media or digital marketers.

* HubSpot

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