Questions that make us cringe: “I posted a promo code on Facebook and nothing happened, why?” or, “I don’t get how Twitter will make my business grow and produce higher revenue?”
These are valid marketing questions, but in order to generate success in the realm of social media marketing- we need to start asking different questions and reevaluating our expectations.“Social media is almost like a return to old-fashioned business practices. A time when you knew your customers, when you were more connected to who was buying your product and services,” /excelamktg Operations Manager, Meaghan Emery explains.
Many business owners need to reevaluate their relationship with social media in order build stronger relationships with their social consumers. /excelamktg CEO, Ashley Ranger, stresses,“If your only goal is to increase sales, you should look at something else before you look at social media.”
So before we delve into the sure fire things you should expect, we need to get something off our chest: social media does not equal sales. It cannot replace your other marketing strategies, no, there isn’t a perfect equation to master your social media ROI (yet!), and lastly, having an automatic 5,000 fans and followers overnight isn’t going to happen.
When we direct our focus to seeing an increase on our return on influence, rather than investment, sales, and numbers, the benefits of social media become more accessible. Now that we’ve extinguished the unrealistic expectations of social media, here are 5 things you should expect:
1. Expect to Use Social Media as a Valuable Aide to Increase SEO
“Your website still needs be the “hub” of your business- properly tagged and coded for optimal search results. Facebook and Twitter can’t replace this crucial aspect of your company, but they can aide in a stronger SEO,” Ranger explains. Social media is a necessary medium, that when implemented into your overall marketing practices will increase your brand’s traffic and backlinks- improving your Google ranking. To ensure optimal SEO utilizing social media, make sure your platforms are streamlined (consistent logo, bio, keywords, vanity URL’s, etc.)
Here are basic aspects you should consider a necessity for optimal SEO utilizing your social media integration:
- Unified keywords on all social media platforms, blogs and websites with Google’s Keywords Tool
- Provide your website link on all social media platforms
- Encourage employees to “Share” business content
- Add a “Share” button on your company blog
- Properly name your social media profiles for consistency
- Identify and engage your current consumers with creative incentives and content that is easily shareable on your website and other platforms
2. Expect to Think in Long-Terms
You’ve heard the expression, “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” and the same is true for your social media.“You can’t expect to put in three months of social media and ask, ‘now where is my return’?” Ranger explains. It is a living, breathing, growing platform that increases in value every year depending on your engagement and effort. The relationships you cultivate with consumers is a process, that when executed with strategic planning, time, and care, can reap huge benefits for your brand. To illustrate the process, check out this inforgraphic created by the excela creative team on the four stages of a Facebook fan:
The conversion from the Potential Fan stage to a Brand Advocate simply won’t happen overnight, nor would it be beneficial to you if it did. You want to attract quality consumers to your platforms in order to build an effective community. Having a bunch of “likes” does not mean that those people care about your brand- the goal is to build a captivated community- which takes strategic interaction, engaging campaigns, and other creative components.
3. Expect to Build A Community
Social media has the power to build an army of brand advocates as seen in the above infographic. The worth of a single brand advocate in the realm of social media redefines the phrase “word of mouth.” One brand advocate means that you’ve cultivated a relationship with a consumer- and now they’re sharing, talking, tweeting, RTing, posting about your brand with their community. That’s huge.A community also makes your brand accessible in human way; it gives you the power to learn from consumers in order to produce the types of products that they want to buy. “A social media platform like Facebook acts as an excellent customer service tool,”explains Operations Manager, Emery. You now have a venue to answer questions, sway opinions, and have real-time conversations with your consumers.
In fact, when you put forth the daily energy it takes to be successful in social media, you will build acommunity of consumers who care about your business because you care about them- hence a valuable brand advocate.
To take the power of a brand advocate a step further, a study conducted by Social Commerce Today found the correlation between a loyal fan and potential sales is huge:
- 117%: the additional amount a fan will spend on a brand compared to a non fan
- 17%: proportion of Facebook users who say simply having the ability to ‘Like’ a brand makes them more likely to buy
- 51%: the increase in likelihood a customer will purchase, after clicking the ‘like’ button
- 41%: the increase in likelihood a customer that a customer will recommend, if they have liked the brand
- 28%: the increase in likelihood that customers who ‘like’ a brand will repurchase
- 40%: Proportion who ‘Like’ businesses in order to receive special discounts and promotions
- 30% to 200%: increase in site registrations for sites using Facebook sign on
Be a student of your community and you will undoubtedly become an authority in your business field, because you are offering what your consumers really want to purchase.
4. Expect to Be Heavily Involved
“Social media sites aren’t just platforms you have, they are platforms you USE often and with the intent to provide value” explains Emery. When you decide to venture into social media as a marketing tool, a healthy reminder is that it is time consuming.
There are various tools that can aide in scheduling branded content, but for the most part, in order to acquire social media success, you must be heavily involved in the real-time conversations that are taking place. Consumers can easily spot spammy content, which is often grounds for a consumer to “unlike” or “unfollow.”
Remember: people don’t like to be sold; they do like to feel listened to, appreciated and exclusive. This takes time and creativity. For a better picture of what you should be doing daily with your social media, check out Get with the Social Media Game Plan.
5. Expect to Look Better Than Your Competitor
“Especially if you offer a service, brands with a strong social media presence will automatically be positioned better online against competitors” Ranger explains. When a consumer is searching for your specific service, if your business is active on social media platforms, the likelihood of the consumer choosing you over your competitor is major. More so, you have now positioned yourself as an authority in your genre of business- creating confidence in the consumer to choose the service you offer above others who lack involvement in social media.
While these are elements you, as a business, can expect from your social media, the biggest point to remember is that consumers expect you to be utilizing these platforms (and to be doing it well). Here are 5 key takeaways about social media:
- A killer social media presence is something that today’s consumer expects you to have.
- Social media sites aren’t just platforms you have, they are platforms you USE often and with the intent of providing value.
- Measure your social media in terms of influence rather than investment. How powerful is current influence?
- Every brand has a different experience with social media as a marketing tool. Do the best you can with the resources you have, and make a point to never compromise the quality of content you put out.
- Building a community is not a numbers game. It is about the quality of people interacting with you, not the quantity.
How will you move forward with your social media efforts?