Updated: Jun 11, 2020
Here’s a common fact that has been around as long as humans have been doing transactions with one another – people do business with people they like and trust. Before social media was available, people relied on word of mouth to find products and service providers. They read ad in local newspapers, watched ads on network television, and responded to images and messaging that were pleasing. The brands they connected with had a personality they could relate to, and a reputation they could trust. They felt authentic, and people happily responded by opening up their wallets.
Social media has given today’s businesses the ideal tool to build that trust and transparency, as long as it’s utilized carefully, sensitively, and consistently. That’s why “social media marketing near me” is such a popular search on Google and Bing.
Where it all began
The first social media site arrived on the scene in 1997. It was called Six Degrees, and it enabled users to upload a profile and make friends with other users. After the invention of blogging in the early 2000s, social media platforms began to dominate the media landscape. First, Photobucket and Flicker allowed for online photo sharing. Then YouTube burst onto scene in 2005, and created an entirely new way for people to communicate with one another all around the globe.
By 2006, Facebook and Twitter became available to users in virtually every country on the planet. They were followed by Tumble, Spotify, Foursquare, and Pinterest, then Snapchat and Instagram. These platforms have revolutionized the way we communicate and build relationships in just 23 years. The best digital agencies seized on this opportunity early on.
Today, 97 percent of marketers use social media
Statista reports that 70% of Americans have at least one social media account. By 2021, the number of social media users worldwide is expected to increase to 31 billion people. Equally important, 59% of these billions of social media users access social media every day, and about a third of those check their social media accounts over five times a day! Social media is where customers are consuming content, and therefore a great place for businesses to insert their own content as a way to cost-effectively sell products, promote services, increase brand recognition, change perceptions, and increase inbound traffic to websites. After all…your competition is there too.
There are five pillars to social media marketing.
1. The strategy. Don’t jump into social media blind. Establish a strategy based upon the goals you want to achieve. Want to drive more people who fit your buyer profile to your website to buy products? Create engaging content that shows customers how your product can improve/simplify/enrich their lives. Reach out to customers on the social media platforms they’re most likely to be on. If yours is a B2B business, LinkedIn would be a great place to make connections. If you want to reach Millennials and GenZ, you’ll find them on Instagram. Strategize who you want to reach, why you want to reach them, and how you’ll peak their interest with the content you create.
2. Be consistent. Having a consistent presence on social media is key. Plan out what you want to post and how often. Whether it’s sharing a blog post, creating a graphic for a product promo, or even conducting a survey to gain insights into what prospects want and need, all of these interactions should be planned out and published in a consistent manner.
3. Be engaged. As your social media presence grows, people expect to hear from you. They also expect you to hear them. Whether it’s a positive comment or a concern, it’s important to stay on top of the conversation and build that trust that you are listening, and that they can trust you are paying attention.
4. Track activity. The only way to really know how well your social media strategy is performing is through analytics tools. Most platforms provide some level of analytics that can help you track how many people you’re reaching, how many are interacting with your brand, and what content led to spikes in activity.
5. Advertise. The beauty of social media is that your advertising spend can be much more strategic with proper targeting than that of traditional marketing channels. It’s not that social media should replace them all, rather it can enhance your other efforts. Advertising on social media is also a great way to build your followers, who might very well become your best brand ambassadors.
As the world becomes a little closer through globalization, and prospects become a little more connected through easy access to technology (usually in the palm of their hand), social media is here to stay.
Top marketing agencies like Thompson Marketing Partners can help guide you in building your brand through social media and increasing your positive online presence. We offer a full range of digital marketing services and are experts in developing and executing strategic digital marketing solutions that help clients reach their marketing goals. Contact us to discuss your customized social media strategy!