I’ll admit, when social media sprinted on to the digital marketing scene, I was extremely skeptical. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and all the other social media sites reminded me of MySpace and my first instinct was to wait until they all followed the same path to destruction. I was very cautious to avoid investing time and money into a marketing fad.
But I was wrong. Social media marketing is not going anywhere. In fact, all signs are pointing to social media being an integral component in the future of digital marketing. That’s because every day the lines get more and more blurry between social media and other core digital marketing tactics like SEO, advertising, and email marketing. The days of focusing on just one isolated tactic are over. To have long-term success with digital marketing, we need to take a more holistic approach.
In case you’re like me and you’re skeptical about the value of investing in social media marketing, I’m going to walk through 3 reasons that may change your mindset.
Reason 1: Boost Your Other Channels
Chances are good you’re already investing in other channels like SEO and digital advertising. But as I mentioned above, the lines are getting blurry between those tactics and social media marketing. That’s because social media now impacts those channels either positively or negatively.
Let’s take SEO as an example. A successful SEO campaign relies on content marketing (for example. publishing high-quality articles and then sharing them online). What do you think is one of the best ways to share content online? That’s right, social media! Sites like Facebook and Twitter are perfect for maximizing the exposure of your content and, in turn, increasing the number of links from other websites.
On the advertising side, the social media giant, Facebook, should not be ignored. As the Facebook ad platform continues to mature, it’s now possible for businesses to laser-target their ideal customers to drive more leads and sales. Plus, social media (such as the number of Likes you have) can be great social proof on your advertising landing pages to increase your conversion rates.
Reason 2: Control Your Reputation
What is likely the first thing a prospective customer will do when she first learns about your business? I’ll do this before or sometimes after I’ve already contacted the business and it always impacts my decision to purchase.
The answer is that prospective customers will “Google” your business name as a way to run a quick background check. It takes just a few minutes to search and see what pops up about the company. In some cases there won’t be much info, which can be concerning because it indicates the business may not be legit. In other cases, there will be lots of info that is either positive or negative.
Here’s a quick tip to help you with your search engine reputation management: If you set up social media profiles for your business name, then those pages are highly likely to rank at the top of Google for brand searches. In other words, you can use your social media profiles as a way to control what prospective customers will see when they search for your business.
And don’t forget about how this could impact your hiring process. Potential employees will certainly “Google” your business name to do their homework as well.
Finally, in addition to setting up social profiles, it’s important to stay engaged in order to establish and protect your reputation. Specifically, I’m talking about cultivating positive reviews and responding to any comments or complaints you may receive.
Reason 3: Keep Your Audience Engaged
The final reason to invest in social media is to keep your audience engaged. This may not sound like much, but I would argue that engaging your audience is one of the most important jobs of your digital marketing. Think about that for a minute. In order to make a sale you must first have an engaged prospect. Then, in order to generated repeat purchases and encourage more referrals you must keep your customers engaged. If you lose mindshare and attention, then you lose sales.
The key to engagement is to actually reach your audience. Businesses that rely solely on direct mail, phone and/or email marketing are missing out on a segment of their market that could be reached via social media. I’m not suggesting one tactic is better than the other. I’m simply highlighting the fact that social media allows businesses to get in front of more of their audience to engage and maximize sales, repeat purchases, and referrals.
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