You would have heard so many marketing experts tell everyone to use social media as part of their promotional marketing mix. The Internet is flooded with information about the use of Facebook, Twitter and other social sites. Many articles have been written about how using social media can help promote your brand image and how it can generate web traffic for your main business website.
Keep in mind that social media is a marketing tool and is only effective when used correctly to promote your business.
The key question for a business is “How is social media leveraged to generate real revenue and customers?” In today’s digitally connected society, your customers, regardless of age, gender, or economic status, will be active on social networking sites.
Here are some of the latest usage statistics on social media usage that will make a business take notice:
- 68% of small businesses will increase their social media marketing efforts in the next year
- 56% of Twitter users say they use the microblogging site for work or business purposes
- Over 40% of people have “friended” or “liked” a brand/company on Facebook or MySpace
- 20% of tweets are about commercial products
- 46% of Facebook users say they would talk about or recommend a product on Facebook
- 44% of Twitter users recommended a product
- Social media played a major role in holiday shopping: 28% of shoppers say social media influenced their purchases
On the Facebook site only:
- Over 400 million active users
- 50% of active users log into Facebook every day
- The average user has 130 friends
- People spend more than 500 billion minutes per month on Facebook
- There are over 160 million pages, groups and events that people interact with
- The average user is connected to 60 pages, groups and events
- The average user creates 70 pieces of content every month
- Men and women use social sites almost equally (47% vs. 53%)
- 61% of Facebook users are middle-aged or older, with the average age being 37
- 18 to 24 year olds do not dominate any particular social networking site; they are scattered everywhere
- More than 25 billion content (web links, news, blog posts, notes, photo albums, etc.) shared each month
Getting your business involved in social media should go without saying, however, many businesses will continue to build social media sites and make no effort to participate and engage in the groups that their potential customers use.
To be successful with social media, your business needs to know where your potential customers spend time on those sites so you can interact with them where they prefer and not where you prefer or are comfortable with. Participation and engagement with their social networks will form a platform from which to build relationships with communities of interest. This in turn will provide a new channel for customer acquisition using the sharing and like capabilities of the social media world. This “sharing” is the equivalent of word of mouth in traditional marketing.
Here are the 7 business development marketing tips for using social media:
1. Go where your customers are, not where you feel comfortable
To find your customers on social media sites, consider the following:
- Conduct a survey of your customers or potential customers.
- Analyze and monitor traffic on social sites to find out how and where customers are sharing information about your business and your competitors.
- Look at market research or statistical information on the usage and demographics of different social media sites.
2. Engage and Interact
Social media engagement is a conversation and your participation in social media groups and communities is key to building relationships. Your value as a participant is judged by the value you bring to the community as a whole. You can achieve this by freely sharing relevant, interesting and useful information
3. Research your competitors’ activities
You need to gather competitive information that can help you in your efforts. Conduct a competitive analysis of the use of social media by your top five competitors for the following:
- The social networking sites they actively participate in
- The type of content they post
- The number and type of followers, fans and views
- The products, programs or events promoted
4. Post exclusive offers and programs to your social media channels
You must give importance to your social networks with exclusive offers for these promotional channels. This will entice potential customers to share with their networks the offer that is not available on other marketing channels.
For example, offer an exclusive offer for your social media channel, such as a discount coupon or voucher.
5. Participation in social media requires authenticity and transparency
The words “authenticity” and “transparency” are a bit overused these days, yet they are cornerstones for success on social media. Be a real human being in your interactions. It’s the basis for building trust and connecting with real people on social media groups and networks.
6. Look for value opportunities by selling through social media
Take the opportunity to leverage social media in selling your products and/or services by offering relevant articles that are valuable to your followers. Make it easy for them to buy from these social media channels.
7. Always test and refine based on the results generated
Social media programs as a marketing channel are not exempt from testing and refining your messages and offers. You should put in the effort to test, collect results, and analyze how it can be improved before launching the program across the channel.
Apply these 7 marketing tips for using social media to give you the foundation for success in building and growing your business using these communication channels.